Kanye West feat. DJ Khaled, "Cold"
“Cold” is an eff-haters anthem custom-built to usher the indifferent into Hater Nation, a 1% cackle, a tabloid-baiting leer that probably (almost) launched 200,00 Google searches. It’s also a lot of fun, in the way that loony far-right Obama conspiracies are fun, because the truth sucks. Buying into revisionist and/or alternative reality insanity makes life more interesting, and if you strain hard enough, it’s possible to pretend for real. So you play up reports of a dalliance with a Kardashian, purport to parade around in minks, and frame your doomed, universally panned foray into fashion design as “we made it to the Paris news!” Total bullshit, but classic Kanye, too.
Pusha T & Kanye West, "New God Flow"
Sometimes, the sample makes the song. Sure, it feels a little like cheating, as though a given song’s producers (here that’s West, in cahoots with the unfortunately named Boogz & Tapez) are openly capitalizing on the good will engendered by that sample. On “New God Flow,” the primary sample—a bawdy, balling brag from Ghostface Killah’s “Mighty Healthy,” off of 2000’s hallowed Supreme Clientele—lords over everything else from a great height, and the listener would be forgiven for gritting his teeth through the verses while awaiting the return of the sample-quoting chorus. (Don’t blow those royalty checks in one place, Mr. Coles.)
Pusha T—whose career renaissance remains more question mark than verifiable fact—name checks the Tupac hologram and draws some rather delusionary comparisons between himself, his benefactor, and Odd Couple rap duos of years past. For his part, West adds a scowling, pulpit-ready growl to his arsenal of self-aggrandizement, half-legitimizing what must be his umpteenth admixture retread of humility, chutzpah, conceitedness, mythology, sorrow, triumph, and studied petulance before breaking into an asinine version of The Duckworth Chant that effectively dashes any peripheral good will he might have earned.
2 Chainz feat. Kanye West, "Birthday Song"
Here’s the thing about birthdays; the older I get, the less I want. A card, a meal somewhere out of the ordinary, a moment to catch my breath and fortify myself for the onset of yet another year: that will do nicely. Just being able to be here to think about how no real recompense is necessary just for being here is gift enough.
Seriously, if it’s absolutely imperative that I must receive a gift of some significance for my next birthday, I’d prefer to make an anonymous donation—a conference of lyrical dexterity and ability, maybe—to 2 Chainz, because presently, 2 Chainz is incapable of rapping his way out of a Chic-Fil-A bag. What he possesses, and this is important to note, is a wholly distinctive, arresting vocal instrument that he hasn’t figured out how to harness in a manner that isn’t just jaw-droppingly hapless and nearly autistic. West’s blithe entreaty—encouraging henpecked roosters to demand ménage a trois as 10-year anniversary presents—rings non-sequitur hollow in given that “Birthday Song” can only be described as “wholesale anti-context.”