Back in the day I bought a used copy of Short Dog’s In The House from my local record shop. Only when I got home did I realize it was the “clean” version. Which, on a Too Short album, is ridiculous. One of the songs, a duet with Ice Cube, was pretty much a solid beeeeeeeeep.
This new song would only require a couple of beeps.
“Ain’t Got No Haters” can be heard as a sequel to Cube’s 1993 hit “It Was a Good Day,” set in a utopian world where “These police, they never light me up” and even “Fuckin’ up at work, they never write me up.”
Too Short’s verse contains this gem:
Thirty years later still spittin’ flows
Gettin’ paid to call these bitches hoes
Oops, this is kind of old news since this song has already been replaced at No. 1 by Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next,” but we missed it last week.
Travis Scott scored his first number one record with “Sicko Mode” which had 37.2 million U.S. streams and 24,000 downloads sold in the week ending Nov. 29, and 65.1 million in all-format airplay audience in the week ending Dec. 2.
A remix by Skrillex might have pushed it over the top, but who knows? Billboard lumps all versions together in its chart formulations.
It’s a weird song. 5+ minutes long with a bunch of unrelated sections. And of course it features Drake. Because no commercially aspirational rapper can hope to achieve mainstream success without the help of the Canadian Champagne Papi. (Unless you’re Cardi B. Which you’re not.)
So weird it only stayed in the top spot of the pop chart for one week before that coveted position was reclaimed by Frankie Grande‘s little sister.
Directed by Anthony Cole. From Gate 13, out now on IOT Records.
Del the Funky Homosapien was hurt pretty bad earlier this month when he fell off the stage while performing with the Gorillaz in Denmark. He posted a message to Twitter on July 12 saying he was getting better and then released a video for the second single from Gate 13, his collaboration with producer Amp Live.
“Help” features a chorus sung by Adult Karate and opera vocals by Andrea Blunt.
“More than any other song on the album, Help was the song that we wanted to make sure had the biggest impact in terms of message. So its visual interpretation was important. The Help video represents the struggle that many people are having right now with differentiating between an act and reality. A young Del in 2018 quickly grows into his present self and we are seeing the journey he has to take in discovering who he is. The final destination is his big awakening.”
And yet the video omits the second verse of the song. What’s up with that? The second verse is good as the first with the intricate and unconventional rhyming that Del is known for.
They get the foot in the door, I’ma slam it shut
Tryin’ to break their ankle, thank you, don’t try to cut
You stay in line, you wait in line
Take a number, be patient, don’t blame the line
Don’t blame the game, ain’t nothin’ wrong with the game
That’s right, people. The rules have changed in 2018: Don’t hate the game, anymore. Hate the player.
And watch out for the edge of the stage! That first step is a doozy.
They call me Cardi Bardi, banging body
Spicy mami, hot tamale
Hotter than a Somali, fur coat, Ferrari
Hop out the stu’, jump in the coupe
Big Dipper on top of the roof
Plus she samples “I Like It Like That” by Bronx boogaloo pianist Pete Rodriguez, so it’s got that funky 1967 Latin hook. I don’t know anything about Bad Bunny and J Balvin but all my favorite pop hits since we’ve been doing this series have had some Latino flavor, so I welcome and encourage our neighbors to the south to take over our pop charts entirely.
“I Like It” sold 44,000 downloads and had 37.5 million U.S. streams in the week ending June 28, and 80 million in radio audience in the week ending July 1.
Like probably a lot of middle-aged white people, the first I ever heard of XXXTentacion was when Spotify banned him from its corporate playlists along with R. Kelly. I read “The Real Story of South Florida Rapper XXXTentacion” before I heard any of his music. And after reading that, I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to listen to it. XXXTentacion was a violent and abusive guy.
Then on June 18 he was shot dead in an apparent robbery. He was 20 years old.
And now he has reached the top spot on the Hot 100 singles chart. And he’s got four more songs in the Top 40.
Christopher Weingarten in Rolling Stone explains how unique XXX’s story is in the history of popular music. This kid came from nowhere, with no label support, and made a huge impact. Weingarten compares him to Darby Crash of the Germs and says it’s as if “tiny indie Slash Records somehow got ‘Lexicon Devil’ to the Top 40.” For those of us who grew up in the MTV era, it’s unimaginable.
“Sad!” is still the only XXXTentacion song I’ve listened to. And it’s weird. Is this hip hop? He’s singing. It’s melodic. And depressing. And manipulative (“You decide, if you’re ever gonna, let me know / Suicide, if you ever try to let go”). It doesn’t surprise me at all that teenagers love it. And boy, do they. “Sad!” had 48.9 million U.S. streams and 26,000 downloads sold in the week ending June 21, with only 2.9 million in airplay audience in the week ending June 24.
