Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Stalley - "Swangin'" (feat. Scarface)

Stalley has the best beard in rap, but outside of that he doesn’t have much of a distinct personality. Fortunately, he’s managed to do two things right in his career. First, he signed to Maybach Music Group without losing anything about his identity, which probably wasn’t too hard since he was kind of generic in the first place, but if Wale is any indication Rick Ross is usually able to remake MMG signees in his own boring image. Second, he’s maintained a working relationship with the Block Beattaz from his better than it should have been Lincoln Way Nights album through to his new single “Swangin’.” Along with Big K.R.I.T. and all of the producers on The Outfit, TX’s album, the Block Beattaz are the kings of a certain strain of soulful, woozy Southern hip-hop production. If nothing else, Stalley’s personality deficiencies are almost completely masked by the great twinkling beat on “Swangin’.” The mostly acapella Scarface guest verse elevates the song further, and if DJ Screw were still alive, this song would sound amazing in the middle of a Screw tape (though it would probably have to be something like volume 1473 in the Diary of the Originator series).

The Underachievers - "The Proclamation"

When Indigoism came out at the beginning of this year, I immediately thought of classic duos like Smif-n-Wessun and M.O.P. In those groups’ respective primes, both members were basically evenly skilled and equally compelling. No one was waiting out a Billy Danze verse so that Lil’ Fame could take the mic, or hoping Tek would wrap things up so Steele could get his turn. On nearly every track on Indigoism, the same was true of both Underachievers, Issa Dash and AK. They worked perfectly as a self-contained group, and it’s telling that they are the only two voices on the mixtape.