Rap music took a bigger place in my world of music this year than during many other years. I saw Talib Kweli, who I have long admired for his amazing flow and his guest appearance on my favorite Kanye West track Get Em’ High, rap his way through a nice Way Out West set together with Hi-Tek.
The biggest new name for me in 2010 was without a doubt Drake. After releasing his 2009 mixtape So Far Gone, where he samples both Peter Bjorn & John’s Let’s Call it Off and Lykke Li’s Little Bit, he released his first proper full length debut in 2010 with Thank Me Later. I’ve struggled to pin point what it is that makes Drake so good, except for his indisputable skills both as a raspy rapper and as a soul full RNB singer. One appealing thig with Drake is his self-depreciating side, he doesn’t mind taking swings at himself, as in The Resistance where he raps about the disillusionment of fame:
‘I heard they just moved my grandmother to a nursing home.
And I be acting like I don’t know how to work a phone.
But hit redial you see that I just called, some chick I met at the mall,
that I barley know at all and..
Plus this woman that I messed with unprotected
Texting saying that she wish she would’ve kept it.
The one that I’m laying next to just looked over and read it.
Man I couldn’t tell you where the fuck my head is, I’m holding on by a thread it’s..
Like I’m high right now, the guy right now, and you can tell by looking in my eyes right now.
That nothing really comes as a surprise right now,
’cause we just having the time of our lives right now.
Even though his lyrics are no masterpieces he always delivers a sincere attitude which is refreshing, and with beats that almost always deliver the groundwork is made in songs like Miss Me, where Drake and Lil Wayne battle it out in five minute banger that manages to both be party and romantic longing in one. In Shut It Down Drake and The Dream goes on some serious RNB style ‘I love woman praising’ and I buy it all, even the overblown chorus.
In Over he goes grand with marching drums and strings as he if is the new Kanye West while Kareoke shows of his smooth voice as he worries about a girlfriend he has lost. Drake gets away with everything on Thank Me Later and his blend of pop, rnb and rap has not been done this brilliantly since Justin Timberlakes’ 2006 masterpiece FutureSex/ Lovesounds.
Other impossibly amazing rap musicians included Black Milk (Black and Brown with the early Amsterdam reference and relentless tempo an outstanding example), Jay Electronica (who I wrote about in this remembering Spain post) and J. Cole who is signed to Jay-Z’s label (where Jay Electronica is also present) and who has made the best songs about morning sex ever together with Drake.