Three: Facts, Runnin’, Black Friday

Ryan O’Shea

You know how I said “Three Tracks is back” back in September? Well, IB2 had other plans for me. Not to say IB2 gets easier after December, but it gets easier after December. So this time it’s really is back, and so is TBAW


Kayne West – Facts

Well this one is weird as hell. First off, the intro teases the listener with Dirt and Grime by Fatherless Children, a jazzy track featuring powerful vocals working in harmony. To be honest, it got my hopes up for a song driven by the same energy found on Otis, but instead the song shifts into a play on Jumpman, where Kayne adopts a similar flow as the one on Drake’s track. Now, I’m not a huge Drake fan personally, but his voice fits that style. Kayne sounds out of his element to say the least. Even his trademark “hah” falls flat. Going back to the play on Jumpman, the song itself seems to be a diss-track aimed at Nike over their failure to see the future earnings potential of signing Kayne. Or something. I don’t know, I haven’t been following shoe politics. Honestly, I don’t even suggest listening to this song. Not necessarily because it’s bad mind you, but it’s a novelty that I guarantee you won’t feel the need to buy, and one that no one’s going to talk about for more than a month, especially with the release of Kayne’s newest track Real Friends. If anything, go check out Dirt and Grime, it’s actually a great song.


Kendrick Lamar & J.Cole – Black Friday

Game day

It’s no secret this was coming. The hip-hop populace demanded a collab. So, the answer was given. Even though we “can’t handle it” as J Cole makes clear. The first thing to notice is the mutual respect between artists, as the two exchange beats; Kendrick taking A Tale Of 2 Citiez and J Cole taking Alright. It’s one of those weird moments where you hear something, and just can’t help but smile.


Hearing the intro to a J Cole track but having Kendrick’s voice jump in is the epitome of that. Kendrick kicks the track off, wasting no time as he dives into a lyrically complex and energized verse. In it, he plays around with his flow, changing pace on the fly, and the wordplay is top notch. It’s Kendrick at his best, and seems to serve as a teaser of what’s to come, almost acting as a way of saying “Yeah, this is happening. The gloves are off.” Unfortunately, J Cole’s verse misses the mark slightly. We lose the ferocity Kendrick injected into the track, and since J Coles verse follows Kendrick’s, the song loses momentum. He picks up near the end of the verse, but the dip in the middle weakens the track as a whole. Regardless, anyone who isn’t hyped for more collab material after this is simply wrong. It’s a great track, and I highly suggest giving it a listen.

The Wait is On.


Tahija Akeem – Runnin’

“Runnin’ towards something.”

Venturing to HotNewHipHop is never something I look forward to. Any site that consistently gives Future a “HOTTTTT” rating is immediately suppressed in my memory with the hopes that it will never be remembered. That said, every once in a while you spot a glint in the sand. Songs like “Runnin’” are the reason I keep coming back to HotNewHipHop. With only 900 or so plays on soundcloud, it’s not likely I would have found this track without it. Firstly, the beat is fantastic. The light xylophone and heavy bass juxtapose each other perfectly; the bassline gives the track the punch expected from Hip-Hop, but the high notes of the xylophone insert a sense of innocence into the song, complimenting Tahija’s story of growing up grinding to keep his family afloat. “Runnin,” as the title suggests, but every time he stops to look back on his progress, he’s still in the same place that he started. It’s a great metaphor that perfectly captures how frustrating a situation like that would be. In all honesty, it’s got the same vibe as a J. Cole track, which is far from a bad thing. Highly recommend you check it out and give it some love. I hope this is the start of something great for Tahija.

Tahija Akeem on Soundcloud