Image via YouTube
Donald Morrison doesn’t want anyone to forget that the Supreme Court is also making it harder to hold doctors accountable for running pill mills.
There’s something truly inspirational about how Ralfy The Plug has bounced back in the wake of his brother’s death. This year he’s released multiple full length projects, on top of a barrage of videos and features with Sting Team members OTM and Young Bull. He’s also remained a constant presence online, appearing gleefully antagonistic tussling with No Jumper and seemingly always having enough time to quote tweet haters with less than 1,000 followers to defend the Stinc Team.
“One More Life” isn’t just a heartfelt ode to those Ralfy has lost, it’s also a reckoning with his own precious place in life and a vow to focus less on fighting and more on buying diamonds. Over a simple piano-riff that reminds me of the Peanuts theme song, he imagines what it would be like if he could give those closest to him one more shot at living in a world destined to see them dead or in jail. Ralfy has a perspective molded by grief and injustice and It’s inspiring to see someone on the other end of a traumatic year approach life with gratitude and determination.
Having served years in prison, lost his best friend Ketchy The Great, and fought alongside Drakeo The Ruler in his last battle, Ralfy knows that every day he gets to see his kid and continue making music is a gift. “That’s a professional, I’m getting paid, I ain’t doing no more fighting, but I’d be lying if I told you I ain’t buying no more diamonds.”
Produced by Stinc Team regular Al B Smoov, “One More Life,” sits near the end of Ralfy’s latest release, a deluxe version of his April’s Skateboard P, but is actually just 20 brand new songs with features from DaBoii, Louie Ray, Peezy, BlueBucksClan, Cash Kidd and Drakeo The Ruler, who appears posthumously on the bar-heavy “Dynamic Duo.” Skateboard P has some of the most exciting features out of all the albums Ralfy has released this year and shows that he’s capable of growing as an artist even while dropping double-albums every month.
Azealia Banks is always in the news for the wrong reasons. In the past two weeks she’s made headlines for accusing Beyonce of copying her dance-pop brand of house music in the latter’s new single, “Break My Soul,” and was videotaped half-naked throwing a microphone and storming offstage at a Miami Pride event, before hopping on Twitter, and explaining that “Wynwood Pride was way too ghetto. I had to bounce.” Amid the very real or very manufactured chaos, you might have missed the release of her best single in recent memory, “I Rule The World,” an evocative house record that feels like three songs in one. It’s a reminder that, antics- aside, Banks still has the juice to make some of the most interesting dance music in the world.
“I Rule The World” is an upbeat, Met Gala-inspired journey into a land ruled by Banks and populated with gorilla pimps and ice princesses on runways adorned with shiny jewelry. I can’t think of another artist that writes to dance music the way Banks does. Her lyrics and voice match the intensity of the production in perfect harmony and her natural cool has the ability to make a party sound fun in an era where I’d rather shoot myself in the head than go to a club. In a more just world, she’d be one of America’s biggest pop stars: brash, irreverent, unpredictable and light years ahead of everyone else musically. Instead, Banks has been somewhat shunned by the media and major labels and her music hardly gets any coverage. Currently “I Rule The World” has less than 70K views on Youtube, an amount of views that seems criminally low for how popular Banks is and for how good the song is.
This eight-and-a-half minute Baby Stone Gorillas and friends cypher, presented and shot by Shimo Media, is a perfect distillation of everything to love about the hyper-specific gangland music coming out of Los Angeles. The beat, produced by Young Nizzy, continues to loop as all eight rappers approach a microphone hanging in the center of a basketball court in Jim Gilliam’s Park, territory of the Black P Stone bloods gang and a shooting location for the movie Training Day. There’s not a chorus to be found and every preceding rapper seems destined to out-do the one before him. “I’m Magic Johnson in the kitchen, I do not be looking, the peoples eyebrow, ‘can you smell what the rocks be cooking,’’” said Youngaveli, who rapped first. Top5ive of BSG later says “fully activated, when we bagning we do five-much, ain’t no half steppin when you banging we throw five’s up.”
If you’ve spent any time listening to rap from either Detroit or Flint, Michigan in the last two years, you’ll likely recognize Wayne616’s producer tag, “fuck the fire we got grease,” or “it’s a Wayne beat,” from the beginning of some of the scene’s biggest hits. Along with Enrgy Beats, he can be credited as somewhat of an architect of the kind of minimalist production that helped push the punch-in flows to their natural conclusions over the past two years.
This week the Grand Rapids-based producer released a song where he’s actually rapping and named it after the producer whose beat he’s rapping over. “KardiOnDa808s” sounds like it could have easily been made by Wayne616 and I say that as a compliment. He takes a page out of Rio Da Yung OG’s book and crafts a verse that’s funny, menacing and altogether perplexing at the same time. “Fucked the club up and left out with a couple dancers, you the type to get caught and have all the answers,” he says in Rio’s classic punched in drawl. Wayne616 has said in interviews that he sometimes takes only five minutes to make a beat. I would hope next time he takes a little longer to craft his verse if he wants to become the next great producer/rapper double threat. Especially when he’s competing with Pierre Bourne.
Cuffing season is officially over with the arrival of Diddy and Bryson Tiller’s unrequited love song of the summer, “Gotta Move On,” which promises to soundtrack toxic breakups across the country. In the past, the perpetually hurt Tiller has had a tendency to undercut the emotional heft of his songs by too often playing the victim and underhandedly blaming the women for his missed connections. In “Gotta Move On,” Tiller acknowledges his hurt over his ex getting a new man without sounding jealous, wisely pointing out that everyone moves on differently. “You found a new man so I gotta move on, guess you got a new agenda with someone you barely know, I won’t say you’re wrong, guess you had to move on.” The production is dark, but easy to move too and Tiller’s voice sounds so good it has me listening to past records under new lenses.
“Gotta Move On,”also features the perfect amount of Diddy. He’s there at the beginning to set the tone and he’s there at the end to see us off. “Get in your bag, stay in your bag,” will likely be stuck in your head if you listen to the song as much as I have. The visualizer shows an energized Diddy dancing in a red room reminiscent of his infamous dance moves that would be featured in the videos of Bad Boy artists in the nineties. It’s nice to see he still has it.