Well, there is no law in the DJBooth constitution that says "The 1 Song You Need to Hear This Week" column has to drop on a Monday; I checked. So although it's a day "late," that doesn't mean we have to skip it. In fact, considering recent, Kendrick-related events, I'd go so far as to say this song deserves your attention even more today than yesterday. But what is this mystery song that transcends time? Big Pooh's "Stop."
Everyone wants to talk about what Kanye did on Sunday evening, but nobody seems to be mentioning what Prince said right before. It's not just the GRAMMYs either. While Ferguson and police brutality once dominated discussion, the media, and as an extension mainstream America, has largely moved on. So, with that in mind it's great to see artists like Pooh remaining focused on the issue. It's not a bad thing to put out a tribute track right after an event happens, but the ones who really care are those who are willing to speak on the issues when the hashtags stop trending.
At this point though, we should expect nothing less from Big Pooh. For those who may not know just who this cat is, I strongly urge you to do some homework. Pooh is a legend. Period. You won't find many emcees who have been in the game as long as he has. For nearly two decades Pooh has produced nothing but quality cuts; either solo or as a part of Little Brother. This man deserves all of your respect, admiration and then some. Even if you have never heard a "Playing To Lose" (BANGER!!!!) or "I See Now," Pooh comes across as a guy who was born to rock the mic. You don't need a degree in hip-hop to feel his passion, energy and that unmistakable, razor-sharp flow. He is the complete package and on "Stop" he proves it.
What stands out most to me about "Stop" is Pooh's understated power. He never raises his voice, never breaks cadence, never even swears, and yet he commands your attention and leaves you with a heavy feeling in your chest. It's partly due to his stalwart flow, but honestly, I think it has more to do with the content. I can't quite put my finger on it, it's not a specific, potent one-liner, it's more the overall effect of such a cohesive, well-constructed song. Each line feels like it builds on the last one and by the end he has a skyscraper. Typically, I'm a production oriented person, then a flow guy, then finally I'll get to the lyrics, but here what really makes the song is the vivid picture he paints. That being said, this beat from Apollo Brown - who is quickly moving up the ranks of my favorite producer of all-time list - is perfect. As a beat fiend, it's enough to impress, but it also lets Pooh take the reigns. This beat is fit for a king and that king is King Pooh.
This song is so dense and so powerful, yet it goes down so easy and gets my head-nodding instantly. It's very rare to have a song this heavy be so easily ingested. For that, the message, and the general awesomeness of Big Pooh, "Stop" is the one song you need to hear this week.
Billy Chambers "Don't Blink": It was a toss up between this and Big Pooh. I love Billy's charm and charisma. I'm becoming more of a fan with each and every listen and this is his best effort to date.
Flume ft. Chet Faker & Koncept "Drop the Game (Remix)": I came for Chet Faker, I left with Koncept. A vibrant, passionate banger.
Goodbye Tomorrow "JAY Z":Holy video, Batman!
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is “College Dropout,” but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.]