Directed by Karena Evans. Single out now on Young Money/Cash Money/Republic Records.
After eleven weeks at the top of the chart, Drake knocks his own “God’s Plan” out of first place with his new single, “Nice For What,” with 60.4 million U.S. streams and 88,000 downloads sold in the week ending April 12 as well as 31 million in all-format radio airplay audience in the week ending April 15.
Since the Hot 100 began in 1958, only 12 other acts have replaced themselves at No. 1. The Beatles were the first to do it, and they did it twice in 1964: “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was replaced by “She Loves You” which was then replaced by “Can’t Buy Me Love.” And then nobody else did it for 30 years when Boyz II Men finally knocked out “I’ll Make Love to You” with “On Bended Knee” in 1994. How about that?
Also noteworthy is that “Nice For What” is only the 30th single to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100. This wasn’t even possible before the Soundscan era, and Michael Jackson was the first with “You Are Not Alone” in 1995. And that’s not even a good MJ song!
The video features a bunch of apparently famous women being glamorous and empowered. Drake, meanwhile, ice skates around a futuristic set in a puffy coat to prove he’s still Canadian. How long will “Nice For What” remain at Number One? Will Drake pull a Beatles move and knock himself out of first place again with his next single? Stay tuned and find out!
Del’s the best. Back in college I was super into Ice Cube and George Clinton, digging into the wide diaspora of everything those guys had anything to do with. Reading liner notes to figure out sample sources, scouring dollar bins for beat up copies of Parlet and Bootsy’s Rubber Band, and all that.
I picked up I Wish My Brother George Was Here when it was released in 1991 strictly because Cube produced it and Del was his cousin. At the time I had no idea that the album would represent the apex of P-Funk sampling. Nobody could possibly top it, although some might think The Chronic — released a whole year later — came closest. (I would argue that since Dre preferred to interpolate with live musicians rather than sample records, The Chronic doesn’t count. But that’s just be me being pedantic.)
After My Brother George, Del (and everybody else) stepped away from using brother George Clinton’s beats. Of course, the chilling effect of the Biz Markie v. Gilbert O’Sullivan decision, which effectively prohibited the creative use of sampling, probably had a lot to do with that as well. But Del moved on, focusing on his intricate rapping.
Ten years later his verses were the highlight of “Clint Eastwood,” the breakthrough single by Damon Albarn’s cartoon band, the Gorillaz. At the time I was disappointed that Del wasn’t featured on every Gorillaz jam, but nope. It’d be a lot cooler if he was.
Del has continued doing his thing. Keeping his head down and moving forward. Collaborating with a wide variety of freaks and heads from Dinosaur Jr and Sean Lennon to MF Doom and the Wu-Tang Clan. And now he’s teamed up with producer Amp Live on a full length album called Gate 13, due (when else?) 4/20.
From Scary Hours, out now on Young Money/Cash Money/Republic Records.
Drake knocks out Camila Cabello after only one week at the top of the chart. “God’s Plan” had 82.4 million U.S. streams and 127,000 downloads sold in the week ending Jan. 25, as well as 24 million in all-format airplay audience in the week ending Jan. 28.
I know I’m not the intended audience for mainstream pop hip hop, but this sounds so boring and repetitive to me. Maybe they’re trying to sound hypnotic but it ends up coming across as narcoleptic. Is everybody on ludes these days? (Oh…right, I guess we are.)
But at least there’s one funny part of this song:
She say, “Do you love me?” I tell her, “Only partly.
I only love my bed and my mama. I’m sorry.”
“God’s Plan” is only the 29th song to debut at #1 in the Hot 100’s 59-year history. The first song to do it was Michael Jackson’s “You Are Not Alone” in 1995 and the previous one was DJ Khaled’s “I’m The One” last year.
Essentially, it’s a David vs. Goliath story where David is an “Instagram celeb turned reality-show luminary turned rapper.” 2017, people. Hell of a time to be alive.
But “Bodak Yellow” is pretty fun. My favorite line is “I just arrove in a Rolls / I just came up in a Wraith.” I like arrove as the past tense of to arrive. Like drove is the past tense of to drive. Makes sense. Sounds good. Add it to the OED.
Billboard‘s Gary Trust points out that Cardi B is the first solo female rapper to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart since Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” in 1998. She’s also “only the fifth female rapper ever to lead the Hot 100 at all.” That seems crazy.
“Bodak” had 46.4 million U.S. streams and 56,000 downloads in the week ending Sept. 21, and it had 62 million all-format audience radio impressions in the week ending Sept. 24.