Lil B, "I'm the Badass"
Joey Bada$$, "Don't Quit Your Day Job"
Joey Bada$$ is a guy famed for his ability to rap really, really well. Lil B is, you know, not that. And yet this beef was over as soon as Based God rhymed the words "And if you really think you a badass" with "I turn you into trash you little bitch."
Kanye West, Rant
Important fact number one: An Auto-Tuned rant at the end of "Runaway" is now an accepted — anticipated even! — staple of Kanye's live show. Important fact number two: In Abu Dhabi this week, he delivered said rant while wearing a straightjacket and what appears to be the mask from The Strangers. God bless this man.
More promising sounds from the up-and-comers in TEEN, the sister act behind last year's In Limbo. That said: Seeing as the Liebersons have decided to all-capitalize their name, I don't know if I can fully sign off until they decide on a backronynm, ŕ la
Boys Entering Anarchic States Toward Internal Excellence or
N----- On the Run Eating. How about ... Too Elated Even Now? Try Eloping and Eating Naked? Technocrats Exist, Elephants are Nice?
Dean Blunt, "Papi"
Shout to Dean Blunt: Changing the fallacious public perception that all songs with the word "papi" in their title should sound like they belong on videos in which girls in hot tubs get Cristal poured on them, one smoothed-out slow-burner at a time.
Surfer Blood, "Weird Shapes"
West Palm Beach indie poppers Surfer Blood were enjoying a standard rise-to-fame trajectory — they're following up their critically acclaimed debut, Astro Coast, by jumping to Warner Bros. for their next release, Pythons — when front man John Paul Pitts was arrested on domestic abuse charges. As promotion gears up for Pythons, Pitts will almost certainly have to explain what happened that night. Stay tuned.
Titus Andronicus, "I Tried to Quit Smoking"
For a Take Away Show, Patrick Stickles finds some kind of an abandoned crumbling warehouse to play this Local Business sad-bastard ballad, and you get the feeling that if he'd been able to find something more desolate and creepy and lifeless, he would have. Patrick: Next time, may we suggest waiting until an epic storm floods out a subway station?
The Ready Set, "For the Better"
Things have gotten kind of weird for Taylor Swift. Two albums ago, her "everything I sing about actually happened" shtick was refreshing and candid, if just the tiniest bit psychotic. By now, it's such a punchline that even an emo-pop lopside-cut nobody band like The Ready Set has the nerve to make the joke. Swift's nothing if not in control, and so I'd bet good money that by the next album, for better or worse, she'll have junked the bit. And while we're on the topic: A couple of years ago The Ready Set dropped "Love Like Woe," a song so stupidly perfectly saccharine that I still can't hear it without then playing it on loop for the next three to 17 hours. It has been my guilty, dirty shame, burning through me like lye through hands, but now the whole world knows, and I don't care because I love "Love Like Woe," dammit, and we're gonna be happy together forever, and so you can all just take your judging eyes and hateful bias and you can go straight to hell!
Beyoncé, The National Anthem
Just to get everyone to STFU already about the Inauguration, Beyoncé showed up at this Super Bowl press conference and — in an undeniably non-pre-recorded kind of way — crushed the national anthem so thoroughly that Francis Scott Key just rolled over in his grave so he could high-five himself. In her own, inimitable manner, Beyoncé just turned to a classroom of fourth-graders and asked, "Bunt. B-U-N-T. In perfect cursive. Got any more brain busters?"
Tyga Featuring Wiz Khalifa and Mally Mall, "Molly"
Of course it'd be Tyga, of exquisite not-trying-is-cool jam "Rack City" fame, who'd jump on hip-hop's current vogue for the empathogenic in the bluntest way possible. It's certainly effective and everything but, I dunno man, I prefer my drug references a bit more subtle, and I feel that in this particular situation — between Moll Flanders, the Unsinkable Molly Brown and, of course, Molly Lambert — there's a lot with which to work.
Kenny Chesney, “Pirate Flag”
I gotta be honest: I'm not exactly a card-carrying member of, um, No Shoes Nation, Kenny Chesney's well-populated, fiercely-fun-loving fan-army. But my friend recommended this new heater from the Ches-man, and she's from Lutz, Florida, and everyone calls her Hoss and one time she straight shut down Hot Rod's BBQ with an impromptu, stirring, booze-soaked table-top rendition of "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" that was interrupted only by the sounds of her gagging down tequila. So I think it's legit!