Clipse, "Fast Life" — So it's official: This hyper-articulate Virginia crack-rap duo can flow sick over non-Neptunes beats. It must be said, though, that Scott Storch's stuttering-synth track is, like, expert counterfeit 2002 Neptunes or something — to the extent that it took more than a few spins for Clipse's metaphors to draw blood.
Drakkar Sauna, "The Weapon of Prayer" — The Louvin Brothers songs Kansas's Drakkar Sauna dug up for its Wars and Tornadoes covers album are hokey mid-1900s populist dreck. But "Weapon" — message: you can't fight the enemy, but you can pray for those who do — resonates in this era as much as it did back during WWII. Better this than the Fugs' "Kill for Peace," anyway.
Flo Rida featuring will.i.am, "In the Ayer" — As it happens, Mr. Ayer is not a friend or associate of the performer or his august guest star. Rather, Mr. Ayer is a stockbroker and Phil Collins fanclub president from Detroit who won a BET-sponsored contest in which...oh, okay, I'll quit while I'm ahead.
Grupo Fantasma featuring Maceo Parker, "Gimmie Some" — This is like a generous slice of heaven with a cherry and whipped cream on top, seriously. A frenetic mash-smash of Latin genre staples? And Maceo wilding out on his horn? Fucking-A right!
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Negativland, "Virginia's Trip" — How would these art-fringe copyright daredevils react if I said this shredded-tone sploosh kinda reminds me of the Butthole Surfers' "Pepper"? You know, the song where those nonconformist misfits played the Beck card and actually made it onto alt-rock playlists?