Here's a way to say some new rap music is good without talking directly about it:
There are a few different categories that emails from rappers/friends of rappers pretending to be publicists/publicists are separated into. As it is:
Category 1: Yeah Fucking Right
Reserved for aggressive spammers, Nigerian princes (hot in the rap game, apparently) and the collection of anonymous dissenters I've picked up during my tenure at HP. The only time these are opened is to respond with something that either makes zero sense ("Did you get that milk yet?") or Pimp C lyrics ("Pimp C, bitch. So what the fuck is up?," mostly). There is a two percent chance these get opened.
Category 2: Open These When You're Done Looking at The Rest of the Internet
Reserved for rappers that say that they rap but really they just say words that rhyme and then tell everyone on Twitter that they GOT THAT NEW HOT SHIT!!!! GAME CHANGER!!!! REAL RAP!!!! Gross. These will probably get opened eventually, but only after every other option has been exhausted.
Category 3: Whatever
Reserved for rappers that have historically been classified as either "middling" or "uninspired." Purgatory, really. These will get opened for sure by the end of the week, the there will be zero anticipation.
Sixty percent of the time they'll suck, 20 percent of the time they'll be good but forgettable, 18 percent of the time they'll be legitimately good and two percent of the time they'll be great, in which case they get bumped up to the next category until they make something bad.
Category 4: Now We're Talking
Reserved for guys who are generally good and, more importantly, have shown they're more than capable of being very strong. These get opened for sure by the end of the day.
Category 5: YES
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TOP TIER SHIT. Reserved for guys that make interesting, brave music. You can't just be PLACED here, you have to earn it. (You need at least one really great tape to even be considered.) It's not often that you hear from these guys. These are the ones that, when they email, you stop whatever you're doing, tell everyone that's around you to shut the fuck up for the next four minutes, then play the song immediately.
Houston's ultra-cool foursome The Niceguys have been in there since 2010's The Show. And Dustin-Prestige earned his way in earlier this year with Plaid. Which is why when over the course of just a handful of hours music from both arrived, everything else for the day became irrelevant and stupid.
Prestige, recently named one of the top five underground rappers in Houston by MTV, released the video for "I'm Cold," the chillbro (eh, eh? get it?) standout from Plaid. In it, director Ronnie West places Prestige, Blaze Burna (his work delivering the chorus remains an unheralded moment of radiance) and Dallas's B. Hardy in front of a wall, puts a spotlight on them, lays a few sheets of color over it, then lets them walk it into FUN TO WATCH.
I've seen three videos from West (he also directed Prestige's very excellent "I Am Legend" and Hollywood Floss's "What They Waiting On") and each has been smart and well shot. Add his name to core of local videographers worth watching.
Perhaps even more exciting though is the track offered up by long time giant killers, The Niceguys. After a too-long bit of a radio silence, they released "Magick," a positively bizarre, unstructured, schizophrenic assault of cool.
Yves, who has basically become a human version of a hightop fade, perambulates around the haziness, darting in and out of punchlines and metaphors and analogies and turns-of-phrases, sounding positively insane and absolutely dazzling.
If this is an inclination of the boldness and creativity that they've packaged for September's James Kelley tape, then they've just leapfrogged everyone to the top of the Who's Tape Are You Most Excited About Hearing? conversation.
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Listen to "Magick." Be impressed. Smash your iPod on the floor. Then buy a new one, upload "Magick" onto it, then smash that one on the floor too. Fuck your iPod.