After drinking 1.3 liters of sake and singing "Turn All the Lights On," "Paper Planes, "Telephone," "Big Shot," and "Roses" (in that order) at Sunday karaoke, I'm up late/early, hungover, on this holiday of our Dr. Martin Luther the Kang, building this goddamn post for you, listeners, for you.
Since Friday, I have listened to an advance copy of Lupe Fiasco's Tetsuo & Youth approximately 700 times. Yes, it is that good. Yes, it is Lupe's best, most robust, most gorgeous album. Yes, I'm residually drunk while writing this, but nonetheless I stand by my claim; I guarantee it. Unfortunately for you, I can't link out to it until tomorrow, when the album releases officially. For now, I'll tease the beat and a few bars from Lupe's latest, accompanied by fellow Chicago natives King Louie and Chris Crack as well as Trinidad James, Big K.R.I.T., Sevyn Streeter, and Chris Brown.
Chris Crack f/ Cutta and TmthyTrtl "Flex Luger"
Released: Jan. 7, 2015
I wasn't sure where this was going until the 1:45 mark, when Crack kicks onto the track with punk irreverence and that deep-fried rasp of his, rapping about champagne, lawyers, and foiled plots. I've been listening through the New Deal SoundCloud for the past couple months and can recommend that New Deal newcomers start with Crack's Kickin' It With TW, or else his latest tree + crack EP collaboration with Tree. Chicago is a hip-hop brainstorm, as always.
Sevyn Streeter f/ Chris Brown "Don’t Kill the Fun"
Released: Jan. 12, 2015
My god is this song irresistible. I chatted the link to Complex Content Vice Prez B-fred, who chats back, "this sounds like a Toro y Moi song," which, essentially, it is. "Let's be undeniable," Streeter sings, succeeding. "And we won't stop rocking [note: sounds like 'fucking'] till they call the cops." One hundred bonus points for the chipper synth sax on the track, and for the fact that I've just moonwalked away from my desk.
King Louie "Right Now"
Released: Jan. 12, 2015
Three years after the drill movement's brief mainstream peak, King L is still one of the most engaging young rappers out of Chicago, though in the case of "Right Now," I'm here mostly for the beat and its entrancing sample: "Don't! Don't bring me 'ow-'ow-down. Don't bring me—! Don't bring me down! down!" It's a song about being immediately high, if you hadn't guessed. Sober or not, I'll take Louie's addled grunts over Future's addled grunts most days of the week, including today, while I'm rather hungover.
Trinidad James f/ Big K.R.I.T. "Black Man Pt 1"
Released: Jan. 13, 2015
Trinidad James with the West Coast Rap All-Stars retro flow, over throwback trance production, in the service of an anti-gang violence PSA, with shouts out to the Poor Righteous Teachers. Big K.R.I.T. is on here somehow. It's kinda fantastic. Trinidad James is still funkier than your favorite rapper, and now that Def Jam has cut him loose, I'm hoping he flourishes independently in 2015.
Lupe Fiasco f/ Ayesha Jaco "Prisoner 1 & 2"
Released: Jan. 20, 2015
Until tomorrow, there's no official stream of Tetsuo & Youth for me to link, so for now you'll have to make do (below) with a sample that hints at the beat for "Prisoner 1 & 2," the best song off Lupe's latest, which is, in fact, his best album yet. While I love me "SLR 3" and "THOT 97," I'm thankful that Tetsuo is rather a rich, woven canvas of Lupe's most visceral meditations to date. From start to finish, Tetsuo is a coup for the artist as well as his fans. Lupe Fiasco may be lost in the Atlantic, but here we are, too, floating happily alongside him.