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This week, the Breaks revisits the power of Shy Glizzy‘s “Awwsome” and features new music from Hassaan Mackey and Kev Brown, Nike Nando and Prince Akeem, and Surock. Special guest Marcus J. Moore joins the fold this week to offer his musings on this week’s selections.
“Awwsome” Manages to Become Even More Awesome
In August, I wrote about the power of Shy Glizzy’s slow-burning hit, “Awwsome,” after Chris Brown posted an Instagram video of him dancing to it. On a boat. The D.C. rapper got another national boost this week when Atlanta jester 2 Chainz and Harlem rapper/fashion pundit A$AP Rocky tacked verses onto the song’s official remix.
In addition to bringing the comedic element he’s known for (like “me too” ad-libs while Glizzy declares his own greatness on the song’s hook), 2 Chainz delivers well-placed references to Washington football team wide receiver DeSean Jackson and Washington Wizards point guard John Wall. Meanwhile, A$AP Rocky continues the braggadocio theme (“that peanut butter Prada probably why they actin’ jelly”) while adding his own D.C. reference, name-dropping infamous gangster Wayne Perry.
It all goes to show that “Awwsome” is far more than a regional hit, and DJ Heat’s theory that sometimes it takes time for a song to seep out of the area and gain national traction continues to ring true. —-Julian Kimble
Hassaan and Kev
In an era saturated with “turn up” music and trap-rap, Prince George’s County’s Low Budget Crew evokes hip-hop’s gritty old ways of raw beats and intricate rhymes. Back then, you didn’t always need a hook—-just play the beat and start spittin’. That’s exactly what happens on “Hassaan Be Rappin’,” the latest single from rapper Hassaan Mackey’s forthcoming album, That Grit, produced entirely by Low Budget leader Kev Brown. Above an understated loop of scratchy drums and sampled guitars, the Rochester, N.Y., lyricist riffs on disconnected topics, each line strung together in one fluid stream. It’s easy to call this nocturnal—Brown’s beat simmers in the background while Hassaan never climbs above a growl—but the track is lively enough. This is gutter rap, a different kind of turn up. —-Marcus J. Moore
Nike Nando and Prince Akeem’s Cuffing Season Anthem
The fall has arrived, meaning that period of the year dubbed “cuffing season”—-when single folks get booed up by the fire—-is underway. Nike Nando and Prince Akeem delivered “Main” this week, a sedated ode to that special member of the opposite sex. Over 2tall’s production, Nando croons “I don’t want you with no one else/I only want you to myself” on the hook, and both he and Prince Akeem get slightly sentimental on their verses. Their collaborative EP Fear of the Height$ is due out soon. —-JK
After a lengthy hiatus, Surock has been keeping busy this year. Released in February, his instrumental EP, Suck My Disk, collected lo-fi beats into one nostalgic set of Walkman music. There weren’t many standouts there, and that was on purpose; Disk resembled the old beat-tape format from the 1980s and ’90s. In May, Surock provided the soundtrack for Ohio rapper Copywrite; the lead single from their collaborative album, Choose Your Own Adventure: Murderland, offered a choral procession that concluded with a familiar wrestling chant. Now, the DMV producer has teamed up with notable Los Angeles rapper Blu on “Broccoli,” the lead single from Surock’s upcoming EP, Fuck You Very Much. Of course, they’re not talking about a different kind of green plant; “Broccoli” is an off-kilter stoner jam with equally off-base flows. Eat your veggies. Or smoke them. Fuck You Very Much is out in December. —-MJM