Rappers and their names often have a connotation that is connected to them. Allow me to give examples:
If I said something about 2 Chainz, you're automatically (almost unconsciously) saying "2 Chainz!!" in your best voice that resembles his that you can. If you're saying you're not, you're lying.
Jadakiss inspires you to do that weird little laugh as much as me saying Rick Ross makes you want to grunt. In much the same way Southern rappers T.I. and Ludacris make you inclined to say things like, "It's the King, bitch!!" and "Luda!!", respectively.
With that being said, I draw your attention to DJ Drama. Right now (if you're familiar with him, of course) you're probably thinking about Gangsta Grillz, Don Cannon, and his calling himself Mr. Thanksgiving.
Despite my love for the Gangsta Grillz mixtapes and album, I looked past his last album Third Power. It was through no fault of Drama's. I just really wasn't caught by the album particularly. But my love for him as a DJ and an artist made me look carefully at his latest album Quality Street Music.
This album is a consistent slam dunk as far as rhymes, features, and music go. For fifteen tracks I was lost in the music. Each was amazing to listen to for its own different reasons.
Here are the favorites:
1. "We In This Bitch"-I'm not sure why Future is so catchy on a hook but he is. Despite sometimes being unintelligible, he does this song great justice. By nature of the features this is a Southerners only party. Here are the featured artists: Future, Young Jeezy, T.I., and Ludacris. Each rapper brings that style that have made them household names many times over. And let's not even get started on the beat which is, no lie, an epic sound for any set of eardrums.
2. "Never Die"-This is the obligatory track about death and loss. Cee Lo Green serves well on the hook, his eclectic sound finding a home amid the verses of Young Jeezy, Nipsey Hussle, and Jadakiss. With each verse you feel their heart on every sound and every syllable. They bring you vivid pictures of hoods of the South, New York, and California. Great storytelling on this one.
3. "We In This Bitch 1.5"-This is a remix of sorts for "We In This Bitch" but stripped down. Future still does hook duty but plays off of Drake, an artist who is often slept on but delivers great verses in my opinion. Future contributes a verse this time around. In theory Drake and Future shouldn't make a good track together but damned if it doesn't work too well to be believed.
4. "Same Ol' Story"- This one is a bit more laid back. On this one you have Childish Gambino, Corey Gunz, Kid Ink, ScHoolboy Q. These four rappers do something great here but it's not forced. It's done in such a way that you appreciate the verses without being overly offended by the content presented.
5. "Monique's Room"-I feel bad that I like this song as much as I do. Remo The Hitmaker sings the hook here, a hook so well sung and ruthless that it puts me in mind of John Legend's ability to sing anything and make it sound amazing. The hook reads thusly: I don't give a fuck about you anymore/Anymore/I don't give a fuck about you anymore/Anymore/Oh yeah. It's a break-up song but with an angry edge that is amazing. Fred The Godson raps about hurting someone who hurt him deeply. The hook seems to reaffirm what it is Fred is feeling. This comes together to make a cold hearted and well written track.
DJ Drama didn't lie when he titled this one. This is quality street music. Enjoy it.
Lucius Black for Royalty Magazine