ListenTo: iAmEnerJi's Monday MegaMix 4.30
What's up, HH&H Fam?! It's been a couple weeks since I dropped a playlist on you. A few different contributing factors are responsible for my tardiness, but mostly it's because I've been busy azfuq doing life and adulting. Of course I didn't forget about you and I've been tucking away music for your listening pleasure the whole time. The result is the longest playlist yet! 40 songs, nearly 2.5 hours, full of new shit and some old stuff that's dope as hell and needs to be heard (or heard again)! I figure it'll make up for my absence by lasting you all week, or at the very least, a few days, until the next blog drops (on Friday - hint hint...).
Quick PSA: I highly recommend you listen to the playlist on Spotify this go round. Reason being - it starts strong right out the gate with "1985 - Intro to "The Fall Off", a track from J. Cole's much buzzed about latest project, KOD. (The track is lit azfuq and the album is pure dopeness, but more on that later...) Problem with starting there on YouTube is - the official video/audio is nowhere to be found on the site, unless you have YouTube Red (which I don't). Bummed as I am about that, I get it and I respect that (even if it IS fucking up my playlist flow...)
PSA aside, "1985..." takes you back to a time in Hip Hop when rap battles and diss tracks were the order of the day. It feels so deliciously authentic and captivates in a way that Hip Hop rarely does anymore. It's so laid back, succinct, and matter of fact that it demands that you LISTEN to it. There are so many layers, metaphors and turns of phrase that the more you listen to it, the more you hear. It's pure sickness and I love it. And in all honesty, if we're being very real about the context of this song, it doesn't really feel like a diss track to me so much as a superior lyricist responding to the displaced and unsolicited call of a lesser rapper. (In this case Lil Pump is the apparent "target" of this track, though, honestly, I feel like this shit is applicable to MANY of these new school mumble rappers distorting the sanctity of pure Hip Hop. Can you tell I'm not a fan of mumble rap? My bad - overall I really think it's trash. Fight me.)
In this superior retort, J. Cole doesn't necessarily "come for" his unnamed opponent so much as he calmly and skillfully Son's him. He's simply trying to help this kid understand the rap and entertainment game that he's in and provides him with a cautionary tale backed up by FACTS. He's letting him know in no uncertain terms that the game is rough and unforgiving in the long run. Once the blaze of Online Celebrity burns out and you find yourself older and irrelevant, what, then, will you do? What happens when the well of this shallow shit that you're currently earning wildly off of runs dry?
The best part about this track, though, is that he's reaching out with tough love! He never once "disses" his opponent directly because he doesn't have to. His skill and facts are all the diss he needs and the rest is just about how you feel in response to it - which is honestly neither here nor there. Cole is trying to LEARN you something, boy, and you should find several seats, sit down, shut the fuck up and listen.
Alright, I'm off my soapbox.
Aside from the blazing first track, this playlist is heavy with some really dope hip hop from the likes of Rapsody, Innanet James, Dilla, Slum Village (from their new project The Lost Scrolls Vol. 2), Pete Rock, 9th Wonder, Blu, Anderson .Paak and more. There's also plenty of my eccentric taste mixed in there from Sango to Orchestra Baobab, The Internet to Damu the Fudgemunk, L'Orange to Steve Aoki. There's even a bit of mainstream with J.Lo, Sean Paul and, yes, you see it - Cardi B. I know... I know. I've been trying to fight it but she got me with her heavily Latin flavored "I Like It". (Truth be told, Bodak Yellow truly got me ages ago but I really only listened to that in the club or the gym. So that barely counts, right?? Come on! Justify my illusions!) "I Like It" goes hard from the jump bringing you in with throwback vibes sampled from Pete Rodriguez's 1967 hit "I Like It Like That". The salsa/cha-cha flow is punctuated heavily with bass, and Bad Bunny & J. Balvin bless the track on the second and third verses respectively. It's lit, I love it and I hope you do too!