In the past week, brothers Jeff and Eric Rosenthal of sketch comedy duo ItsTheReal have released a DJ Drama–hosted mixtape, Urbane Outfitters, with the likes of Hannibal Buress, Bun B, Maino, Lil Jon, and Freeway; been written up in a variety of outlets, from the New York Times to Billboard to Fast Company; and retweeted Macklemore nine times. To close out their week, they're doing our Songs of the Week, because it's the final step in "making it."
N.O.R.E. ft. 2 Chainz, French Montana, and Pusha T, "Tadow"
Jeff Rosenthal: These are the things that go “tadow” for French Montana: his chopper, her ass, his money, and his bling. I don’t know if it’s a sound or an adjective or a combonomatopoeia, but it’s certainly something I’m adding to my everyday-speak.
Rembert Browne: Why aren't you guys in the N.O.R.E./P.A.P.I. video for "Built Pyramids”?
WFMU The Best Show's Tom Scharpling directs, and provides a perfectly bare-bones pop-up video kind of vibe — until the narrator's spiraling personal life gets in the way. Now this is how you make awesome videos on a budget of $17, Baked Lays mini bags, and a camera you borrowed from your cousin Ricky. Oh, and the track's a killer, too.
In a late-week, holiday-hangover episode of the Hollywood Prospectus Podcast, Andy Greenwald and I get together to talk about how we spent our (brief) summer vacations. I went to see The Amazing Spider-Man (2:40), along with most of America, while Andy checked out a special screening of the '90s indie cult classic Kicking and Screaming (12:00) (not the Will Ferrell soccer one). Both of these cinematic experiences are discussed in depth, with much mirth and reverie.
We then checked the pulse on Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom (20:20), wondering whether Alison Pill has ever been drunk in real life or if Dev Patel could have ever imagined things could have gotten worse after The Last Airbender. We also discussed the world of music (and what a world it is), praising the holy verses of Pusha T and Kanye West on the new G.O.O.D. Music track, "New God Flow," (29:20) and taking in Frank Ocean's personal revelations (36:26). There was also a bit of talk about Andy's excellent Fourth of July Spotify playlist and the role '90s indie rock band Velocity Girl played in my brief stint as a high school film auteur. Ask about me.
We wrapped it all up with some Double Down Book Club. This week's author is British spy-novel-master John le Carré (45:40); we heaped praise on his masterpiece Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy as well as some lesser-known works, The Tailor of Panama and Absolute Friends. Check it out: The podcast fireworks have only just begun.
A question on the occasion of the 13th or 14th time I've listened to Chief Keef's "I Don't Like (Remix)" today: Is anybody better at co-optation through collaboration than Kanye West?
Chief Keef is a previously superunknown, dreadlocked 16-year-old rapper from Chicago's South Side. Earlier this year, he became a viral fascination after a video of a very, very excited young man in a wood-paneled rec room celebrating Keef's release from jail on weapons charges became a hit on Worldstarhiphop.com. Keef was big among local high school kids, but he seemed to have no connections whatsoever, even on the regional level; in a hip-hop moment where even upstart blog-rap types like A$AP Rocky seem to arrive pre-assimilated, with label/media/fashion cosigns in place, that appearance of total aesthetic purity goes a long way. So did the detail that Keef has managed to blow up despite still being under house arrest at his grandmother's home, which is also the kind of hook that gets the attention of editors at outlets not normally known for commissioning long-form profiles of newish rappers (call it the Earl Sweatshirt Exemption).
Pusha T feat. Tyler the Creator, Hodgy Beats, and Liva Don, “Ooh”
This song is a billion times better than “Trouble On My Mind,” the last track on which Tyler and Pusha got together, and that is due in large part to Odd Future afterthought Hodgy Beats, whose dope opening verse shouts out both The Most Dangerous Game and Watchmen." Meanwhile, Push turns in his second-greatest reference to opera. (The first is from here, obviously: “Riding Chevys give us room to reload choppers / Gourmet beef, servin’ niggas filet Oscar / so many bitches screamin’, we should promote operas.”) That dude is great at rapping.
DOOM feat. Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, “Retarded Fren”
When official word came down that underground rap’s king weirdo DOOM was actually teaming up with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood (for a track on Complex, Lex Records’ 10th Anniversary compilation), it was tough not to geek out a little bit. Which means the end result — a perfectly adequate DOOM track for which Yorkey and Greeny provide a beat that sounds like the score for a chase scene in a stylized neo-noir movie — is, through no fault of its own, just a touch disappointing. But what were we expecting? For Thom to throw down some bars? The best part is when DOOM shouts out the Lex anniversary show he’s playing with Ghostface tomorrow. That plug will age well.
Lou Reed and Metallica, “The View”
The unlikely pairing of Lou Reed and Metallica dropped this track from their album, Lulu, on Tuesday — and inspired huge, unyielding torrent of Internet hate. Yes, it’s a silly cut-and-paste job (Lou Reed talks, James Hetfield sings, guitars shred), but did it deserve so much vitriol? Yeah, probably.
Game feat. Kendrick Lamar, “The City”
The Game returns! His oft-delayed R.E.D. Album has leaked a week ahead of its official release date, and it packs heaters. So far nothing sounds better than “The City,” a Cool & Dre-produced bit of melodrama in which Game is utterly and comprehensively upstaged by the young Kendrick Lamar — whose tricky, over-enunciated flow continues to be a delight wherever it pops up — and then, with his trademark lack of self-awareness, proceeds to declare himself one of the top five rappers of all time anyway.