Bout to Blow: 10 Dope Songs You Should Be Hearing Everywhere Soon

Get used to these songs by the likes of Big K.R.I.T. and Fetty Wap because you're going to be hearing them a lot.

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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One month left in Bout to Blow: 2014.

As you know, we've become pretty agile at predicting hits. Occasionally, we've whiffed. Other times, we've called it before most of your favorite publications. But the point isn't just to get it "right"—anyone can look at stats and see what's going to pop.

This column has two goals:

1. To use the many tools available to us today to get some idea of what songs were really bubbling with "the people"—in other words, to insert some science into the process.

2. To contextualize that information, because raw numbers in a vacuum would have you thinking an anonymous rapper dropped onto a stellar track was hip-hop's next big rap star when he was more like an empty tattooed vehicle for a dope beat and a hook.

The post is obviously intended to be somewhat predictive. There's also an element, though, that is cheerleading. Many of these songs might be flourishing in certain markets, but could use wider exposure. They're tracks where the metrics suggest some forward momentum, even if the clubs and radio play don't reflect that.

Since last month, few of the tracks we called have popped completely. Outside of Ariana Grande (whose "Love Me Harder" is popping for real) and Fergie ("L.A. Love (lala)" is well on its way), most of the records are still in the bubbling stages. That's not, per se, a negative thing; as this column has become more popular, I've had a tendency to go out on a limb a little more often. After all, the same stats I see are available to everyone else, and some—like Lyor Cohen's new label 300—have access to more stats than the general public. But it's 300 that proves the worth of this project: As Cohen gets behind records like Shy Glizzy's "Awwsome" and a new record by Fetty Wap that makes this month's list, it's become apparent that we're not the only ones who think hip-hop has more dope records than radio realizes.

So what's in store for December? Check out this edition of Bout to Blow: 10 Dope Songs You Should Be Hearing Everywhere Soon.

David Drake is a writer living in New York City. Follow him on Twitter at @somanyshrimp.

Omarion f/ Chris Brown & Jhene Aiko “Post to Be”

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Producer: DJ Mustard

Obviously the best part of this single is the hilarious cover art photo of Chris Brown's terrible posture. The second best part of this song is Jhene Aiko's, um, scene-stealing punchline “but he gotta eat the booty like groceries,” which will echo for hours after you first hear the record like the beating beneath the floorboards in Edgar Allen Poe's The Telltale Heart. But the key to the song's success, obviously, is Mustard's beat, which shows there's still some room for variation in his familiar formula. The melody lays on top of the track like extra whipped cream, perhaps an emulation of Nic Nac's work on songs like “Loyal,” or Stargate's pan flutes on Tinashe's “All Hands on Deck.” Either way, Mustard's managed to squeeze a little more out of the bottle, if you get my drift...ZING!

Ty Dolla $ign “Stand For”

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Producer:  Diplo, DJ Dahi

Ty Dolla $ign has spent the last year working for every rapper and singer on the planet, including writing the chorus for one of R&B radio's biggest singles in “Loyal.” Yet though many music fans recognize his work from the radio, few realize the depth of his skills as a musician: multi-instrumentalist, producer, songwriter, and singer, Ty's not only got a particular, easily identifiable style, but has crafted a unique, cohesive sound: roughly, one part Nate Dogg, one part the Weeknd (the good part), and one part punchline rapper.

“Stand For” fits in with the first two but not as much the last, a record like Beach House's autobiographical “Time”—one which digs a little deeper. In some sense, it feels like a bit of an album track or mislead single: not exactly an obvious radio banger, the DJ Dahi-assisted production forms a quilt of vocal samples and quarter-note melodies that ingratiate readily into the background and become comfortable on replay.

Rich Gang f/ Juvenile “Sho Me Love”

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Producer: London on da Trak

Even though Juvenile's 400 Degreez remains Cash Money's best-selling album of all time, you'd be forgiven for assuming a Juvenile comeback wasn't all that likely in 2014. But if Juvie is gonna return to the pop charts, this would be the record: The beat has the same frozen, windswept piano tones of producer London on da Track's work for Rich Gang's Tha Tour Part 1 earlier this year. And if Drake could make “How About Now” a radio hit through SoundCloud, his spooky, hypnotic chorus here is a sure shot. Meanwhile Juvenile is shouting out B.G. and Soulja Slim (now more than 11 years after his passing) and “Turk and Mannie, I got love if we don't ever make a track.” While Mystikal is going the Cee-Lo route, recording Mark Ronson singles emphasizing the retro strands of DNA in his vocals, Juvenile is moving in the opposite direction; it's easy to root for.

