The best records I’ve discovered in the past month — new or old, doesn’t matter, though both of this month’s are new.
In the past 30 days, Lil Wayne has dropped a pair of mixtapes in his Dedication series, Dedication 6 and D6: Reloaded, with 35 tracks across them. As you might expect, there’s plenty of dross — and his continued insistence on pushing C-level folks like Gudda Gudda is frustrating and occasionally baffling — but there’s also reminders of why 10 years ago, Weezy was largely considered the best in the game, no argument. His Young Money lieutenants each appear once, Nicki Minaj on a new take on “Rockstar,” while Drake teams up with his mentor to freestyle over Jay-Z’s “Family Feud” beat. No I.D.’s track for “Family Feud” was blazing to begin with — that loop from the Clark Sisters’ “Ha Ya” is fire — and both Drizzy and Wayne acquit themselves beautifully here. Drake provides a handy reminder that, no matter how much he mumbles or sorta-sings, he’s a rapper at heart — and is capable of being a damned great one — and Wayne just lets his words trip off his tongue like he did at his mid-’00s peak, going ham all over the track. This is the most vital single (or “single” if you prefer) I’ve heard in months.
I’m 47. I own that this makes me thoroughly middle-aged. And I’m at the point now where I’m starting to “age out” of some musics, hip-hop kinda at the top of the list, particularly because I don’t really care at all for trap. I’m old-school when it comes to most hip-hop, and my interest in it tends to die around 5 years ago, generally speaking. So this throwback jam from Trick Daddy (who I once Pazzed!) and Trina along with a newer rapper, Mike Smiff, hits all my buttons. It’s based around a loop from Meli’sa Morgan’s 1986 superjam “Fool’s Paradise” (#24 R&B), so right there, I’m inclined towards it. (Said song is also interpolated on Jay-Z’s breakthrough single “Can’t Knock the Hustle.”) But weirdly — and delightfully — they twist it up. The song is a paean to their home of Miami back in the day, which they call “Paradise” — but the song says “Paradise/You better think twice/’Cause it’s not very nice.” Talk about mixed messages! That said, I love confusing, mixed musical messages, so I’m down all the way. It’s also, frankly, just nice to hear Trick Daddy and Trina back from wherever they’ve been; their voices have been missed (by me at least).