Welcome back to another Hot Rap Songs Review. Let’s get started.
Thrift Shop-Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft Wanz: Remember when Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were a thing? Those were some good days. When they first became famous, they were unique: an independent duo making off-kilter, but mainstream-friendly music that didn’t follow some of the same conventions as most rap music. The stage was set for them to blow up and then came Thrift Shop, the number one song of 2013. It’s a song about buying clothes at a thrift store, which is a huge subversion of the trope of buying designer brand clothing that a lot of rappers talk about in their music. Macklemore is a really good rapper, even if there are instances where he doesn’t rhyme anything and he started the song with this.
Walk up to the club like, “What up? I got a big cock!”
Don’t worry, it gets better from there. The beat Ryan Lewis provided is very quirky and matches the bars and Wanz was dope as well. It’s a silly song, but it’s unique and has a lot of good qualities to it. I give it an A.
Can’t Hold Us-Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft Ray Dalton: As good as Thrift Shop was, it wasn’t my favorite Macklemore & Ryan Lewis song. No, this is. How can I not like Can’t Hold Us? Ryan Lewis brought the heat with a stomping beat combined with that driving piano and those soulful horns. This shit is legit hype. It also features one of Macklemore’s best lyrical performances as he just kills it with. When I first heard Ray Dalton, I thought that was John Legend. They both sound the same. Still, I really enjoyed Can’t Hold Us and it’s sad that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis doesn’t have that same magic anymore, especially Macklemore when he released that wack ass Gemini album. I’m gonna give this song an A.
Holy Grail-Jay Z ft Justin Timberlake: So Magna Carta Holy Grail happened. Not many people talked about that album. I reviewed it a long time ago and going back to that album, in spite of a few songs, it hasn’t held up well. It wasn’t Jay Z at his best. I believe that the weaknesses of that project are exemplified in Holy Grail. I used to like this song until I listened to it further and noticed issues. I like the production and how epic it sounds, but then you look at the lyrics and it’s just Jay Z and Justin Timberlake whining about being famous and it’s just not appealing at all. Plus, the intro was way too long as is the entire song, Jay Z sounds uninspired, and there’s a random, straight-out-of-nowhere interpolation of Smells Like Teen Spirit. It’s not a good song. I give it a D.
Bezerk-Eminem: 2013 just seems like the year of white guys, huh? Anyways, when Eminem announced that his newest album in 2013 is gonna be The Marshall Mathers LP 2, there was feelings of both excitement and concern. Making a sequel to a magnum opus like The Marshall Mathers LP could result in a disaster. Fortunately, I can safely say that MMLP2 was a good album in spite of some major problems. I think Berzerk is a good taste of what to expect from the album. Rick Rubin handles the production, which heavily samples The Stroke by Billy Squier. Eminem is in full Slim Shady mode as he mentions a bunch of celebrities (including Kevin Federline for some reason) and it’s like Slim Shady never left. Even with that, I’m not a fan of the hook and the mixing is a bit off. Those things prevent this song from being great, but I still like it in spite of its flaws. I give it a B.
Rap God-Eminem: It’s amazing how 5 years can change one’s perspective. When I first heard Rap God, I thought it was the greatest thing since slice bread. Time passes by and now, I still think the song is dope, but not as great as I thought it was. It’s 6 minutes of Eminem rapping his ass off to this minimal electronic beat and that made the song dope for me. There’s even a part of the song where he’s rapping really fast and it was impressive. But this song has issues. Some of the bars don’t really connect…
They're asking me to eliminate some of the women hate
But if you take into consideration the bitter hatred I had
Then you may be a little patient and more sympathetic to the situation
And understand the discrimination
…, there’s some dated references…
And I just bought a new ray gun from the future
Just to come and shoot ya
Like when Fabolous made Ray J mad
'Cause Fab said he looked like a fag
At Mayweather's pad singin' to a man
While he played piano
Man, oh man, that was a 24/7 special
On the cable channel
So Ray J went straight to the radio station the very next day
"Hey, Fab, I'mma kill you"
…, and let’s not forget the casual homophobia.
I'll still be able to break a motherfuckin' table
Over the back of a couple of faggots and crack it in half
You fags think it's all a game
'Til I walk a flock of flames
Off a plank and
Tell me what in the fuck are you thinking?
Little gay-looking boy
So gay I can barely say it with a 'straight' face, looking boy
You're witnessing a mass-occur like you're watching a church gathering take place, looking boy
Oy vey, that boy's gay
That's all they say, looking boy
Yyyyyyyyyyyeah. That hasn’t aged well. And his excuses for using the F word were weak. Overall, Rap God isn’t as divine as I thought it was, so I’m giving it a low B.
The Monster-Eminem ft Rihanna: When I saw the tracklist to MMLP2, I got concerned when I saw some of the features. Eminem doing another song with Rihanna? I thought we weren’t getting another Recovery. What the fuck is this? Anyways, how is The Monster? Well, it’s still pretty average. The production is really stale and obviously going for a pop audience and Rihanna sounded fine. Eminem was also okay, even if he is just whining about fame. Fun fact: Bebe Rexha wrote this song and contributed vocals. You hear that whu-oh, whu-oh part at the end of the chorus? That’s her. Yeah. The song isn’t bad, but considering that we are talking about Eminem, it’s a letdown. I give it a C.
Can’t Hold Us
And those were the number one songs on the Hot Rap Songs chart of 2013. And this is where our journey ends. I could keep going, but I don’t see the point as I’ve already talked about those songs and my opinions on them haven’t changed for the most part (except for Timber, I think that song is okay). But this was fun, going through 24 years of hip-hop history and seeing a chunk of what was popular at the time. I might do another series like this next year, but looking at a different chart. Yeah, that’s what I’m gonna do. Starting in March of 2019, I’m going to be looking at the Hot R&B Singles of the 90s.