Boldy James is a red shirt freshman occupying an ever expanding roster of Detroit Natives equipped with the ability to successfully conflate street narratives and backpacker soundscapes. James sluggishly drags muffled words across 'Drops Of Reign'. His indifferent demeanor manages to make the most elementary lines (po' young fella') interesting and memorable. This song would serve as an impressive introduction to anyone unfamiliar with Boldy's Trappers Alley project. Even the atrocious half of The Cool Kids delivers a serviceable contribution.
'Return of Simba' is one of several leaks from J Cole's forthcoming album that have surfaced in recent weeks. The consistent outpour of material has failed to generate much optimism for The Sideline Story. Fortunately, the third installment of his reoccurring Lion King themed ballads merge introspection, wit, and energy. These characteristics can be found individually on many of Cole's previous efforts, but rarely ever coexist on a single song. I suppose it doesn't hurt that this leg of the trilogy actually offers a cinematic backdrop that accentuates Jermaine's sense of urgency, opposed to the repetitive production heard on parts one and two. 'Return of Simba' is one Big Shirley reference away from being a flawlessly executed record, which begs the question: How many songs of this caliber will Roc Nation allow to live on his major label debut?
Nasir Jones is perhaps rap music's strongest catalyst for pessimism. However, the first glimpse of his fourteenth full-length release forced critics to momentarily abandon their unyielding outrage and settle for backhanded compliments. 'Nasty' features an incarnation of Nas more recently outsourced to the likes of DJ Khaled, Mobb Deep, Raekwon, and Green Lantern. Considering the arrogant tone, materialistic content, brandishing of firearms, and dense lyricism, this endeavor would have more appropriately titled 'Esco'. Salaam Remi contributes a simple break-beat furnished only with intense static, never distracting from the rapid onslaught of clever wordplay. While the verses are as indeed as nasty as Dave Chappelle suggests during the bridge, the most notable aspect is the underlying premonition of Escobar Season.