1. Black Cocaine The other day I got an email from Havoc, otherwise known as Kejuan Muchita, otherwise known as one half of the legendary hip hop duo Mobb Deep. The email let me know of the release of a new EP called Black Cocaine. This was good news, as I am a fan. Upon my arrival home, I downloaded the EP. Did I listen to a 30 second sample? No. Did I go on Amazon or iTunes and see how many stars people were giving it? No. Did I check out the hip hop bloggerati to see what the pundits were saying? No. Did I engage in a spirited discussion with some fool who thinks Prodigy (Havoc's partner) lost it 10 years ago? No. I simply downloaded it. After all, it's by Mobb Deep and it's called Black Cocaine. There are few guarantees in this life but that's one of them. If it's by Mobb Deep and it's called Black Cocaine, it will be good. And it is good - very, very good. So go buy it. If you must sample a song, watch this gruesome video. You'll wish you had just bought the EP.
2. Pusha T Otherwise known as Terrance Thornton, Pusha is one half of the not quite legendary but still astounding hip hop duo Clipse, known for some of the finest hip hop albums of the new millennium. After recording some staggering verses with Kanye West as part of the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy project, the next logical step for Pusha was a solo album which, in the style of the day, was heralded by a free mix tape over the summer called Fear Of God. Unfortunately, except for the hypnotic Raid, which featured 50 Cent's best work since Blood Money with Mobb Deep, the collection was a stiff. Rote beats, unimaginative hooks, and just a few of Pusha's patented "young black Socrates" zingers. So when RCRD LBL let me know of a new track called Body Work from Fear Of God 2, my hopes were not high. And it turned out to be lame. But somehow in the aftermath of my earlier disappointment, I had missed the September release of a track by him pithily entitled Don't Fuck With Me, which I now discovered.
Just seeing the title reminded me of the time when a contemporary novelist expressed her frustration with the fact that Anthony Trollope had written a novel called The Way We Live Now - in 1875. "Shouldn't every novel be called that?" she asked. Well, shouldn't (nearly) every rap song be called Don't Fuck With Me? But it took Pusha to do it and it's pure genius. Download it for free from RCRD LBL - and sign up for their excellent emails while you're at it. Sometimes one great song can make up for a lot of duds.
Time to get cracking on that Best of 11 list...cheers.