Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip – Butch & Sundance

Let’s put aside the fact that mostly anything that references the George Roy Hill classic Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (one of my favorite movies) is OK with me. Even if this wasn’t already in my good books because of the title, it would be after hearing the track. Busta and Q-Tip trade bars over a nice jazzy beat for 3 minutes. It’s smooth, lyrical, and it’s a pleasure to listen to two veterans still give us reliable bars after so long in the game (Something not everybody can do. Looking at you, Jay-Z. Shots fired.). This is from their new collaborative mixtape, The Abstract & the Dragon, which you can get here.


Flatbush ZOMBiES – Death

A post-apocalyptic video for a track from the Zombies’ new mixtape BetterOffDEAD. The tape is in my iTunes but I haven’t listened to it yet. I like this track, though. It retains their requisite trippiness while being a bit more relaxed than they usually are. My favorite verse actually comes from Erick Arc Elliott, the least experienced rapper of the three (although he also does the least acid, so maybe that’s the trick).

Raekwon, Killa Sin, KRS-One, & The Notorious B.I.G. – Stop the Breaks

My favorite Biggie verse, and on one of my favorite posse cuts, period. It’s off an obscure Ron G mixtape from the early ’90s. The beat is classic ’90s – party-boom-bap drums and a simple, funky bassline. I love the sleigh bells holding down the eighth notes. The verses are all perfect examples of each rapper’s style, and are all solid until Biggie comes in and blows everyone out of the water. Stuff like this is why everyone looks back on the ’90s as the golden age.

M.I.A. – Bring The Noize

It’s good to see M.I.A. enjoying herself again – it was especially disappointing to see her looking bored while riding on a car on two wheels in the “Bad Girls” video. Also I could not be sicker of girls who live slow and will die old singing that song in my vicinity, regardless of their level of badness. Anyway, “Bring the Noize” is a return to form. Much more reminiscent of her earlier work than the lacklustre Maya album, the lead single from her upcoming Matangi is a dancehall-influenced banger. Threatening horns, fast, stuttering vocals on the hook, a door creaking or some shit – these all contribute to a song that will be spun heavily in the near future, and has been spun heavily in the recent past. The video is classic M.I.A. too – her leading a crowd of nameless people wearing coordinated outfits (hers the only one to break the mold, to a degree) in various dances, illicit actions, and other cool things. I especially like her hair-cape.

Fat Tony – Hood Party f. Kool A.D. & Despot

This has been one of my favorite party songs for the past 6 months or so. The beat goes hard, and the verses all have the right amount of skill and humor. The video is very clever, too – Tony, Kool A.D., and Tom Cruz (the producer) are having a 3-way video chat on “Froogal” at their respective parties, and are joined later by Despot. At the end, everything gets crazy, but I won’t spoil things for you. I like the purposeful glitching of the individual video feeds. Cameos are made by Bun B and Jadakiss (I think it’s Jadakiss) at Tony’s Houston party. Best line: “Stop asking where Brooklyn at, coulda just looked on a map.”

A Tribe Called Quest – Scenario f. Leaders of the New School

This is the best posse cut of all time, and will be for the forseeable future. It’s rivalled only by its own remix, and maybe the remix of “Flava in Ya Ear” by Craig Mack. For those of you not “hip” to the “jive,” as the kids put it, a posse cut is a song with four or more rappers, each getting a verse. This track has a more energetic beat than most of Tribe’s stuff, but that doesn’t make it any less jazzy, and top-notch verses from Q-Tip, Phife, and all the LONS. The real standout, though, is Busta Rhymes. He has the last verse, and it’s not hard to see why this verse has become legendary in the hip-hop world, and put him on the map as a solo MC. The video is also the most ’90s thing I’ve ever seen, and features cameos from Spike Lee, Redman, De La Soul, and Brand Nubian. Who’s that? Broooooooooown!