Jagaken “Snake Fang Sword”

Just like my boy Sekhmet would attack you with 6 katana blades of venom. I’ll be attacking you with 6 songs. Instead of making you blind, i’m making you deaf with my March playlist of music…if you didn’t understand that, Go wiki Sekhmet from Ronin Warriors. DO SOME HOMEWORK!

Pusha T – Don’t fuck with me
The title says it all. Pusha delivers better lyrics and more quotables in this freestyle than most rappers did on their albums this year. Covert disses abound as he takes subliminal shots at a rapper on his sophomore release (possibly Drake, but likely Consequence) and another who worked with Trey Songz (possibly J. Cole, but likely VA rapper, Ambassador Rick). Along with honorable mention, “Sweet” by Common, Pusha proves that there is still beef in the rap game and that diss rap is alive and well.
Sonically, “Don’t Fuck With Me” takes what Kanye started with 808s & Heartbreak, and what 40 has borrowed for every Drake release following 808s, and completes the experiment. Sans Drake’s R&B influences, Pusha produces pure lyricism over the minimalist beat, simultaneously harking back to the origins of hip hop with his subject matter, and producing sonic progression.

Craig Mack- Flavor in ya ear
The year is 2012 and you have stepped freshly out of your front door laced in your favorite pair of J’s, a sparkling clean grey crewneck sweater and a brand new snapback. You are as clean as the day your mother birthed you and your proverbial “swag” (I will never use the word again.) is at an all time high. Well Craig Mack is the soundtrack to that moment. When you hop step off of your front step and saunter down the block to buy a dollar arizona ice tea, this is the song playing in the background. This is the song you make a statement to, the song playing when people snap their necks and take notice of you. That 1-2 dropping beat will never fall out of favor.

Passion Pit – Swimming in the Flood
What happens when one of these so called “hipster” bands comes along and produces something that is really actually quite good and easy on the ears? Do you back track on everything you said and admit that some of their music is actually pretty good? Or do you just sit by and continue to argue that only American Apparel/Fedora wearing kids listen to that band and that “they still suck dude.” Well luckily enough for me, I try to avoid calling any music “hipster” music. I am not a huge fan of Passion Pit’s other work, but this song right here is just about as good as it gets. Cool progression, what I consider some pretty cool vocals and all around very cool vibe surrounding the track. When it starts raining throw this on. Check out the rest of their music as well, craft your own opinion.

A$AP Rocky – Peso
Whoever said, “Don’t believe the hype” should shut up. Not Public Enemy, obviously, though this is a nice instance of things coming full circle. A$AP Rocky put himself and his entire crew on in 2011 through the hype of “Peso.”
What this track represents more than the explosion of DIY rap is the diffusion of regional hip hop. At one point in time every city and state had their own signature sound; L.A. had G-funk, Houston had chopped and screwed. Now, hip hop has gone through enough generations that the sounds of individual cities are being incorporated by artists from all across the country, creating an amalgam of classic rap sounds. “Peso” is a prime indicator of this as A$AP combines Harlem and Houston sounds with a dash of Kanye’s fashion aesthetics.

Toro Y Moi – New Beat
So sometimes you get this one song, right? Suggestion from a friend, random download from a playlist, picking up an unknown album from a record store, whatever the means of possession might happen to be, this certain songs comes into your life. In today’s current age you drag the little file over to iTunes waiting to see what this mysterious little MP3 file holds for you. The file loads and through the speakers out blasts some glorious cacophony the likes of which you have never heard.
It’s hard to describe but sometimes certain songs hit you on particular days and they literally just change your life for that day. Music really has an incredible power to change the way a person thinks, feels and acts. It can call an entire group of people to action or at least get them to start “White People/ Nerd dancing”…you know damn well what I’m talking about.

Blu & Exile – Seasons
Might you be a fan of Nujabes(RIP) beats? You are!? you’re going to love this Exile beat then. “Seasons,” for one, is pure poetry. Lyrically, it’s was the most eloquent song of 2011 and still is here in 2012, which I can say having listened to every rap song that was released this year. It exemplifies dedication to hip hop and constant creation, despite a lack of widespread recognition. Each release from Blu in 2011 was sonically different and individually incredible. Despite being one of the XXL freshmen in 2009, he seemed to voluntarily avoid the mainstream, devoting himself, instead, to just creating good music. With a beautiful descending piano line and a rough Tom Waits sample turned sweet, “Seasons” is a modern classic in all senses, proving to any nonbelievers that honest, unabashed hip hop still exists.

-Justin

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