Legacy Track of the Week: THE CARTERS - FRIENDS
“My friends are goals, your friends are foes (foes), we fly, why cry? Our souls exposed, yeah, we smoke, we laugh, your stress, my stress, closer than kin, I'm blessed, you blessed (blessed)” Wasn’t easy to profile the very best song on what’s overall a damn near 10 out of 10 perfect album, and that in itself surprised me considering I was one of the few that felt both 4:44 and Lemonade somewhat lacked in that respect. Furthermore their own collaborations had been more hit-or-miss in recent memory, though let’s not forget that some of their early moments together defined greatness in every way. Sure enough however this time around they combined their superpowers and put out a cohesive project that all hyperbole aside is almost flawless, 9 tracks that remind us all why they are two of the greatest entertainers of all time. The first Billionaire couple from music period who rarely if ever have compromised their quality to sell records, and somehow that remains true to this day even with Migos writing credits and multiple Chief Keef references. Even social media star Nav is credited as a producer on this particular record, though that’s a very loose interpretation of that line of work altogether. All the same this is vintage Beyonce on this and definitely vintage Hov, who effortlessly delivers one of his finest verses in recent memory.
THE CARTERS - APESHIT
“Tell the Grammy's fuck that 0 for 8 shit, have you ever seen the crowd goin apeshit? (rah)” You already know how we feel about the Grammys, yet for that reason, we already know the Grammys love these types of moments and are more than ready to reward the Carter family back for this type of recognition alone. The story here however revolves around two things: 1) this Pharrell produced record is undeniably thus far the song of the summer, and 2) inexplicably everything other than Jay’s verse was written by Migos, and that includes Beyonce’s hook AND her verses, which legitimately were penned by none other than Offset and Quavo. An interesting (and on paper somewhat unnecessary) collaboration that works way better than expected, and ultimately what’s clear is that Beyonce has a much better voice (and for that matter is a much better rapper) than all three of the Migos brothers combined. Beyonce & Jay FLEX 💪💪💪 all over this record complete with the groundbreaking music video that somehow was filmed in The Louvre, yes that’s the real Mona Lisa watching 21st century art at its finest
THE CARTERS - SUMMER
“Let's make love in the summertime, yeah, on the sands, beach sands, make plans, to be in each other's arms” Produced by Cool & Dre the opening track off Everything Is Love is likely the new theme song for everyone’s Summer ‘18, and ultimately this timeless record will be perfect for every summer, minus the fact that Beyonce bodied her husband on this record who himself doesn’t put up much of a fight. Certainly not the best Hov verse on the project but even still he compliments the record well, and overall this sets the tone for what might be the best album of the year in any genre period.
THE CARTERS - BOSS
“Toes in the sand, momma gettin fat (snacks)” Beyonce takes this D Mile production and murders it unquestionably, although for some reason the ‘bum whores’ lyric is cringeworthy and out of place. All the same this one is definitely a vibe and another potential theme song of the summer.
THE CARTERS - NICE
“I ain't never seen a ceiling in my whole life (uh-uh), that's word to Blue freestyling live (freestyling live), Blueprint from my Jigga who never writes” Likely one of the more polarizing records on the tape is produced by Pharrell who happens to also have the only guest verse on the album, yet this is all about the Beyonce ‘freestyle’ verse that pays homage to her daughter Blue’s infamous ‘freestyle’ record off 4:44 (the deluxe version), that along with an always on time Half Baked reference was well played and I’m not mad at this record at all.
THE CARTERS - 713
“I never knew a lo-, lo-, lo-, love like this, gotta be special for me to write this” Ah mannn Jay Z has always been as clever and shrewd as they come, and after all these years he’s finally ‘rapping like Common Sense’ and nevermind that he borrows lyrics and flows (I say a Big verse I’m only bigging up my brother) this was incredibly well played and all over a sample of the Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg classic??? This record has just about everything but let’s not forget this isn’t even the first time Hov went out of his way to sample Dre, a supposed sign of respect to one of the legends of Hip Hop’s ‘Golden Era’.
