In 2014, the world is inundated with music. Deep Cuts is here to help you sort the trash from the treasure. Taking a closer look at mixtapes, loosies, and obscurities, we comb the genre to find tracks that you may have missed. Great songs on terrible tapes, rappers who haven't received the shine they should, or underrated tracks from recognized names, we dig through the detritus so you don't have to.
For 2013, Deep Cuts was a monthly column, but it's become apparent that the demand for more and newer, unheard music is still out there, so we've decided to make it a weekly post. In addition, many of these songs will be posted ahead of time, throughout the week, as we discover them, rather than waiting to compile them for the column. If you want to keep up with what we're posting, just follow along here. And make sure to check back every Friday for a new column covering the previous week.
Quez (Of Travis Porter) "High Tymes"
Mixtape: Black Boe Knows 2
Producer: UnknownOver a pristine-ly produced eighth-note synthesizer pattern and staggered drum pattern, Quez spits a few archetypal stoner-rapper verses. His bars and songwriting convey an innocence that sees weed as a novel, escapist recreation, one that lets you transcend by floating from your troubles.
The song comes from Quez's Black Boe Knows 2, an attempt to push Quez as a solo artist and one of the best-sounding tapes released last year (he boasts over the "Spottieottiedopalicious" outro that he engineered the record himself). No, the songs aren't always entirely there, although that could be true of full Travis Porter releases at times. But in this case, the production—there are no credits available online, seemingly, although you'll hear drops from London on the Track throughout—is uniformly pretty, hooky, and expensive. Also check out pop-R&B slow grind "One Night Stand," which rides the best guitar figure since "X-Pill," and the sparse, creeping "My Dawgs," which includes a fire verse from Cap-1. —David Drake [Original]
Mixtape: Past & Present
The Don Bishop Agallah is nearly 20 years deep in the rap game now, having made his debut in 1995 as 8-Off The Assassin. You can still depend on him for the odd joint or three even now, if you're itching for some new hard-nosed Rotten Apple rap from a dude with a voice like dead leaves rustling on filthy Brownsville paving slabs. Which brings us to his latest release, the Past And Present mixtape with Alchemist.
This isn't a finely-honed full length in the style of Alan The Chemist's recent projects with Prodigy and Boldy James, but a ragtag collection of old and new songs, some of which are produced by Agallah himself. Unsurprisingly, the lead-off single "Blaze Of Glory" with Roc Marciano is the 'tape's highlight. But its most interesting track is today's Deep Cut "Vange," where Agallah returns to the lugubriousness of Onyx's All We Got Iz Us. It's a rare moment of introspection from someone whose entire rap career has been built on hostility and ludicrous amounts of shit-talking. —Marty Macready [Original]
Mixtape: The Mobb Tape
ZMoney's new release The Mobb Tape is essentially a showcase for his 4Ever Paid Nation roster of Joe The Rapper buddies, with a handful of his own songs thrown in for good measure—but a song as insanely catchy as "Rollin'" can forgive a multitude of sins.
What "Rollin'" lacks in character—the rapper who once prided himself on being irregular sounds like a member of bop crew Sicko Mobb here—it more than makes up for with the sheer sugar rush of the song being one long hook: even if you don't have a particularly sweet ear, "Rollin'" is pumped with so many E numbers that you'll still find yourself humming it to yourself in the bathroom, the kitchen, the hotel, the motel, and the holiday inn. —Marty Macready [Original]
Pooh Gutta f/ Young Shank "We Got Them"
Mixtape: Shark Season 2
Producer: JP Did This One
Pooh Gutta dropped Shark Season 2 almost two-and-a-half years after Shark Season 1, and the east Cleveland rapper filled it with plenty of songs about strippers, money, and partying. I’m going with "We Got Them" as a Deep Cut because it has that hip-hop sensibility that makes old white men hate rap music, and you know what? Fuck them hoe-ass dudes. This tape isn’t really trying to appeal to the GOP with a tracklisting that includes titles like "Bad Bitches & Real Niggas," "Fuck These Hoes," and "Squat On the Dick."
