For this edition of the bi-weekly hip hop roundup, we look at three of the best rap songs over the past 10 days. There will be a mixture of underground and mainstream choices this time around. Leave a comment at the bottom if you have any other suggestions. This list is in no particular order.
Sampa the Great – “Final Form”
It’s time we as listeners start acknowledging the underground impact of Afro-rap. Artists like Goldlink and Kendrick Lamar wouldn’t be the same without it. The sub-genre is rich with content and versatility, and no one realizes it.
Zambia native Sampa the Great is spearheading a movement that needs to be heard amongst the mainstream. Her new single “Final Form” is not only a celebration of African culture. It’s also a triumphant take on human nature, and how one reacts in certain situations. Most importantly, it’s a song about being yourself. Thankfully, Sampa has the energy and presence to pull off such a grand narrative. Her thoughtful songwriting, memorable chorus, and flamboyant percussion make for a fresh alternative to boombap. Check out this song, as well as her other music on Bandcamp.
Notable lyrics: “Great state I’m in/In all states I’m in/I might final form in my melanin.
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib (feat. Anderson Paak.) – “Giannis”
“Real G’s move in silence like Giannis/My Greek freak, we did a menage with a friend in St. Thomas.” Absolute flames. But that’s what you expect from Freddie Gibbs and Madlib when they hook up on a track nowadays. Their newest single for their upcoming album (Bandana, which is set to drop June 28) is an absolute banger, highlighted by a menacing piano, and an Anderson Paak. chorus that truly belongs in an old mobster movie from the 1980s (“ice will come with the fame/flowers cover the grave/power, love, and loyalty/Wash me clean today.”).
There’s a lot to unpack here, specifically with Gibbs and Paak. trading savage bars about materialism, and how it can be the death of younger artists (“That 360 mean a percentage of every income stream/That record ain’t doing numbers”). It’s a braggadocios track with actual facts to back up the bold lyrics.
Notable lyric: “Bodies hit the pavement, money came for months/Hey ‘caine paid the bills/Penthouse the suite, sugar on the hill.” (Anderson Paak.)
GoldLink (feat. Pusha T) – “Coke White”
When Pusha T is rapping about coke, things tend to go well. The G.O.O.D. Music president brings his best drug-induced rhymes on Goldlink’s new song, “Coke White” (off of Goldlink’s new album Diaspora). Despite contrasting styles, the duo surprisingly plays to their strengths. The slow-tempo intro allows Pusha to enunciate every fire bar he can in a short amount of time (“We compare wrists by the watch complications/We compare rich by who’s more ostentatious”).
The Project Pat sample operates as a spectacular transition into the sped-up second-half. This section of the track serves as the perfect platform for Goldlink to utilize his nimble flow-almost sounding like an assault rifle spitting bullets nonstop. The addition of an eerie piano riff adds a nice layer to the production as well, exemplifying the dark style of street rap.
Notable Lyrics: “I’m committed to the movement, you committed to the wave/Yeah, I know it get you paid, but why you tatted on your face?” (Gold link)