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.
- - - -
Mixtape: Pink Elephant EP
Russ's Pink Elephant EP, which came out a couple of weeks ago, is an extremely personal record focusing on a disastrous relationship. Opener "Goodbye" was one of the most intense, intimate listening experiences of 2013. Rod Stewart's "I Wish You Love" sample plays out for the first 50 seconds of the track before the beat finally kicks in. The melancholy keys give way to a faint, haunting string section and a simple bassline, while the vocal sample serves as the hook. The mixture of harmonizing and yelling shows a man struggling with deep-seated anger that is bursting to the surface. —Dharmic X
Mouse On Tha Track "Been a G Thang"
Producer: Mouse On Tha Track
Stream and download here.
Last Friday Mouse dropped a new loosie to celebrate Superbowl weekend called "Been A G Thang." It's his own personal Baton Rogue Bildungsroman which begins with him popping "fresh out the womb" in 1984 and ends with a good 10 seconds of Ratchet-style 4x4 claps and "HEY" vox stabs. This is fitting on all fronts because the song's bare-bared, open-spaced production is like Run D.M.C.'s "Jam Master Jay" as remixed by Mouse for the DJ Mustard era. It's a apt full-circle moment since, as Mustard himself admits, Baton Rogue gave birth to the whole concept of Ratchet in the first place. —Marty Macready
Wiz Khalifa f/ Berner "Chapo"
When does Wiz Khalifa qualify for Deep Cuts, you ask? When he drops a video with Berner that gets tossed off recognition on one to two notable blogs, despite being the best incarnation of golden era (2009-2010) Wiz Khalifa since Kush & OJ. With a spiraling beat faintly reminiscent of Kurious' "I'm Kurious" or the "Grand Groove (Bonus Mix)," the only thing that could have made "Chapo" a stronger single would be a guest spot from Curren$y, who, if there's any justice in the world, will make the remix. Yesterday, New York City was buried in inches of slush and snow; this track is a reminder that there's a warmer world out there, just over the horizon. —David Drake
Mixtape: Trap Music: Million Dollar Kidd Edition
Producer: 808 Mafia
"Basic" seems to be another progression in the autotune-heavy style he was messing with on "Juice." What makes it interesting is the beat and the layering of vocals. Producers 808 Mafia base the whole thing on a simple 808 roll and a snare accented by varying sounds that play for a few bars and then change up. Spiiker runs his voice through the gargling "aquatune" (a term I have made up for a technique Future made popular) sound with some distorted adlibs, punched up with enough reverb to make it sound like this he’s rapping inside of some underwater cave in space. The use of autotune is not to the extreme of Chief Keef’s "Go To Jail," but it’s definitely enough to qualify as aquatune. Spiiker’s song is one of the more easily understandable versions of the technique, but even when it’s totally unintelligible, it’s still dope to hear words rolling over each over into hazy distant echos that are right in front of your face. Also, this is the best song out that lets you know wearing leggings seven days a week is some basic-ass shit. —Sergio Ornelas
DB Tha General "Savage"
While it's true DB is another sawn-off Satan of a rapper like Lil Boosie, other than their vocal and physical similarities, the comparisons between both rappers are fairly superficial: DB's flow—which he's dubbed as ‘Gas’—is much more energized than Boosie's, and his aesthetic is very much region-specific to his own Oakland stomping grounds. A good example of DB's style would be "Savage" from his new album Motel6: the song finds him roasting coward rappers and women with dry vaginas while boasting that "I'm the shit, that's why you see all these flies." Then toasting deceased friends and T.I's crew Hustle Gang in his trademark hypersonic yelping barrage of words over production which sounds like the music the spaceship from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind would have made if it had landed at a Mac Dre show in 2003 rather than Devils Tower, Wyoming in 1977. —Marty Macready
Producer: David DA Doman On "Ignorant," producer David DA Doman—who was recently interviewed by Fake Shore Drive and, full disclosure, attended the same high school as your humble correspondent—dropped a hypnotic, chiming loop for grinning West Side Chicago rapper ZMoney to drawl over. Like a bulk of the one-word conceptual tracks in the "Sunz Of Gucci Mane" wave, it's a pretty straightforward trick that doesn't require all that much explaining. Sometimes you just have to wear your foolishness like a badge of pride. —David Drake