Monday, February 18, 2013

Music Spotlight – Favorite Music of 2012: Part 4

Kendrick Lamar – Cartoons & Cereal
Cartoons & Cereal features Gunplay, and is a song that Kendrick Lamar released for free online. While Lamar released maybe the best album of 2012 with good kid, m.A.A.d. city, Cartons & Cereal is even better. Producer THC provides the track with a bumping, sonically dark beat. Lamar and Gunplay seem like an odd pairing, but their sort of anti-social personas meld together exceptionally well (Gunplay’s verse is particularly wonderful). It is a wholly satisfying and utterly refreshing track (in a world of overly generic hip hop). Available for download: here

Purity Ring – Obedear
Obedear is off Purity Ring’s debut album Shrines. The Canadian duo of singer Megan James and producer Corin Roddick have created a haunting song with Obedear. James’s voice is manipulated to have a surreal and artificial sound, contrasting innocence and passion. Roddick’s electronic dream synth pop glimmers (and definitely has similarities to Crystal Castles and the Knife). Available for download: here

Pusha T – Exodus 23:1
Exodus 23: 1 features The-Dream, and is a song released by Pusha T for free online (as part of the G.O.O.D. Fridays ramp up to Cruel Summer). Rico Beats provides a dark, hypnotic track that samples Notorious B.I.G.’s What’s Beef (it is a phenomenal beat). Pusha T spits fire (and there is speculation that he is going after YMCMB). Regardless whether this is or is not a diss-track, it is a great rap song. Pusha T asserts himself as the best rapper signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music. Available for download: here

REKS – Straight, No Chaser
Straight, No Chaser features Slaine and is off REKS’s album Straight, No Chaser. Working again with producer Statik Selektah, the Boston MC delivers a classic hip hop track – that actually has real lyrics (and not just throwaway ego strutting). REKS goes line-for-line with Slaine resulting in two great verses. Available for download: here

Rick Ross – Ten Jesus Pieces
Ten Jesus Pieces features Stalley and is off Rick Ross’s album God Forgives, I Don’t. The reflective track finds a laidback/redemptive Ross rapping over a luscious beat from J.U.S.T.I.C.E.  Leauge. While Ross seems to mostly go in on street bangers these days, I like is more soulful tracks a lot – and this is a wonderful example of how well his voice works with a more impassioned beat (Kanye West’s Devil in a New Dress is another). Available for download: here

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