E-40 “Choices (Yup)”

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Producer: Poly Boy

Far too often in the case of legendary performers—your E-40s, Jay Zs, Scarfaces, etc.—their middle-of-the-road output is described as breathlessly as their true peaks. In awe of an artist's true talent, we end up mystifying the catalog. What hip-hop's best artists really deserve is our most honest assessments of their strengths and weaknesses—if any artists can withstand a fan's stern glare, it's those with 25 years in the game. And maybe if we'd been doing that all along, we'd recognize exactly how excellent E-40's “Choices (Yup)” really is.

E-40's voice, rubbery in its idiosyncrasy, is the tool that makes him stand apart. But it's also a tool that many find off-putting. (Even Biggie, somewhat famously, was not a fan.) E-40's stop-start flow on “Choices” isn't a major shift in terms of style, but pacing. Each line is given time to breathe, and each sentence works due to its economy: Less is more. The effect is easily one of the most accessible records of E-40's entire career, a single that could easily cross over on a national level in a way few of his records previously have, without sacrificing the absurdity that makes him E-40.

SD “Circles”

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Producer:  Omen and AudioBLK

The drunken stagger of SD's “Circles” came out of nowhere: Long one of Chicago's most reliable workhorse rappers, his sudden sidestep into art-y abstraction has surprised listeners who'd consigned the rapper to Chicago's version of a 1017 Brick Squad role player. SD's never had the strongest personality on wax, preferring to execute gangster rap's formal characteristics precisely. His step into drunk symphonic orchestra street rap was made all the more effective with a video that transplanted the rapper from the pavement to the pulpit, without feeling like he'd been wrenched entirely from context. It's modestly experimental and very catchy, an undeniable record few anticipated.

Ca$h Out f/ Snoop Dogg “Go Get That Dough”

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Producer: DJ Spinz

Since leaving Epic for eOne, Ca$h Out has stayed in rotation throughout the South thanks to the memorable if non-distinct “She Twerkin” and his follow-up album, Let's Get It, which came out to little fanfare in August. It's a strong-enough record, perhaps a bit slight in the long shadow of Rich Gang, but worthy of more attention than it's liable to get from an artist many wrote off as a one-hit wonder back in 2012. His latest tape, November's Kitchens & Choppas, takes a different tack, each beat minimal and understated to the extreme. The best example is “Go Get That Doe,” a feature with Snoop Dogg that comes alive in the mix, and which would be acclaimed coast to coast had he lied and said the Neptunes had produced it.

Big K.R.I.T. “Let It Show”

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Producer: DJ Dahi

One day, we'll find out why Big K.R.I.T. thought this DJ Dahi-produced smash was a Best Buy bonus cut instead of the pop charts-worthy banger with lead single status it clearly deserves. This is a club record, a radio record, a subwoofer test, a hit record.

Webbie f/ Foxx “F**k Friends”

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Producer: Shop With Ken

Iggy Azalea and a couple British dudes aren't the only ones who can jack DJ Mustard for hit records. Although Lil Boosie and Rich Homie Quan's “Like a Man” is seeing some motion, and there's no question Boosie is back and strong as ever, Webbie has stumbled on the most immediate single out of Baton Rouge this year. The concept is low-brow but honest, and the beat is equally big, dumb, and obvious(ly awesome) : It's the official anthem for your 2014 holiday party.

Montana of 300 “Ice Cream Truck”

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Producer: Jay Storm

Horrorcore is alive and well in Chicago, where clown masks and ice cream trucks are all part and parcel of the theater of violence. Racking up hundreds of thousands of views in under a week, Montana of 300 (no relation to Keef of 3hunna or Lyor of 300—as far as I'm aware) has dropped one of the darkest records in a city known for releasing dark records. Lord deliver us from evil, especially when it comes in the form of punchlines like “Ice man, Dean Malenko, my wrist look like sprinkles/Iron in my pants like I'm getting out the wrinkles.”

Fetty Wap “Trap Queen”

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Producer: RGF Productions

Complex Music's own Angel Diaz has been bumping this since July—time stamps and everything, yo—but it just recently received a push, like Shy Glizzy's “Awwsome” before it, thanks to Lyor Cohen's 300 label. With a great chorus and irrepressible cheeriness, Fetty Wap's sing-song is liable to get much bigger in the months to come. A sweet, chirpy love song, Paterson, N.J., has a real summer jam on its hands, even if the rest of the world only discovered it in November.

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