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Good Week, “Bad” Remix
Wale began the week with a bang. On Monday, the rapper dropped the highly anticipated remix to his hit single “Bad,” which features (almost) everyone’s favorite pop princess, Rihanna. Though the tempo hasn’t changed, the remix is drenched in even more sin. Wale continues to share jewels on dealing with beautiful yet emotionally unavailable women: “No more sucker for love/She prolly duckin’ because/You try to follow your gut feeling, you get lost.” Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve, kids. Meanwhile, Rihanna—-sultry vocals and all—-assumes the role of Calypso, the sorceress who had Odysseus wrapped around her finger for years in Homer’s Odyssey. Wale also revealed the tracklist of his forthcoming about The Gifted, on which the “Bad” remix is placed ahead of the original. Strange indeed, but the remix should dominate the radio this summer just as its predecessor has.
Also this weeek: Wale’s Maybach Music Group boss Rick Ross announced the release of the collective’s Self Made, Vol. 3 compilation album, along with new. “Poor Decisions” finds Wale, Ross, and Lupe Fiasco spinning tales of “rich niggas makin’ poor decisions.” “We was born black, but that shit’ll make you dark” the Lupe raps over Jake One’s production. Check out both tracks below, and look for Wale’s The Gifted on June 25 and the MMG group effort on Aug. 3.—-Julian Kimble
The Cornel West Theory Always Pays Its Debts
The Cornel West Theory is downright intimidating on stage. Their music harkens back to the pro-black political rap of the 1990s, and they don’t seem too concerned with being accessible. But that also makes the group stand out: They could give a damn how you feel, as long as the music sends a brutally honest message. So the group’s new song, “Game of Drones,” isn’t surprising. They use random news clips and filtered rhymes to air out covert war tactics. The media isn’t absolved, either: “Radio, TV and even the press, this is the meaning of D.R.O.N.E.S.”—Marcus J. Moore
The hook on AB the Pro’s latest, “Land of the Blind,” may invoke an overworn idiom, but it goes deeper. “In the land of the blind, it’s the man with one eye who’s king,” the hook goes, but its not sight that puts the protagonist in charge, but awarness. “Liquor stores by one store, and a big church and a gun store/Niggas will be satisfied by that but me? I want more” he asserts. In a Kanye-like touch, as the last 40 seconds ride out, a robotic voice emerges to request forgiveness from a higher power for suffering from the same blindness that plagues the world. It’s a swift (and necessary) dismissal of rap that’s holier-than-though—-an unintentional echo of the humility Kanye showed on “All Falls Down” that endeared us to him.—-JK
Allow Lyriciss to Vent for a Moment
It had been entirely too long since Prince George’s County MC Lyriciss had last dropped a visual, but he hinted about the emergence of something new earlier this year. Last week, he delivered a brand new video for the Numonics-produced “Vent” out of the blue. Lyriciss has some things on his mind, and he puts them out there: “Thoughts runnin’ through my mind and I can’t catch em physically/Tryna slow it down and speak it to you lyrically” he says in the song’s opening bars. Music is therapeutic, and the rapper uses the clip to release his views on the world’s ills while walking through the streets of D.C.. The video, directed by Matt Sugawara, is simple: It’s just Lyriciss in D.C., either in front of the Howard Theatre or on Georgia Avenue right by Listen Vision Studios. The track appears on LI FTW, the collaborative project between J57 and Numonics. Let’s hope we see another Lyriciss video sometime in the near future—-if sounds like this, we’re cool with hearing him vent.—-JK
Straight Talk From Laelo
The last we heard from Laelo, he and Gods’Illa were going off on materialistic rappers. Laelo also threw shots at his competition, shrugging at fellow MCs who seemed happy with his perceived retirement. “Cold Outside,” the second single from Laelo’s forthcoming Lifers Never Die EP, goes heavy on the social commentary: “Spiritual warfare, call it genocide/The rich get richer while poor people kill and die.” Even the president feels a little wrath (“Fuck the politics, religion and the government/I voted Obama but even he be on that puppet shit.”) Laelo’s EP is slated to drop later this month.—MJM
Preliminary Lineup for Trillectro 2.0 Announced
Last summer, the DC to BC team introduced its Trillectro festival, a landmark local mashup of hip-hop and EDM music. Trillectro will return to the Fairgrounds in Southeast on August 17, and the initial batch of performers has been announced. It includes Harlem’s self-proclaimed trap lord A$AP Ferg, Cleveland rapper King Chip (the artist formerly known as Chip Tha Ripper) and Houston’s Travi$ Scott. Other performers include Nadastrom, DJ Slink, Carnage, and Gents & Jawns, and more will be announced between now and August. We anticipate that thousands will once again brave the sweltering heat to partake in this effort to loosen D.C. up.—-JK