Most would agree that hip hop and rap are often dominate the musical charts. Most songs heard on the radio, although mostly pop, feature at least some components of these genres. The constant presence of rap in mainstream music makes listeners miss many nuances of this broad genre. Halftime has compiled some songs that are often overlooked, but nonetheless have qualities that make them fascinating pieces of music. These traits are often distinct to an artist and engaging in a way that is often difficult to describe. Halftime presents The Weekly List: Unique Rap.
- “Falconry” (feat. Meyhem Lauren and Big Body Bes) – Action Bronson
This Queens-born rapper and former chef brings something new to the table with his backstory alone. This song features Bronson’s two best friends, and “Falconry” reflects the raunchy banter the three have together. The simple beat and the silent ending with the words, “she only love me when I’m naked,” make this song something to both laugh at and nod your head along to.
- “Wool” – Earl Sweatshirt, Vince Staples
This 22-year-old rapper was discovered off a Youtube video gone viral. This song combines a great series of metaphors sung over a dark, piano-based track, reflecting an understanding of heavy themes well beyond Sweatshirt’s age.
- “Angels” (feat. Saba) – Chance The Rapper
Horns and a choir perfectly complement energetic lyrics for this gospel influenced song. In addition to being a source of pure, positive fun, “Angels” optimistically critiques the problems of violence in the modern world.
- “Late Night in Kauai” – Childish Gambino, Jaden Smith
Jaden Smith is definitely not an incredible rapper, but his spoken narration of a night on a beach works well with the artistic vibes in this song. Jaden speaks over a soft drum beat and ambient noise, leaving the singing to Childish Gambino.
- “Wet Dreamz” – J. Cole
This comical recollection of a young man preparing to lose his virginity stands out for its beautiful synth and backing track work. A song about a virgin nervously trying to figure out what to do would give listeners a laugh at best, but the perfect sound mixing of this track makes it one of the most compelling tracks on J. Cole’s most recent album.
- “Earth” (feat. Future) – Mac Miller
Yes, another spoken word track, but Mac Miller’s heavy incorporation of jazz elements shows his diverse musical interest.
- “In the Morning” (feat. SYD & Thundercat) – Mac Miller
This song is fairly similar to the other Mac Miller track on this playlist except the synth work and Mac’s commentary on everyday life in a romantic relationship relay euphoric feelings. In addition, any song featuring someone with a name like Thundercat is strange enough for me to give it a listen.
- “U Guessed It” – OG Maco
Although this song found its way around the more mainstream circuit, it has a certain level of artistry that I feel is overlooked. I’d recommend watching the music video with this song for the full experience. The clinks of piano keys broken by the explosion of lyrics makes for something you can’t help but enjoy.