Mondays suck. Luckily, this particular Monday has received a much-needed boost thanks to Detroit mainstay Royce Da 5’9”, who has unleashed the title track from his forthcoming Layers album, a hands-down “Holy Shit” moment and the latest entry in our esteemed “Holy Shit You Need To Hear This” series.
Based on the quality of the throwaways Royce has been dropping off over the last few weeks, Layers is shaping up to be one of the most promising albums of the year. From story-telling (“Tabernacle”) to all-out lyrical sprints (“Savages”), the veteran emcee continues to prove he's mastered all facets of the art of rap.
With all three artists on one track this must be considered a massive collaboration, but it also raises an interesting question -- how in the name of all that is holy is this the first time Royce and Pusha have linked up on a track? Is it possible I have overlooked something? These are two of hip-hop’s premiere veteran lyricists, artists who have not only remained relevant longer than many of their peers but continue to gain popularity with every passing year. Thank the rap gods this finally came to fruition.
(Update: Well, it appears I did overlook something. Pusha -- as a part of Clipse -- was featured on "Mr. Baller," a cut off Royce's 2002 debut Rock City.)
To quote the intro, “The real joy of being a human being is to be able to use your mind in the manner that the Almighty God has designed the human mind to do.” The Almighty God designed Royce and Pusha (and to a lesser extent Ross) to put words together in such a fashion that you can’t help but hang onto every line, and that fact is on full display here (and yes, Royce’s verse is recycled from a 2014 BET Backroom Freestyle, but I never saw it so these are fresh bars).
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Some choice excerpts:
“Tug of war and my mind’s like a clash of the titans / Thoughts contrast so it’s layers to my writin’” - Pusha
“God fearin’, but I’m God fishin’ / Yeah, God hearin’ but I’m gone fishin’” - Pusha
“All I got time to do is go back in time and pose with the Unabomber / Just so I can go back in time a second time to photobomb it” - Royce
“I’m Doug E. Fresh in the flesh, I beat box / I boo-boo-du-du between the sheets to seek the G-Spot / I’m in bed with three naked ladies holding hands / I’m in bed with three major labels and I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout wearing clothing brands” - Royce
“I own fifty homes and wanna get fifty more / Counting this fast money and fucking my bitches slow” - Rozay (Okay, this one was a joke, but make no mistake, despite coming in a clear third up against two legendary wordsmiths, Ross holds his own on a beat that sounds tailor-made for his luxury street raps.)
Go ahead and press play, say "holy shit," then repeat 4x or until every bar has sunk in appropriately. When Rick Ross comes through with a stellar verse the song automatically becomes some shit you need to hear.