WoW, it’s been awhile since I’ve written on my own little skip of a blog here. I’ve been busy with things, among those including a dead laptop, graduating college, and now working a few jobs. I wouldn’t be surprised if readers thought I died off and it kinda felt like it. But now I’m here to talk about a few rap songs I have enjoyed immensely within the past month of so. Ten tracks you might have heard or not, but are worth checking out amidst the Yeezus and Hov hoopla.

1. Starlito (feat. Don Trip) – “King Griffey Jr.”

It’s something about Starlito’s music that intrigues me so much. And there’s the fact that he has an incredible way with words, taking a popular instrumental and molding it into his own with the slickest delivery. Off of his Cold Turkey appetizer, Attention, Tithes, & Taxes, he links up with his compatriot Don Trip over J. Cole’s “Kenny Lofton” and do what they do best: Lyrically wreck shit. I actually forgot about the original song before the beat was dug back up for this and I’m glad that they did it. Trip and Lito are at their best when they are sentimental and their chemistry strengthens with each standout collaborations between the ‘Step Brothers’.

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2. Migos – “China Town”

Migos have been buzzing most recently since the release of their Y.R.N. mixtape and the latest Drake co-sign. The trio interchanges as fluidly as Travis Porter club bangers with a tinge of mush-mouthed wittiness of 2009 Gucci Mane and the insane catchiness of hooks that would make Future Vandross proud. This song plays off Mortal Kombat references, metaphorically linking Sonya Blade to a brick of coke. And if anybody knows me really well, I’m a sucker for MK references.

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3. Freddie Gibbs (feat.G-Wiz & Jay Rock) – “Certified Live”

Freddie Gibbs is a rapper’s rapper and as far as Gangsta rap is concerned, he’s the best doing it. So it came as no surprised when he was unceremoniously cut off from Jeezy’s CTE label, he’ll go into business for himself and control his fate. No longer tied to label politics and with an even bigger chip on his shoulder, Gibbs released his debut album Evil Seeds Grow Naturally off of his own independent label with the same name. It’s arguably his strongest work to date, focused with subliminal (and direct) shots to his former label and some of the crispest rugged tunes of street life. “Certified Live” may not be his best track, but the church organs twisting out of G.O.O.D’s recent signee Lifted brings a funky vibe to it. Jay Rock joins it the fray continuing his consistent streak of really good verses.

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4. Deniro Farrar (feat. JMSN) – “Separate”

More rappers should rap over Ryan Hemsworth production. More rappers should rap over Ryan Hemsworth production. More rappers should rap over Ryan Hemsworth production. I really don’t think I could stress it enough on how that dude got heat. Deniro Farrar knows and ever since hearing him for the first time on “Cold Blood”, I knew that he was for me. He recently released his excellent follow-up to The Patriarch last week and this was the glaring highlight. Over exotic guitar loops and the infectious voice of JMSN filling the background, Farrar drops introspective bars of embracing Death and living in binary choices.

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5. Chris Faust – “54 To Barclays”

Rap’s second favorite comic book fan (Sean Price holds the crown) is back on the scene again. I’ve always been interested in how he was always in the background when his friends Mickey Factz, Outasight, and Homeboy Sandman gained a larger following over the years. He’s immensely talented as a songwriter, mixing his penchant for superhero stories with the life’s tribulations. Over the jazzy vibes of Woody, “54” is his first single off of his upcoming A Cool Cruel World.

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6. Chief Keef – “Hobby”

Zaytoven really is a fool for this beat. This is really some space horror movie meets Bruce Lee type shit with the synths rewinding and spinning in a whirlpool fashion. Chief Keef does what does here, mumbling away in grand fashion, fresh off an arrest and Yeezus guest feature. But MAN this shit is creepy, it’s weird, and it’s fucking beautiful.

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7. Iman Omari (feat. Kent Jamz) – “No Stress”

You remember me speaking on Iman about a year ago, and I’m still gonna talk about how good he is. (Vibe)rations was available for stream a week or so ago and I’ve been playing it non-stop, especially this doozy of a track. Accompanied by Kent Jamz providing the raps, “No Stress” is a dopamine-filled adventure that works best with another soul by your side.

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8. Problem (feat. Bad Lucc) – “Like Whaaat”

It looks like Problem is up next in the L.A. rap scene, hopping over to an extent YG and way over Iamsu! as far as Bay area names are receiving notoriety. Then again, he has one of the hottest songs popping in the West in “Like Whaaat”. It’s a song that embodies the Cali sound at its finest and I’ll be damned if I don’t hear this on the radio and clubs around here. His latest mixtape, The Separation, is available for download now.

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9. YG (feat. Young Jeezy & Rich Homie Quan) – “Ride For (My Nigga)”

Speaking of YG, he is now rubbing shoulders with Young Jeezy, inking a deal with CTE (and possibly being Freddie Gibbs’ replacement). As for his first treat with the label, he pairs up with DJ Mustard in an ode to Lil Wayne’s “Sky’s The Limit”. I never would have thought that ‘nigga’ would sound so heavenly here but it does, largely in part to Rich Homie Quan.

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10. Big Bank Black (feat. Kevin Gates) – “Animal”

Big Bank Black is member of Alley Boy’s Duct Tape Entertainment and Future’s Freebandz movement. He’s a science experiment matching the vocal woos of Z-Ro on hooks and the slurred gruffness of Yo Gotti. He’s not bad, but he doesn’t exactly blow me away on many accounts. It is the appearance of 2013 breakout star Kevin Gates and Mike Will’s production that does so well here. I want to hear more Mike Will and Kevin Gates together.

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11. TiRon & Ayomari – “For The Dreamers”

Okay I lied. I said ten tracks but it would be criminal for me to leave this song off of the list. TiRon & Ayomari are preparing to release The Great New Wonderful this year and are dropping a series of EPs to keep the fans hungry for more (no pun intended). “For The Dreamers” is great inspiring tune from The Wonderful Prelude Vol. 2speaking on preservation and continuing to push themselves, tugging at the emotion of everyone wanting to catch their dreams. I always felt that a lot of people sleep on their music, as personally they make some of the most consistently well-rounded bodies of work currently.

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