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Put Your Hands Up: This Week’s Billboard Top Ten Rap Songs

September 3, 2009

As an avid reader of the Billboard charts each week, I’m always interested to see what new music has captured the hearts and minds of our friends and neighbors. And it’s always a thrill to check out a new chart, because I’m a very easily thrilled person. Imagine my mindblowing excitement, then, as I delve into the rap world this week and we all take a quick glance at the snapshot of the rap landscape this, the week of August 30-September 5.

1. “Best I Ever Had” – Drake

Representative line: You be up on everything / other hoes ain’t never on it / I want this forever / I swear I can spend whatever on it

I don’t know a lot about rap, but I do know this Drake fellow. Not because I know of his music, but because I’m a longtime fan of Degrassi: The Next Generation, wherein “Drake” (born Aubrey Graham), or “Jimmy Brooks” to my fellow Degrassi-heads (see you guys at the convention!), has turned in a solid performance as a paraplegic student for the past several years. Degrassi represent! Mr. Simpson would be proud of you, Aubrey — surely you’re breaking the glass ceiling on stars-of-Canadian-teen-melodramas-turned-chart-topping-rappers. You’ll probably get recognized in the Official Museum of Canada for that. Oh, they have one.

2. “Every Girl” — Young Money

Representative line: I just wanna get behind it / And watch it / BACK IT UP AND DUMP IT BACK/BACK IT UP AND DUMP IT BACK

Young Money is Lil Wayne’s record label, which features Drake, who gave Young Money a shout-out at the end of Best I Ever Had,” (see above), so any friends of Jimmy Brooks are friends of mine. The entire Young Money crew, then, consists of Lil Wayne, Drake, Jae Millz, Gudda Gudda, and Mack Maine.  Ironically, my nickname in college was also “Gudda Gudda,” so I’m impartial to Young Money out of the gate.  They would also appear to be requesting you back it up. And dump it back.

3. “Successful” — Drake featuring Lil Wayne

Representative line: Haven’t met a smell that’s stinkier than sh*t / That’s word to Toronto!

First of all, a note on that representative line. I don’t know what it means, but it’s fantastic and I’m going to start working it into my vocabulary today. Secondly, are you sensing a trend here? It’s Lil Wayne and Drakes’s world, and we’re just living in it. Mack Maine, Jae Millz and Gudda Gudda were clearly not asked to be on this track. I hope that sits okay with them. It can be difficult not to be included.

4.  “Throw It in the Bag” — Fabolous featuring The-Dream

Representative line: We still doing donuts and im half a dozen / They call me crispy cream / My style is crispy clean / I drive some chicks on these crews / thats some crispy jeans

We’re Young Money-free on this one, although Drake does join in on one of the mixes of this song, and Fabolous (sic?) turns this first single from the rapper’s fifth album into an ode to both shopping and, interestingly enough, stealing cars and money from banks. That Consolidation Now would certainly, I think, finance the shopping pretty well. Singer, songwriter and producer The-Dream (dash included) also weighs to take partial credit on this one, but I’m guessing no one’s going to claim that “crispy jeans” line. I mean, come on. Crispy jeans? That’s just ridiculous.

5. “Run This Town” — Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kanye West

Representative line: They should throw they hand in / ‘Cause they ain’t got no spades / My whole team got dough / So my bankhead is lookin’ like millionaire’s ‘fro

New kids, meet the old guard.  Jay-Z teams with Rihanna and Kanye. Not too shabby. And as per usual, Hova’s lyrics revolve around who’s got the money (him) and who’s got the power (also him). Then Rihanna steps in and sings a chorus, like she does for every song released these days, and Kanye grabs the mike and, as you could have guessed, starts talking about himself. All in all, everyone’s doing what they do best: Jay-Z being rich, Rihanna singing two choruses, and Kanye lovin’ him some Kanye.

6. Wetter (Call You Daddy) — Twista featuring Erika Shevon

Representative line: Talkin about a beautiful figure / Astonishing as Greek mythology / Body be just like a girl in uh… / What’s that movie? Nevermind

Using samples from Janet Jackson’s 1994 “Any Time, Any Place,” this song is probably exactly what you think it’s about, so it’s probably better left untouched on this site. And as you can see, Twista doesn’t spend a lot of time making sure his references hit home; let’s face it, he probably had more than enough time between conceiving this song and recording it to come up with the movie that reminds him of what his girl’s body looks like. But who am I to judge? Twista’s fuzzy memory clearly isn’t affecting his Billboard chart chances, as he continues to work the charts like, oh, that guy on that one TV show.

7. “Ice Cream Paint Job” — Dorrough

Representative line: Press one button called automatic start / stand too close car alarm might bark. Like what? / Roof roof! Like Q-dogs,  prime time click make it move like U-Haul.

Dorrough would like to tell you about his car. “Ice Cream Paint Job” features a laundry list of awesome amenities Dorrough clearly was suckered into buying by his local dealership. But he seems to be satisfied with his expensive purchase: the song lists elaborate rims, a “grape jelly” paint job, an extra-wide trunk, even a rear view mirror (he might have been hoodwinked if they were asking him to pay more for this). He even mentions at one point — no joke — “Got screens on the dash watchin’ Saved by the Bell.” That’s when you know you’ve made it, Dorrough. That’s when you know.

8. “Hotel Room Service” — Pitbull

Representative line: After party in the hotel lobby / then we off to the room like vroom! / put them fingers in your mouth

Miami rapper Pitbull is wooing women up to his hotel room, but I’m not sure his tactics are the soundest in this era of the swine flu.  “Hotel Room Service” is the third release off the album Rebelution, which only came out five days ago. Other singles off this album included the massive hit “I Know You Want Me,” and the lesser “Blanco.” But he’ll most likely always be remembered, to a select few in this world, as that weird one-night stand that wants to put his fingers in your mouth. I hope he has a lot of hand santizer.

9. “You’re a Jerk” — New Boyz

Representative Line: We pulled up to the party / I take off my shirt / and got geeked up  / everybody jerkin

It should be noted that this song doesn’t so much call someone a “jerk” as it references the current style of dance “jerking.” That said, the thing you should know about Victorville, California’s New Boyz is that they wear skinny jeans, as referenced by their album title Skinny Jeans and a Mic and another of their songs, “Cricketz,” which features lines like “Why they jeans so tight?/ Yeah we rock skinnies.” Seems like a flimsy premise to build a rap career on, but so far it’s working. And it gives me hope that my own lyrical attention to jams-style shorts may pay off for me. Someday.

10. “Be on You” — Flo Rida featuring Ne-Yo

Representative line: Miss thing, million dollar game, coke bottle frame / make my wall of fame  / let me know your name / I control the rain

While I don’t believe for a second that Flo Rida has any influence over the weather, I do believe he’s made enough money at this point to “make it rain” during his journey from featured help-out guy to headliner.  I wonder if Flo Rida realizes that he has the same name as a U.S. state. I’ll bet he gets that a lot. I also wonder if he knows Mack Maine, of the Young Money crew (see no. 2). This single has been sitting at number 10 for seven weeks now, so this may big as Mr. Rida gets with “Be On You.” May I suggest an extra-wide new trunk or some skinny/crispy jeans? That’s word to Toronto, you know.

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