(Hip-Hop) Tracks

The Cool Kids
“Black Mags”
Chocolate Industries
{grate 4}

If you thought the Trunk Boiz’ YouTube hit “Scraper Bikes”
was the only example of rappers expressing their newfound love for bikes, you
are sorely mistaken. Chicago
hipster-hoppers the Cool Kids hit the cyber-streets with this ode to BMX bikes
with 3-Spoke Mag rims — and though they lack the Trunk Boiz’ DIY work ethic,
these Kids are significantly more talented on the mic. They rap exclusively
over bass-heavy, old-school beats (“Ride past shorty light-skinned no melanin/
Shirt look like somebody stuck two melons in”), and, perhaps more importantly,
dress like they’re straight off the set of “Do The Right Thing.”

Check out their low-budget music video online to find out
just how cool they can be. Trust me — you’ll end up running straight to the
swap meet to cop some Starter caps of your own.

— Willy Staley

Contributing Writer

Jay-Z feat. Ja Rule
“Can I Get a Remix”
Tapemasters Inc.
{grate 4}

Fans are waiting for Jay-Z’s American Gangster (Nov. 6),
modeled after the upcoming Denzel Washington flick, like crackheads awaiting a
re-up. So sure, let’s feed that already fat Beyonce retirement fund by sitting
tight for film-inspired tracks about crack-dealing, corner-grinding and the
conventional gamut of gangster-ism — or not.

Available now is Tapemasters Inc.’s mixtape variant, dubbed
The Mixtape Reloaded, which revisits and remixes the grandest hits from Hova’s
history. The rethought classics are often more refreshing than Jay-Z’s latest
material, especially the Basshedz-produced “Can I Get A… ,” a romping
renovation of the 1998 hit. The track remembers Jay-Z at his smoothest lyrical
peak, heavy handclaps and stomp-beats flashing us back to the high school
bleachers where this classic was made legendary. And thankfully cut from the
latter-day version is Amil, so we can leave her diva demand hanging: “How we
gonna get around on your bus pass?”

— Charles Nguyen

Senior Staff Writer

Wu-Tang Clan feat. Erykah Badu
“The Heart Gently Weeps”
Wu-Tang Records
{grate 3.5}

The Clan with Witty Unpredictable Talent and Natural Game is
back! Well, almost. Only Ghostface, Raekwon and Method Man turn up for this
White Album-snatching, slow-going RZA track, but each MC brings enough ruckus
to make up for the members that didn’t show — Ghostface especially. The only
flaw in this dart is Erykah Badu’s fluffy chorus, a pretty underwhelming
variation of the original George Harrison take.

8 Diagrams, the first Wu album since 2001, drops Dec. 11 —
pushed back a week to appease a bitter Ghostface, whose seventh album was set
to hit shelves the same day.

— Andres Reyes

Contributing Writer

Messy Marv feat. Mac Dre
“My Life’s Like a Movie”
{grate 3}

If rappers learned anything from Tupac, it’s that
productivity is incredibly important. The more prolific you are, the easier it
is to release music — even while you’re in jail, or if you happen to get killed
(sorry, but it’s true). “My Life’s Like a Movie” is a wonderful example of this

Though Messy Marv is in jail for probably the third time in
as many years, and the third anniversary of Mac Dre’s untimely death is Oct.
31, we’re now handed a fresh track from the two of them, off Marv’s upcoming
Draped Up and Chipped Out Vol. 2.

On a separate note, it’s always amusing to see which Bay
Area rapper will ditch his hyphy upbringings next. Despite the fact that he’s
rapping alongside hyphy pioneer Mac Dre, Marv tries to claim that “all that
funny-ass dancing ain’t what my niggas ’bout.” Really?

— Willy Staley

Contributing Writer

Jay Electronica
So What You Sayin

Have you ever listened to an MC for a couple minutes, then
just sat there and wondered, “How the fuck did he do that?” Yeah, this is one
of those tracks. And Jay Electronica is one of those underappreciated few that
can pull it off, packing relentless delivery and crazy wordplay — ’80s wrestler
Rowdy Roddy Piper and the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl both score references — that
“So What You Sayin” pairs over a booming Dilla beat. A good combination, to say
the least.

— Andres Reyes

Contributing Writer

Girl U Know

Scarface has always had a soft spot for an extended soul
sample to set the mood — before he flips his confident Southern-gentleman
love-rhymes on that bitch. But this chopped-up serenade is typical Snore&B,
slathered onto a stunted beat that Virginia
producer Nottz should have thrown to the dogs — not Texas’ golden Geto Boy, on an album that
promises to sizzle away all December’s cold. Certainly, Scarface doesn’t let
Nottz slow him down on this one, exploring the dankest corners of a twisted
love triangle and kicking the titular dirty cheater to the curb where she

— Simone Wilson

Hiatus Editor

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