Last week’s prediction: Non-white. After this, you can bet on that.
Weird–real rap takes its turn on the iTunes free single carousel. Jay Rock is the reigning West Coast hope not named Nipsey Hussle: Blood instead of Crip, Watts instead of Compton/Crenshaw, direct instead of lyrical. A halfway Game protégé, Rock has the same gruff, no frills delivery: Buy him expensive production (Cool & Dre, here) and some decent features and let his totally undistracting presence fill in the gaps. Last year’s “Lift Me Up,” with its creeping, post-Dre slow-ride trunk-rattle, was pretty much the ideal for a rapper like Jay Rock, who can’t quite help being boring when placed front and center.
Hopeful first single “All My Life in the Ghetto” goes the “Hate It or Love It” route instead–aspirations written all over the weird cliché mash-up that is the title here. Same mish-mash collection of childhood details, sped-up soul anthem string-assisted beat, and high-profile rapper to trade bars with. Wayne takes the 50 Cent role here, lending Jay Rock an inkling of a personality and some forward momentum. But it sure is hard to engineer your way out of a cliché when your whole approach is basically to cynically treat it like one.
Next week’s prediction: Josh Schwartz co-sign