I’m hopping on this far too late, but it’s such a banger it’d be an injustice if I didn’t discuss it. If you don’t know about Run The Jewels, you’re in for a treat. I’d even recommend Mike and Jaime’s second outing to people who don’t like rap – I’m sure most would be able to appreciate why RTJ2 has garnered the praise it has. Here’s the video for you, so you can listen to this while you read what I have to say. Why would you have it any other way? Should probably say the video is a little NSFW, unless you work in a strip club or something, in which case, go nuts.

Things start off frantically with a hard-hitting beat punctuated by distorted use of the title of the song; El-P and co. have created something special with this one. Despite the strength of “Jeopardy”, I see this as the true start of the album; when you hear Michael Winslow tell you “you are now listening to Run The Jewels 2”, you know things are about to kick off.

Of course, El-P starts as he means to go on with an abrasive attack on both the law and the world at large, with nods to Pimp C and B.I.G. thrown in for good measure – the second instalment continues just where the first left off in terms of lyricism, and the pair show no signs of slowing down as Killer Mike soon joins in, bringing so much contrasting imagery that perhaps shouldn’t work, but it all fits together so naturally, you’d never question how he transitions talking about a ballerina, a ski mask, opera signers and losing fingers in the space of a few bars.

The two trade verses back-to-back (literally if you’re watching the video), with a particular highlight coming in the transition between the third and fourth as both talk about what their good at – namely rap and sex – before moving on to the next topic in a matter of seconds. Bars never stop flying at you, especially going into the sixth verse as the beat ups in intensity allowing the pace to pick up further. It’s not a crazy Bone Thugs speed rap, but it once again reaffirms the credentials of two of the finest doing it right now.

My personal highlight comes as El-P ends his final verse, with a nod to Ridley Scott’s classic “Alien”

I make the trip, you better pay
Done worse for less, don’t make my day
I’m not from Earth, from far away
I bust through chests like baby greys

I think I’ll leave it at that. I’ve got nothing but the best to say about this album and the tracks included in it, this was just the one I wanted to cover for now. I could talk about how I can’t wait for the remix album “Meow The Jewels 2”, featuring cat sounds in place of the instrumental. I could talk about their upcoming Deadpool and Howard the Duck comic variant covers, which I’m really hoping to grab. I’ve just realised in saying “I could talk about”, I have actually been talking about. I’m bad at wrapping this up – let’s just say go give it a listen if you haven’t already – you might like it.


If you don’t know the name by now, listen out, as this girl is going to keep getting bigger. I heard this shortly after it dropped, giving it a listen purely for the Kendrick feature – I was late, I didn’t know who Miss Aiko was at the time – but not really giving it the time it deserved. Somehow, I dunno, a couple of weeks ago, I came across another of Jhené’s tracks – The Worst – and fell in love with her. I don’t want to detract from her musical ability, so I’ll get this out of the way now – she may be the most attractive woman I’ve ever seen. I mean that. For reference, here’s her Instagram – tell me I’m wrong?

But I digress. As soon as I heard The Worst, I went straight to Amazon and bought Sail Out, (£2.39!? I would say that’s a steal, but I despise that term, so I won’t.) which turned out to be one of the best purchases of this year so far – that was about two weeks ago now and it has been in constant rotation ever since.

Umm, all of that and I haven’t even mentioned the song in question yet. Yeah, it’s fire. For the hip-hop heads out there, obviously you’re going to go straight ot a Kendrick feature, and it doesn’t disappoint – he can do the hard hitting rap stuff such as m.A.A.d city, but I feel these more poetic verses from time to time. That’s the thing – the versatility he brings at an artist is (dare I say it?) understated; while most would argue that everyone overrates him, I genuinely don’t think you can – I expected it before I first heard him, when everyone was going mental about him, that tends to put me off an artist, but he hasn’t disappointed me yet – the recent remix of Imagine Dragons’ Radioactive is testament to his continuing quality. But yeah, the standout bars from him come at the conclusion of his feature.

The universe energy doesn’t lie
And this chemistry is infinity at a million times

I wrote a million rhymes describing your star power
And after 24 bars, you get 24 hours

They link to Rap Genius for anyone who cares, I’ve been waffling too much without attempting to explain them. Jhené. She’s fire throughout. Here voice is as perfect as any I’ve heard before; I’ve put her alongside Nate Dogg as my favourite vocalist already. The whole EP is fire, and while I prefer her on The Worst and 3:16am, this what what I felt writing about; it’s still near-perfection. While I’m not usually a fan of the whole two-songs-together thing, (does that have a technical name?) the segue between Stay Ready and What a Life just works – it feels together as one. It’s absolutely beautiful. The production from Fisticuffs works so well too, there’s genuinely nothing to dislike about this one.

Apologies – this became less of a review of the song, more of me talking about Kendrick Lamar’s recent career. If nothing else, I hope I’ve convinced you to give this song a listen – it’s absolutely phenomenal, and as we all know my taste in music is the greatest in the world, so you should definitely listen to me, and let me know what you think!

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 hard. I would have been complacent making Acid Rap my entire top 10, as it was an absolutely phenomenal release. Chance The Rapper has had an incredible year — all his features, including those with Vic Mensa, James Blake and yes, even Justin Bieber, have been top notch — one of the few artists where I haven’t heard a track from him that I dislike. In the interest of fairness (to the artists who will likely never read this), I’ve kept it to one track each — it would appear that “Favorite Song” is my…favourite song from Chano! Hahahahaha, I’m so funny! I hope no one else has made that joke.

Honestly, it could have been anything on the tape, but this is just what I felt when writing the list. “Good Ass Intro” is absolutely beautiful, “Everything’s Good” is actually kind of emotional — and I don’t get emotional. “Juice” is one of the catchiest things I’ve ever heard. What am I saying? I could do a run down of the whole thing, but yeah, “Favorite Song” won out for me, because the way he combines with Donald Glover on that bouncy beat just manages to make me smile every time.

I don’t want to brag, but this is my favourite song, and I do know the words.

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.