THE CARTERS - HEARD ABOUT US
“Your every move is on the news, ain't it? Shit has its perks too, ain't it? Shootin videos in the Louvre, ain't it? It could be far worse for you, can't it?” One of my favorite Jay verses on the tape and this reminds me of his Kingdom Come ‘Hollywood’ flow that also just so happens to feature Beyonce, one of their sleeper collaborations that was better than it was initially received (as was that entire album). The one thing I could do without on this is that Beyonce bridge or post-chorus that once again is a lil too over the top (she’s the Queen but she does too much sometimes), yet overall this !llmind, Vinylz, Boi-1da, Jahaan Sweet production is a smooth ride that compliments the album well.
THE CARTERS - LOVE HAPPY
“Y'all know how I met her, we broke up and got back together, to get her back, I had to sweat her” Jay samples Common yet again and this one perfectly captures all their relationship drama over the last few years (which on their end never felt forced yet instead was well played artistically), and even if this David Andrew production won’t bring any closure to the TMZ headlines (it won’t), it definitely provided a timeless conclusion to a masterful body of work
Nas ft Puff Daddy - Not For Radio
“To Catholics, Moors and Masons (motherfuckers!), John Hanson was not the first black Pres to make it, Abe Lincoln did not free the enslaved, progress was made cause we forced the proclamation (fuck your proclamation!)” Strong words from the legendary Nasir Jones as well as the infamous Sean Combs in the ad-libs, this isn’t close to the level of Hate Me Now but even still it’s the best full record on the project, that overall was ruined by Kanye’s influence in more ways than one. Literally, Kanye’s vocals and production are all over the place and to think people used to beg for this collaboration, although to be fair their track record together did provide some timeless moments in Hip Hop. Yet if we’re being honest those records were all from many years ago, and since then MAGA Kanye has not only become a Kardashian but an Internet Troll of the worst kind. Sure enough, Kanye’s vocals AND production took away from almost all of Nas’s appeal and signature sound, yet at least this particular record still has the Queens legend dropping jewels in spite of it.
Nas - Simple Things
“I'm looking in Longevity's eyes, I play with Infinity's mind, Forever's my guy” The best of Kanye’s production along with Mike Dean is on the outro of this tape, yet at only 7 tracks long this is without question the least memorable Nas project in his entire discography (and yes that includes I Am…, Nastradamus, etc.). Any critical acclaim this album receives is clearly for hypebeast purposes only and should not be taken seriously, let us not disrespect this man’s legacy any further.
Nicki Minaj ft Ariana Grande - Bed
“Got a bed with your name on it, with your name on it, got a kiss with your name on it, with your name on it” The frequent collaborators come correct on the second single off Nicki Minaj’s upcoming album Queen, and although this is somewhat mid it’s definitely better than those previous Chun Li records.
Jacquees - 23
“I'm just a single man (yeah), that's where I wanna be, don't need no relationship (nah), not when I'm 23” Co-written by Donnell Jones this is easily the standout record off Jacquees debut studio album 4275, that otherwise does not play as an enjoyable listen at all, which is very surprising considering the quality of his last release (an EP released overseas just last month) as well as the undeniable talent that over the years Jacquees has garnered himself a name for. Nonetheless, this record is definitely a surefire heater and I’m just wondering where the rest of this was throughout the rest of the 18 tracks on the album.
Jacquees ft Jagged Edge - Special
“I should give you all that you need, you've been more than special to me” Aside from the previous singles and the track profiled above it is this outro that provides the most memorable moment on the tape, which just so happens to feature the ATL legendary crooners in Jagged Edge whose voices continue to never disappoint.
Mike Shinoda - Over Again
“Sometimes, sometimes you don't say goodbye once, you say goodbye over and over and over again” A tribute record to former Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington who unfortunately is no longer with us, this record appropriately has a lot of emotion attached to it and is one of the standouts on Shinoda’s first solo album entitled Post Traumatic.
Mobb Deep - Boom Goes The Cannon…
“Courtesy of projects houses, and though you not here you looking down at me smiling, we took a oath to keep the name afloat, we Infamous forever, homie, the ultimate G.O.A.T.S” Apparently Lin Manuel has been releasing music every month somehow loosely associated with his Broadway blockbuster Hamilton, and this is the latest record from none other than the legendary Mobb Deep, whom along with the Notorious B.I.G. are probably the most referenced throughout Hamilton itself. Of course, we’re also one year removed from the sudden and tragic passing of Prodigy last summer, yet this track effectively incorporates his unused vocals along with a new Havoc verse that makes the record complete. RIP once more to one of the greatest spitters of the Golden Age.