Big track. Huge track. James Blake has been around for a minute now, but this is the first thing I have ever heard from him — I think I found it through Rap Genius actually.
To tell the truth, it is as close to perfect as any song I’ve ever heard. Chance The Rapper has had a smashing year in 2013 — by far the best mixtape of the year in Acid Rap and only really facing competition from Danny Brown’s Old as the release of the year. That said, this is still the best thing he’s been involved in.
I love it when rappers jump on tracks from other genres, and this is a fantastic example of that, right here. Similarly to Blood Orange’s “High Street” with Skepta jumping on, it’s an effortless cross between the smooth vocals of Blake, and the frantic raps of Chano. Beautiful.
That being the H-Town remix, of course. Well, saying of course may be a little unfair, Beyoncé is hot on her own (musically too) but this is fire. Some of the hottest artists from the south jumped on this one; with Bun B leading the charge, this may well be the best pure rap song of the year for me. Normally I check Rap Genius to see if a song has been put up after it drops, and it’s usually there (or thereabouts) — not this time, as sometimes seems to be the case with H-Town tracks — no worries though, I had to jump on that. So check out the lyric page, yeah? Cool.
Other verses from veterans Lil Keke, Scarface, Slim Thug, Willie D and Z-Ro combine to form one of the greatest odes to Houston I’ve heard — the only negative I’m drawing from this is that Chamillionaire the don was omitted from the list. Still, can’t complain too much, he’s had some fire of his own this year. More on that below. Still, for now, enjoy this.
Kenna is a don. There’s no two ways about it. I have literally no idea how I stumbled across this one, but I’m so glad that I did. Everything about the track is so smooth — Kenna’s silky lyrics, combined with a bouncing beat create something akin to Pharrell Williams’s “Happy” (which should really be on my list somewhere, as Pharrell’s the GOAT singer after Nate Dogg in my opinion).
Yeah, so this hypnotic track dropped, it was on repeat and didn’t come off. Then he dropped that remix with Childish Gambino, and everything started again. I’m going to say that the original is the one on this list, as since I heard that, I’ve bought almost all of his previous work, and each of the new Imitation Is Suicide releases since.
Not really much else I can say. Kenna upvoted this one, that was nice of him. Had to get that in there somewhere. Cool.
This was just as hard as the number above; as I mentioned before, Old is on par with Acid Rap as the best release of the year for me. “Dip” gets me buzzing every time (no pun intended); “Dubstep” makes great use of a feature, with Scrufizzer spraying his Fizzy Flow all over the track, while the last two tracks — “Kush Coma” and “Float On” — are both so chill, I can’t get enough of them.
However, judging it on the amount of plays I’ve got out of it, the top song has to be the Ab-Soul-featured “Way Up Here”. May be an odd thing to comment on, but Soulo’s uhh…“Soulo” ad-lib works well on the beat, alongside his verse, which is perfectly topped off with the final punchy line —
HiiiPower, Top Dawgs, all dogs, go to heaven, not y’all
Danny Brown goes in as he always does, with the title of the track frequently punctuating the lines to boost the energy in the track. Not technically the best song on the album, even in my opinion, but it gets me so pumped, I blast it more frequently than any other.
Bars upon bars upon bars. Possibly the best posse cut since Wu-Tang Clan dropped “Triumph”. This should probably be higher, but the amount of plays the others of got, this is where I felt it slotted in on my list. My list that will likely change tomorrow. Anyway, it’s “1 Train”. Well, I guess it was. I was always under the impression it was stylised as “1Train”. Huh. Ah well, I’m not changing the text, I’m sticking to my (possibly incorrect) guns.
I know you’ve already heard it, so I won’t speak about subject matter — instead, I’ll tell you who had the best verses, in order —
I was going to do that seriously, but I can’t. They’re all so good, it’s difficult to separate them. There’s just that one bar from my don Danny which pushes his verse above. Bruiser!
Chamillionaire. The forgotten superstar. While most have dismissed this guy as a threat soon after “Ridin” stopped getting airtime, those who stuck with him know. As Rap Genius’ top scholar for King Koopa, as well as him still being my favourite rapper, I had to throw him in here somewhere. While I’ve felt many of his tracks this year, “Slow Loud & Bangin” was on top of the heap for me.
Not my favourite track of the year, as evident by this list, but a very, very strong one — such a chill one which can take all your worries away, as well as throwing in some beautiful H-Town effects at the end. Honestly, if you haven’t heard it, get on to it, it’s a big track. Check out his other releases this year too — Elevate and Reignfall, as well as last years’ Ammunition — you’ll be pleasantly surprised.