Day: October 30, 2018

The best songs on Ty Dolla $ign and Jeremih’s MIH-TY

“FYT”

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I’ve been praying for the moment this tape would drop officially since this 2016 interview with Jeremih. Thank you R&B gods for making this happen! These two are well-known for making certified radio hits and R&B cuts that ride, but they’re at their best, in my opinion, when they lean into the sensual. “FYT,” their flip of Biggie’s “Fucking You Tonight,” is the perfect, smoldering example of this. Their. Runs. Phewwwwwww! (Also, no offense, but if anyone has a French Montana-less version of this, please hit me up.) —NAZUK KOCHHAR

I think straight men should be banned from having sex until they can collectively get their shit together, but Jeremih and Ty Dolla $ign’s “The Light” makes me briefly reconsider my position. It’s really Ty belting out “Let’s have sex” in the song’s hook that just sounds so right. Jeremih pulls his weight, too, matching Ty’s seductive power with his own brand of unapologetic horniness. Mih and Ty both sound super comfortable over a sample from Keni Burke’s “Risin’ To The Top.” That song has helped power good sex songs — like The Mary Jane Girls’s “All Night Long” — for the last 30+ years and MihTy’s is a welcome addition to the canon. —MYLES TANZER

“New Level”

“New Level” seems like the most surefire “hit” on the album. The song was originally released as a single with a guest verse from Lil Wayne but, on MIH-TY, it’s just Jeremih and Ty, going back and forth for a perfectly concise two minutes and thirty seconds. Building off a Dru Hill vocal sample, “New Level” fulfills the original promise of the collaborative album: two masters of melodic thottery bringing out the best in each other. Jeremih’s bridge on the song recalls some of his best Late Night-era runs, as he sings in a sultry whine about wishing he was a mind reader. Together, they sing about vaguely advancing a woman’s life should she choose to fuck with them. It’s a classic Jeremih/Ty premise and one that, when they harmonize, sounds pretty convincing. —BEN DANDRIDGE-LEMCO

READ MORE: https://www.thefader.com/2018/10/30/mih-ty-jeremih-ty-dolla-sign-best-tracks

The Eminem-produced satire Bodied knows every dis you’ll have and gets there first

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Joseph Kahn’s new satirical comedy, Bodied, is the “more of a comment than a question” movie about race, privilege, and verse of 2018. If Blindspotting had too much narrative cohesion and nuance for you, try Bodied, which riddles its audience with dialogue and ideas at such a rapid-fire pace that none of them ever make any direct or purposeful hits. The film follows the intersecting storylines of Behn Grymm (Jackie Long), a champion battle rapper, and Adam (Calum Worthy), a prim, white grad student writing his thesis on Behn’s “bars,” i.e., the combo of language and phrasing of rap-battle verses. As it turns out, Adam’s a quick study on the subject, and soon becomes a natural battle rapper himself. But this threatens his newfound friendship with Behn and his romantic relationship with vegan feminist Maya (Rory Uphold). Think All About Eve, but with men and free-styling.

Kahn, who began his career as a music video director, has never abandoned the slick, quick-cutting style that landed him jobs for Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, and Eminem, the latter serving as producer on this film. As a result of that style, the film becomes, at times, tiresome and annoying, when Kahn constantly whip-pans and zooms into close-ups. Not that these irksome quirks diminish the vibrancy of each individual rap battle Kahn portrays.

The script is penned by Alex Larsen (a.k.a. Kid Twist), a rap battle legend himself, whose own origin story as a self-professed nerdy white Canadian seems to be the inspiration behind Adam. The verses are wildly cerebral and complex but also base, marrying highbrow with the low. Larsen uses them to interrogate the lexicon of rap, trying to offer reasoning for why a smart, thoughtful person might also incorporate slurs against gay, black, Asian, and trans people into their verses, even if they wouldn’t use those words outside of a rap battle. Adam serves as the conduit for these reasonings and justifications, with his character’s inner dialogue in voice-over running through the pros and cons of every word: Is this sexist? Should I make a joke about Asians eating dogs? Is it too racist? Just racist enough? But Adam finds that it’s exactly those exaggerated insults that win crowd satisfaction and therefore the rap battle. And winning the battle becomes everything to Adam.

Much attention will likely be paid to Worthy and his performance as a walking dictionary who develops the bravado of a billionaire tech mogul. He’s quite convincing as a battle rapper, all the right words forming organically on his lips. But don’t forget Long, who’s expressive but grounded as Behn, anchoring this film in the kind of humanity that Adam lacks. It would have been satisfying to see more of this story through Behn’s eyes, but what the script fails to provide the character, Long fills in with his performance.

Larsen’s screenplay fascinatingly insulates itself from criticism, mostly by offering up the criticism first. Want to ask why most of the women in this film are bitches? Larsen’s already on it, by having one female character explain to another one that it’s not about being a woman—it’s about being a battle rapper. Want to point out that using offensive slurs, even in the context of a rap battle, doesn’t negate that they are offensive? Well, the script covers that, too, with Behn explaining that it’s the intent behind your words, the brazenness of crossing a line, that’s what actually hurts. As in the real world, there’s no easy path toward living the ultimate ethical life, and so justifications must be made to cope. Adam becomes a fountain of justifications as he grows ever more maniacal, his brain whirring with comebacks that feel good for him to say. He’s essentially addicted to crafting barbed bars to outwit his opponents. That’s his power.

