(The following selections are taken from Billboard’s top ten songs on the Rap Chart for the week ending in August 24. Click song titles to hear the selection.)
1. “Holy Grail” — Jay Z (Featuring Justin Timberlake)
Representative Line: “And we all just entertainers / And we’re stupid courageous / We all just entertainers”
Shame on you guys for not giving Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z some credit for all they sacrifice to give you. Seriously. Jay-Z has psychos in his lobby! AND paparazzi taking photographs of him! JT has a “blade” in his heart and his craft takes “the very breath from his lungs!” You guys, Justin Timberlake is so talented it is going to kill him! SOMEBODY SAVE JAY-Z AND JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE BEFORE THEY GIVE US TOO MUCH AND DIE!
2. “Same Love” — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (Featuring Mary Lambert)
Representative Line: “We press play / Don’t press pause / Progress, march on!”
Even if you don’t know much rap, you probably know Macklemore. They’ve been on Saturday Night Live. Their music is all over television commercials. The sixty year-old receptionist at your office probably thinks “Thrift Shop” is cute. And now they have the same-sex love anthem of the summer. “Same Love” opens with Macklemore thinking he used to think he was gay because he could draw and he kept his room straight, but he was conflicted because he was good at little league. That’s not generalizing at all in a same-sex love anthem, is it? Anyway, it’s a nice song, and it means well. Also: trombone interlude. Not enough trombones in rap.
3. “Can’t Hold Us” — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (Featuring Ray Dalton)
Representative Line: “Somewhere between like Rocky and Cosby / Sweater game nope nope y’all can’t copy”
You have to hand it to Macklemore: it’s a pretty ballsy move to write a song for your debut album thanking everyone for making another one of your songs a gigantic hit and making your life so awesome, even though at the time you wrote the song no one had even heard any of the album. Yet that’s exactly what Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have done. They were so certain they’d be smash hits that they were already presuming that ceilings couldn’t hold them. The power of positive thinking, folks. The power of positive thinking.
4. “Thrift Shop” — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (Featuring Wanz)
Representative Line: “They had a broken keyboard, I bought a broken keyboard / I bought a down blanket, then I bought a kneeboard”
What? You want more Macklemore and Ryan Lewis? Okay, whatever. “Thrift Shop,” which is inexplicably number 4 on the Billboard Rap Chart this week even though it released in 2012 means that people either really like this song or they’re just getting around to buying that single on iTunes. Either way, Macklemore would like to thank you for your patronage and direct you to the song “Can’t Hold Us” for more on that subject.
5. “Gas Pedal” — Sage the Gemini (Featuring IamSu)
Representative Line: “She got a booty so big it’s like a ferris wheel”
I don’t know about this Sage the Gemini fellow. He seems almost unhealthily self-confident. And he doesn’t seem to care much for others or their feelings. Or the feelings of women. For instance: ladies, according to these lyrics he is going to tell you he will get you a record deal if you do certain things but this is not true. I know because I listened to this song already. On the other hand, if you’re looking for the easiest line dance in history, “Gas Pedal” has spawned it. Enjoy.
6. “Power Trip” — J. Cole (Featuring Miguel)
Representative Line: “Would you believe me if I said I’m in love? / Baby, I want you to want me”
You know what sucks? When you become a famous rapper and then you still like this girl you grew up with but she doesn’t like you even though you spent all this time getting famous just so she’d notice you. Man, poor J. Cole. It’s like, c’mon, I’m like the super-famousest guy you know, boo, and you still want to get with some normal guy? Even Miguel joins in for a chorus to echo how wack that is. I hope things turn around for you, my young friend, and that she realizes you have more money than her current boyfriend. In the meantime, J. Cole, congratulations on being like the rich guy from an eighties movie trying to steal a regular guy’s girlfriend.
7. “Don’t Drop that Thun Thun!” — The FinATTiCZ
Representative line: “Hoopa, hoova / King Koopa / I’m the sh*t / Poopa Scoopa”
Oh, you FinATTiCZ. I sure don’t understand the random capitalizations in your name, but I’m picking up what you’re laying down here — that not only are you hopped up on goofballs, but you’re drunk too and you’re going to steal my woman. “Thun Thun,” of course, is another nickname for MDMA, and also the FinATTiCZ are listening to “thun thun” music, which is confusing. Also, the chorus of the song just repeats “Don’t Drop the Thun Thun” ten times in a row, occasionally with an “aaay” added in. These are good times, people. Good times. Especially, I guess, when you’re all weirded up on MDMA.
8. “U.O.E.N.O.” — Rocko (Featuring Future & Rick Ross)
Representative Line: “I’m plugged in like the refrigerator / I’m plugged in, ho, you know it.”
In the very slim offchance that you are not aware what U.O.E.N.O. stands for, it’s a phonetic, vowels-only way of saying “You Don’t Even Know.” Like this: “you-oh-een-oh.” Because, as we’re all aware, actually saying “You Don’t Even Know” is taking valuable minutes away from our lives every day. Rap Slang! Now without consonants! “U.O.E.N.O.” features the bragging of a person named Rocko and his friend, the famous Rick Ross, about the things they own that you don’t even know, like thousand-dollar pairs of shoes and Atlanta Hawks floor tickets (actual price: $17.59). He’s right, I didn’t even know about them. Or, I should say, I didn’t E.N.O.
9. “Bad” — Wale (Featuring Rihanna or Tiara Thomas)
Representative Line: “Monogamy or whatever you call it / I’m starting to think it ain’t for everybody”
Finally, Wale is shattering the lonstanding and traditional notions that hip hop artists are expected to settle down with one woman and have children. Wale (not to be confused with lovable Disney robot Wall-E) likes his ladies a little skankier — as he says, “I don’t need emotions to open your deep sea.” That’s very poetic and beautiful until you get to Wale’s next line: “I conceive an ocean by going between legs.” I’m glad Rihanna’s hooking up with a higher caliber of guy these days. Or perhaps she just likes his sexy nautical references. You can take the girl out of Barbados, but you can’t take Barbados out of the girl. Also, the aforementioned lines are how I met the woman who is now my wife.
10. “Crooked Smile” — J. Cole (Featuring TLC)
Representative Line: “We ain’t picture perfect but we worth the picture still / I got smart, I got rich and I got my b**ches still / And they all look like my eyebrows: thick as hell”
It should be noted, for those of you who aren’t J. Cole experts like I am now, that J. Cole does indeed have a crooked smile; in fact, he was recently on Complex Magazine’s list of “11 Rappers With Bad Teeth” (you’re on alert from Complex Magazine too, Lil’ Scrappy, whoever you are!). Cole’s sensitivity and attunement to lady problems is on full display (“With all the pressure to look impressive and go out in high heels / I feel for you”), and backup from T-Boz and Chili from TLC signifies that Cole is no scrub, because we all know TLC doesn’t put up with that kind of nonsense. U.O.E.N.O., fellas. U.O.E.N.O.