I missed several birthday parties this weekend due to having twisted my ankle on an uptown sidewalk, and this was immediately before I partook in the drinking of two bottles of champagne. So instead of dancing to Timbaland vs. Pharrell sets Saturday night—happy birthday, Angel!—I laid in bed, propped onto an icepack, and rattled my apartment's walls with a powerful subwoofer and a little help from T-Pain, Kehlani, Kendrick Lamar, and Rapsody.
Today I'm limping like Denzel in the final 20 minutes of Training Day.
Kendrick Lamar f/ Rapsody "Complexion (A Zulu Love)"
Released: March 16, 2015
Most reviews of To Pimp a Butterfly read like an oberlin.edu web server having a stroke. Don't let that dull or frustrate your enjoyment of this album, which, at this point, has even sold me on the couple soulquarian cuts that I wasn't feeling initially. No, despite the popularly incorrect consensus, Nicki Minaj did not outrap Kanye West on "Monster," but Rapsody sure as shit snatched Kendrick's mic on "Complexion," and she makes it sound easy: "You blew me away; you think more beauty in blue, green, and grey/All my solemn men up north, 12 years a slave/Twelve years of age, thinking my shade too dark."
Father f/ Abra "Gurl"
Released: March 17, 2015
Father is that one assimilated black friend who white kids keep around for aesthetic diversity purposes. His appeal is some Brooklyn shit that I can't imagine lasting beyond a debut album that gets widely praised/panned as "minimalist" and "understated" and "subversive," which are all solid reasons to instead invest in that dreadlocked goblin Chief Keef as rap's alternative, unrelatable future. I am rooting for Abra, however, just on the strength of this one song that had me doing the robot down the produce aisle of a Key Foods in East Harlem.
Kehlani "How That Taste"
Released: March 25, 2015
Between the Tinashe mixtape and this new shit from Kehlani, let's concede that women have the upperhand in R&B this year so far. Miguel and Frank Ocean have washed the fuck out of our lives, and I'm not even sad about it.
Okay Kaya "Damn, Gravity"
Released: March 27, 2015
What I'm truly looking forward to is ScHoolboy Q flipping this song into a cowboy rap banger a la "Hands on the Wheel." On her own strength, however, Okay Kaya is breaking my heart in the best way, like only a song with twang and a harmonica can. She's from New Jersey and Norway, and I'd never have guessed.
T-Pain "Sun Goes Down"
Released: March 27, 2015
I've got a review of this whole DJ Drama x T-Pain mixtape that went up today, but if you haven't gotten to it, I'll just say: The Iron Way is more satisfying than the last two Drake albums and the last three Future mixtapes, combined. I myself prefer the more aggressive and sexually disgusting cuts from Iron Way, but "Sun Goes Down" is the obviously infectious jam that ought to knock "Uptown Funk" from its spot atop the Hot 100. A hip-hop blogger can dream!