Kahn and Larsen have a tendency to over-intellectualize their ideas. It’s like watching a self-defense mechanism work in real-time, and at lightning speed. And that in itself is impressive, even if it prevents the filmmakers from reaching any meaningful conclusions because it accurately presents the mental gymnastics a progressive person might engage in to justify their choices or wade through rigid social rules. Simultaneously entertaining, overwhelming, compelling, and grating, Bodied raises its hand and talks until words mean nothing and everything.

Funkmaster Flex Seems to Take Shots at Drake Again: ‘You Ain’t Qualified to Give Rules’

Though the conflict between Drake and Pusha-T has been wrapped up, one popular conversation birthed from the feud is the existence of rules (if any) in rap beef. Drake’s appearance on HBO’s The Shop spawned a debate across hip-hop, as he stated that certain lines shouldn’t be crossed in rap. Rappers and music industry individuals attempted to argue on both sides, though no general consensus was established.

While still on promo for their Beloved project, Dave East and Styles P (who both recently gave their opinion on the topic) stopped by radio veteran/media personality Funkmaster Flex‘s show on Hot 97. At the end of the video above, around the 6:09 mark, Flex took the time to go on an explicative filled rant addressing the issue of those who seek to establish guidelines in lyrical warfare.

Flex, in his usual candid, unabashed fashion, made his stance unequivocally clear.

“If you get your feelings hurt, fuck you, it don’t really matter,” he began. “If you don’t write your own shit, you ain’t qualified to give motherfucking rules on the fucking game, you fucking bozo.”

The sentiment Flex expressed echoes that of an earlier statement made by Styles regarding the Drake/Pusha T incident. Styles told Hot 97 “you can’t expect in any type of warfare, any type, not just rap, ain’t no rules.”

This isn’t the first time Flex has addressed Drake, as his disdain with the Canadian superstar has always been about the actions taken by Drake that are contrarian to the hip-hop purist (i.e. the infamous Quentin Miller reference tracks).

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The Playlist: Cardi B Hits Pay Dirt, and 11 More New Songs

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Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new songs and videos — and anything else that strikes them as intriguing. Just want the music? Listen to the Playlist on Spotify here (or find our profile: nytimes). Like what you hear? Let us know at theplaylist@nytimes.com and sign up for our Louder newsletter, a once-a-week blast of our pop music coverage.

What’s the opposite of a palate cleanser? Currently, Cardi B is featured on the No. 1 song in the country, Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You.” It is not her best, nor most apt work. So here comes the palate roughener? “Money” is effectively a stripped-bare version of BlocBoy JB and Drake’s already-bare “Look Alive,” and a de facto lo-fi rejoinder to Cardi B’s steady pop incursions over the past year. The trash talk here is pure, if a little staid: “I like boarding jets, I like morning sex/But nothing in this world that I like more than checks.” Instead, “Money” — the first solo single Cardi B has released since giving birth in July — is notable for its acknowledgment of new-mom problems: “I got a baby, I need some money, I need cheese for my egg.” JON CARAMANICA

 

California Tenants Take Rent Control Fight to the Ballot Box

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LOS ANGELES — From pulpits across Los Angeles, Pastor Kelvin Sauls has spent the past few months delivering sermons on the spiritual benefits of fasting. The food in the sermon is rent, and landlords need less of it. “My role is to bring a moral perspective to what we are dealing with around the housing crisis,” Pastor Sauls explained.

In addition to a Sunday lesson, this is an Election Day pitch. Pastor Sauls is part of the campaign for Proposition 10, a ballot initiative that would loosen state restraints on local rent control laws. The effort has stoked a battle that has already consumed close to $60 million in political spending, a sizable figure even in a state known for heavily funded campaigns.

Depending on which side is talking, Proposition 10 is either a much-needed tool to help cities solve a housing crisis or a radically misguided idea that will only make things worse. Specifically, it would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which prevents cities from applying rent control laws to single-family homes and apartments built after 1995.

The initiative drive builds on the growing momentum of local efforts to expand tenant protections. “In the midst of the worst housing and homeless crisis that our country has ever seen, how does a bill that restricts local government’s ability to address it go untouched?” asked Damien Goodmon, director of the Yes on 10 campaign, which is primarily funded by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles.

Proposition 10 has won prominent endorsements from backers including the California Democratic Party and The Los Angeles Times. But opponents have also amassed editorials and broad support, mainly from a coalition of construction unions, nonprofit housing developers and local chambers of commerce.

Among those fighting the initiative is a relatively recent class of landlords — private equity firms like Blackstone Group, which accumulated a vast residential real estate portfolio after the housing market collapse a decade ago. Landlords warn that repealing the Costa-Hawkins law would create deep uncertainty among developers, making California’s housing shortage worse by discouraging construction.

“This is a serious problem, but the solution to that problem should not land solely on the rental housing industry,” said Tom Bannon, president of the California Apartment Association, a landlords’ group.

The California fight reflects a renters’ rights movement that is bubbling up in churches and community centers across the country, a semi-coordinated stand of low-income tenants against the gentrifying American city. Last month in the Roxbury section of Boston, about 300 people gathered for an afternoon assembly on how to blunt evictions and economic displacement. The event offered free child care and had organizers speaking English, Spanish and Cantonese.