Rap Watercooler, Summer 2013
This is a new series compiling the most talked-about rap songs of recent months, and it's entirely inspired by Rocko's "U.O.E.N.O." (which stands for "You Don't Even Know It"). It became a national controversy because Rick Ross' guest verse implies slipping ecstasy in a woman's drink and then taking advantage of her -- "she ain't even know it." But after Ross lost his Reebok sponsorship and was pilloried by sundry purveyors of Internet rage, a strange thing happened: It developed an underground buzz rivaling that of Ross' 2012 anthem "Stay Schemin'." Regardless of his faux pas, it's a great song.
(Rocko – who hasn't had a hit since 2008's "Umma Do Me" -- initially defended Ross' verse and assured it would be on the remix that appeared in May, but he wisely reconsidered. We've included both versions for your satisfaction.)
Other percolating water-cooler topics include Drake's subliminal jab at former collaborator The Weeknd on "Started from the Bottom"; handwringing over Macklemore's enormous pop success with "Can't Hold Us" and "Thrift Shop"; concerns over the trending of "molly" in rap songs, most notably Trinidad James' "All Gold Everything"; and the degeneration (or is it just epileptic seizures?) of Lil Wayne, as evidenced by his self-indulgent "Love Me" and his disastrous Emmett Till reference on Future's "Karate Chop." Lauryn Hill released her first new song in years, "Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)," just as she was being convicted for tax evasion. And we don't need to rehash LL Cool J's halting appearance on Brad Paisley's "Accidental Racist," right?
It wasn't all nastiness. Kendrick Lamar proved why he's the hottest rapper in the game when he outshone Jay-Z on his "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe" remix, and De La Soul made a triumphant return with "Get Away (The Spirit of Wu-Tang)." Still, it's been an off year for hip-hop music so far, with too much to complain about and too little to enjoy. Save us, Yeezus!