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.
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100s "Ten Freaky Hoes"
Mixtape: IVRY EP (Unreleased)
Producer: Vaughn Oliver
Can't say we haven't been rocking with pimp rapper 100s for more than a minute—Complex called him one of 25 new rappers to watch out for last summer. That said, I've had reservations for awhile. Although he's got a distinct look (OK, a distinct perm) and occasionally picks fantastic production, his rap style hasn't always complemented the overall package. Although it has earned him some nice placements, like the Grand Theft Auto 5 soundtrack, and iPhone commercials (LOL...Bay Area). And ultimately, a contract with Fools' Gold Records.
He's a Rick Ross-style post-authenticity rapper, who spits a kind of pimp-rap pastiche while openly admitting he is not, in fact, a pimp himself, which also opens him up to charges of glorifying, although proponents would no doubt argue that his honesty about its falseness absolves him in some way. Either way, this track is a big step forward for 100s as a rapper—his verses are less concerned with distracting technical acrobatics, and this more deliberate flow makes his words more discernable. Which is good, because some of them here are hilarious. The beat, meanwhile, is one of those sunny '80s funk loops, similar to what DJ Fresh has been flipping since the mid-2000s. —David Drake
The Worlds Freshest f/ Fiend and Juvenile "On My Job"
Mixtape: The Boomin System
Producer: The Worlds Freshest
The Fiend persona that I prefer is definitely Mr. WHOMP WHOMP and is the one he brings on this cut off The Worlds Freshest’s (formerly known as DJ Fresh) new tape, Boomin System. He takes over the track with his gruff voice and outshines Juve. It’s not like Juve is doing a throw away verse, either, but Fiend brings so much it’s like trying to rhyme with Godzilla smashing everything around you, and you’re left trying to rebuild a verse out of the rubble. But to make shit worse, Fiend comes back to do one last verse just to stomp this shit out again. You can’t listen to this track quietly; you need to turn this shit all the way up to get the full effect: all the drama the beat is trying to build, and how hard Fiend is trying to tell you he handles his business. —Sergio Ornelas
D. Bledsoe "Move That Dope"
Unsigned Richmond rapper D. Bledsoe dropped a number of tracks last week, but the one that jams the hardest is his own flip of Future’s "Move That Dope." Mike Will Made It’s beat is dope as fuck on its own with that 8-bit blowout sound, but D. Bledsoe blesses it with East Bay styling to take it to that next level. The original is really more of a posse cut without much breaking up each verse. This version is all juiced up by actually having a hook that’s D. Bledsoe championing the shit out of himself and throwing in a few crucial adlibs. He speeds up the delivery appropriately to make his version go harder than the original. This is really a great exercise in how to do a properly jack a beat; after seeing how hard he flipped it, the original is now too subdued to even listen to anymore. Considering the lineup on the original, that’s an impressive feat on its own. —Sergio Ornelas
Giftz's two best songs of 2013 were "Death Wish," an almost freeform "Lyrical Exercise" type banger, and "By Any Means," a more somber track detailing the difficulties of trying to live the high life in a city full of low lives. Before you click play on his latest loosie "Movie," go remind yourself of the two aforementioned songs, because this new track works best as an epilogue to both of them. It's a mixture of "Death Wish"'s bars-on-bars with the pathos of "By Any Means"—"wise words from a decent man, I never heard those/My role model drove a Bentley with a four in a fur coat"—over the sort of ominous production befitting any track with a brief sample of the bassline from Southside Movement's "I Been Watching You" (most famously rapped over by Jadakiss & Nas and Cormega). —Marty McCready
Nesby Phips "Passive Casanova"
Mixtape: Simply Phips (Unreleased; buy the single here)
Nesby Phips is a Curren$y associate who's been recording low-key New Orleans breakbeat funk for the past few years and quietly releasing tapes into the aether. He hasn't received much of a second look from anyone, aside from the most faithful of JETS faithful, at least outside his region. He was one of the first rappers outside Chicago to work with Tree, and his style works a similar sort of urban organic. You've heard about the rose breaking through concrete; Phips is the grass sprouting up underfoot. Like pre-Pilot Talk Curren$y, Phips balances his stoned, meandering delivery with writerly bars that suggest a considered approach to rapping. For more in this vein, don't miss the Hollygrove supergroup 0017th (Hollygrove Mikey, Jay Jones, Reem, and Phips himself); their Wrappin' mixtape, from last fall, is reminiscent of mid-00s Mack Maine/Curren$y collaborations, for balancing their overtly relaxed approach with a seriously lyrical bent. —David Drake
Mic Terror "15 Minutes"
Album: The Fresh Prince Of Darkness
Producer: Ryan ESL and Million $ Mano
Like Mike Tyson, Treated Crew's governor Mic Terror could be described as "penis-centric". Mic comes from the same lineage of cocky regular-guy rappers with a sense of humor who want you to get off their cock, and let your girl to hop up on it instead—see Positive K, The Beatnuts, and 2003/2004 Kanye West. Mic Terror has a bona fide MySpace-era classic on his resume with "Juke Them Hoes," and a underrated catalog littered with gems like the Can I Borrow A Feeling? mixtape and singles such as "Rodney King" and "Heaux Love Me."
Mic's official debut album The Fresh Prince Of Darkness (he describes his own rap style as "the evil Will Smith") drops this coming Tuesday, and its first single "15 Minutes" was granted the visual treatment yesterday. The video is a mini-movie-in-a-movie played backwards—we won't spoil what happens—and the song is Mic's hardest track since "Dickey Simpkins," with a spooky-ass beat that sounds like it's from some '80s slasher horror movie, and a villain that you certainly wouldn't want to find knockin' at your door. —Marty Macready
Cyhi The Prynce "Bury White"
Mixtape: Black Hystori Project
Producer: Million $ Mano
Can't let Black History Month come to an end without a track from Cyhi's Black Hystori Project. It can be a struggle to listen to more than a few Cyhi tracks in a row without wanting to jump elsewhere—The Migos Dilemma—but he's an undoubtedly underrated writer. "Bury White" is a clever conceit that just narrowly averts being too smart for its own good; the familiar history of how drugs became central to the hood's economic structure, and how this evolved over time, is conveyed effectively enough that you forget it's a story you've heard a few hundred times before. (Although not as much recently.) The beat—a terrific flip of Love Unlimited Orchestra's "Midnight and You"—gets a lot of credit for selling the concept. It comes from Kanye West DJ, Twitter terrorist, and talented beatmaker Million $ Mano. Also worth checking out from this tape is King Louie feature "Huey." —David Drake
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