“Touch That Ass”
From Rich Boy(Interscope)
It can’t touch the candy-paint sunrise of “Throw Some D’s” or the don’t-make-me-put-down-this-drink stomp of “Boy Looka Here,” but track eight on Rich Boy’s (just OK enough) debut is Polow da Don’s sickest beat of the year. Though Rich’s cheek-checkin’ rhymes are creepy (summary: I won’t mind spending money if you allow me to touch your body), Polow constructs addictive bubblefunk out of the most skeletal of pieces: an 808 boom, a shuffling conga, a rattle that sounds like a spirited shake of a Krylon can. Like Young Gunz’ “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop,” it’s a minimal beat with aggro exclamation points, just slinking along until—BAH BAH BAH! BAH BAH BAH!—halftime brass left over from Fergie’s “London Bridge” crashes the party, skeets on the track, breaks the stereo, and leaves too soon. Polow’s ADD makes the rest a joy: ascending Kraftwerk twerk, a well-timed gunshot, some whinnies and whines, dubby pole-dancer blips, and an ominous/triumphant chorus like Tony Iommi playing the tuba.
8Ball & MJG
From Ridin High (Bad Boy)
A divinely deceptive title—it’s not “Get Low” as in “To the window, to the walls,” but “Get
Low” as in “Oh shit, they’re shooting!” 8ball describes a club gunfight in slo-mo, capturing all the terror and anger and grief and wrath of a split-second event: watching the cushy V.I.P.’s trample each other, anxiously searching for his missing friend, planning his escape, wishing he would have just stayed at home instead, hoping he doesn’t have to use a gun himself, but knowing he’ll do anything to get away. The song itself—track 18 on their seventh album—is club-ready, as though these Southern vets absorbed a little bit of bossman Diddy’s jet-setting fascination with contemporary dance. Or maybe producer Shondrae “Mr. Bangladesh” Crawford (the guy behind Kelis’s “Bossy”) is just an omnivorous genius whose crunktronics would sound equally at home on a DJ Drama mix tape or a Ghostly International comp.
Lil’ Flip ft. Robin Andre
“Find My Way”
From I Need Mine $$ (Asylum/Warner Bros.)
Stashed somewhere amid 36 other tracks on a samey, unnecessarily double CD, neo-soul polyglot Robin Andre strums and croons a countrified hook that’s a weird mix of Tim McGraw, Wyclef Jean, and Seven Mary Three’s “Cumbersome.” There’s dusty roads, a wayward soul, and an acoustic guitar mic’d as hot as the Houston sun while a dude who was raised in Newark and lives in Fort Greene sings convincingly about going home to Texas. Meanwhile, Lil’ Flip expresses doubts about his dual role as underground legend and pop star—”When you listen to my music/Do you feel my shit?” he asks, suggesting he’s not so sure of the answer.