As great a title as "Squat On the Dick" is, the hook lacks in the turn-up department. "We Got Them," though, gets hype. Almost to the point that it borders on becoming a fight song, with all the "HOOOEESS" being yelled in the background. And as rap is desperate for some fight music right now, I welcome this with both elbows. Personally, I’d like to see the chanting extended throughout the entire beat, but that’s just because I’m a fan of the use of the Beastie Boy’s "The New Style" chant being worked into as many rap songs as possible. There really hasn’t ever been a shitty song that used that chant. They flipped "OOOhhhs" to "HOOOES," and it works to make this the best track on a tape that has a few too many joints laced with slow-ass R&B and Machine Gun Kelly verses from 2011 (there's only one, but that's too many). A video for "We Got Them" actually dropped in September, but it doesn’t look like it got much play, even with all the strippers in it. —Sergio Ornelas [Original]
Thirstin Howl The 3rd f/ Tha Liknuts "Beautiful People"
Thirstin Howl The 3rd is probably the biggest proponent of rocking polo in rap history, and it's not like there ain't plenty of competition. But it's hard to compete with a dude who in 1988 founded a gang called the "Lo-Lifes" whose stated goal was "accumulation, by any means necessary, of POLO clothes and accessories." He once declared, "Me, wear FUBU? Man listen, that's like the Marlboro Man smoking a Winston."
He's coming back with a new record this year entitled Survival of the Skillest, and its first single dropped on the first of the year. A collaboration with Tha Liknuts supergroup (The 'Liks and The Beatnuts, obviously) although J-Ro is missing. Tash says something about getting him on bluetooth. Psycho Les holds his own with typical bars about stealing your girl, but best verse has to go to Juju, if only for his couplet "Fly n****, kill em wherever i land though/Fuck your arab money, stick a dick in a camel." —David Drake [Original]
Oochie f/ Fat Trel "Jesus"
Mixtape: Dewprint 2
Producer: 2 Tall
Oochie and Fat Trel's "Jesus" rocks a slumping beat from 2 Tall. It is also hella sacrilegious in a "went to hell for snuffing Jesus" sense, relying as it does on Jesus to anchor the concept. Fat Trel's verse involves hitting on his teachers in the bleachers, dead bodies in Rovers, calling the trap "church," and ends with a line about how his money is as tall as Our Lord And Savior. The hook has enough doves for a John Woo movie. Oochie isn't quite the rapper Trel is, but while Trel goes for sardonic blasphemer, Oochie's verse has a portentous weightiness, flipping into a sermon-flow (that ends up sounding surprisingly "Memphis") partway through. But Trel lightweight steals the show. His irreverence doesn't end with actual Jesus, but also extends to Yeezus, as he disparages Air Yeezy wearers with homophobic, erm, flair. (He's more a fan of Nike boots.) —David Drake
Que "Side Hustle"
Mixtape: L.A. Leakers Two Thousand Fourteen Draft Picks
Producer: Jon Boi
The L.A. Leakers have gotten their hands on an inspired follow-up to Que's "OG Bobby Johnson" which suggests he may have more dimension than initially appeared. "Side Hustle" rides an ominous reggae lilt to tell one of the up-close and ugly stories of the "year of the sidepiece." "Only time she call is when she want something...Only time I see her's when she's mad at you." The anguished minor key melody gives the record's love triangle a profound ache. In another artist's hands, this is a story of glee or cold manipulation. In Que's, it's a tortured tale of the ennui and loneliness in sharing love, the disdain Que has for her boyfriend sounding as strong as his own self-loathing: "She says she tappin' out 'cuz you don't know how to love her/But she don't give a damn, 'cuz I'm a side hustle." —David Drake [Original]
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