I know that Kendrick wasn't the first rapper this year to repurpose an old Tupac interview to great effect—that would be Raz Simone, on the song "Drake & Macklemore's Platform." Raz, not letting up on his prolific push for 2015, recently bounced right back with "That Ain't Love," a catchy new single featuring assists from Tacoma's Leezy (no more Soprano) and no less a personage than GOOD Music's coke-rap Clipse alumnus Pusha T. While Leezy comes with a star-making verse, Push honestly comes half-power—while Raz drops bows from the jump, declaring that "Sir Mix-A-Lot never did shit for me" (a phrase that could basically be on the state flag at this point) and that Seattle is too concerned with being politically correct. Yeah, we're like that. That said, Raz is hanging with big-league product without breaking much of a sweat—and he's only getting colder. You should be interested in watching what this guy does this year.
Keeping with this delightful wave of great new records sneakily dropped out of nowhere, Earl Sweatshirt just gave the world the 10-track, 30-minute album I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside—a cross-generational rallying cry if I ever heard one. It appears that 2015 Earl is even more preternaturally pissed-off and alienated than before, but he hasn't lost a lick when it comes to the vivid wordplay. I can't front and say I was on it from the gate—maybe it's the diet-bass, washed-out SoundCloud wallpaper passing for production, or just the sound of young'uns being way too grouchy for their age—but this release left me pretty cold at first. On the second pass, I was hooked. Don't Go Outside is a subtle mood piece that further cements Earl as not just the Odd Future torchbearer, but one of the primary pantheon of young rappers we're blessed to be privy to in this year of our lord.
Future is continuing his own prolific streak this year with his latest tape, 56 Nights, his strongest work since 2014's LP Honest. If you love modern ATL rap's alchemy of a brutally limited sonic palette of sounds (trap drums, synth lines, the clinking of jewelry in the booth) and subject matter (drugs, money, your bitch) with no-ceilings extraterrestrial vocal experimentation, then you probably already downloaded and turnt-north to this. "All that old shit y'all niggas still doing, dog, I'm over it."
If that last graph gives you hives, you will almost certainly want to see the Chocolate Boy Wonder Pete Rock (to be heard scratching and going "Two step!" on Kendrick's "Complexion (A Zulu Love)") and Detroit survivors Slum Village touch down at Neumos on Wednesday, April 1, with PDX native/NYC conquistador Hanif, Mic Flont with the X Presidents (aka certified spitter Ka.Lil's newest project since relocating to Vancouver), and the OTOW collective. Or, keep your weed socks clean for Action Bronson and Alchemist at the Neptune on Friday, April 3. I want you to be happy.