Hip-Hop Block Presents “Battle of the Singles: Lights Please vs. Forever”
Forever by Drake
Industry-pushed rapper/singer Drake, teams up with some of hip-hop’s most influential moguls to create a radio playable single. After his first successful single, “Best I Ever Had,” Drake’s flow is consistent with the song title—he goes in so hard, hip-hoppers know he wants the throne forever.
Aubrey Graham, better known as Drake, begins the quest for the best verse as the first emcee to step up to the microphone followed by Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne, and Eminem.
This track is the equivalent to the one of the best shows ever, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You have your four turtles, Donatello, Michaelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo. There is no best turtle, but there are favorites. Because this is his single, he should be the Master Splinter of things; however, depending on the angle you take on this song, each rapper brings their own flavor to the track in their own zesty ways.
“Drop the mixtape/ That s— soundin’ like the album/ Who’d a thought a country wide tour would be the outcome/ Labels want my name beside a X like Malcolm/ Everybody got a deal/ I did it without one.”
Drake’s verse on his own single could equate to a double in baseball, but let’s see if he can come home after Kanye steps up to the plate!
“Old money, Benjamin Button/ What? Nothing!/ Umm, Now superbad chicks givin’ me McLovin/ You would think I ran the world/ Like Michelle’s husband/ You would think these n— know me/ when they really doesn’t/ Like they was down with the old me/ No, you f*ckin’ wasn’t.”
After that step up to the plate, Kanye drove in a run with a RBI triple as Drake limps home from a wonderful hit verse by Kanye. Now, up to the mic, we have Lil’ Wayne at the third spot—let’s see if he sacrifices or gets on base.
“And I will never stop/ Like I’m runnin’ from the cops/ Hopped up in my car/ And told my chauffer to the top/ Life is a f*ckin’ rollercoaster/ Then it drops/ But what should I scream for/ This is my themepark”
Lil’ Wayne’s fast flow was just enough to beat out the ball to first base where he makes it on with a lazy swing at the mic, leaving fans missing the mixtape version Weezy.
With two runs on the board, what will Eminem do? Last but not least? Let you be the judge.
“Back into the game and they know/ Rap will never be the same as before/ Bashing in the brains of these hoes/ And establishing a name as he goes/ The passion and the flame is ignited/You can’t put it out once we light it”
Eminem leaves Lil’ Wayne stranded at second although he hit a double. His verse wasn’t enough to bring Wayne home.
With the fan base of Lil Wayne (because of signing with Young Money) and the even bigger fanbase filled with girls from their teenage years to early 30’s, Drake is a force to wrecking with.
Lights Please by J. Cole
Jermaine Cole, but better known as J. Cole on the hip-hop scenes, is one of the freshest voices to grace a microphone in any town he ventures to, but that may be because his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina doesn’t have any noticeable rappers or musical artist.
J. Cole is the first signee to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label by way of a sweet 16 party where he wore a shirt that said, “Produce for Jay-Z or Die.” Under that shirt would be the work that would eventually get him noticed—a CD with beats for Jay along with some original songs by Cole.
Recently scoring a spot as the only artist besides Kanye that raps on Jay-Z’s latest Blueprint 3, J. Cole shows maturity that even the oldest of rappers do not exhibit.
Also graduating Magnum Cum Laude from St. John’s University with a GPA of 3.82 (told via my twitter account), J. Cole used the big apple as a way of networking in order to be able to showcase his talent.
With no guest features, Cole decides to improvise with lyricism and flow as well as a steady beat that gives the song an even more unique sound. Caution: This is soul rap, not misogynistic rap we’re used to.
As you turn your lights down, the bobbing of your head may occur as J. Cole introduces us into a nostalgic moment of his life.
“I had this lil’ bad thing/ Somethin’ like them 10s/ She gave a n*gga mad brain/ Somethin’ like the Wiz.”
The opening bars sound like they belong on the “Pokerface” single by Kid Cudi, but J. Cole distances himself from the pack as the true meaning of his song is revealed by the end of the first verse.
He earns a single with his play on words.
“So I tried to show her/ About the world/ And about just who we really are/ And where we’ve come/ And how we still have to go really far/ Like baby look at how we live broke on the boulevard/ But all she ever want me to do is unhook her bra.”
The struggles of fame and the girls that come along with it is shown as the power of sex and provocative women may sidetrack you from your goals.
“And you just want to tell her everything she might need/ But in the meantime/ It’s lights please.
In just his first verse alone, Cole is able to get an in the park homerun due to an error in the game of hip-hop. That error: We need more meaningful lyrics in songs.
“I told her all about how we been livin’ a lie/ An that they love to see us all go to prison or die/ Like baby look at how they show us on the tv screen/ But all she ever want me to do is unzip her jeans.”
Again, we see a refrain from the first verse that only emphasizes the power of lusting relationships again. But before he ends his second; and subsequently, last verse we see another side of Cole that addresses the problems facing not only the hip-hop culture, but also American culture.
“And ain’t it shameful how n*ggas blame hoes for givin’ brith/ To a baby that took two to make/ Coward n*gga you the fake… I know you wanna change the world/ But for the night please/ Just reach over and hit the lights please.”
When the lights turn out and the chorus fades away, we are left wondering. Play it again? Yea, play it again.
J. Cole wins the battle of the singles, even without the guest appearances. But if the stats don’t lie, J. Cole is shaping up to bat a thousand this season, while well Drake, he may get injured before the season ends.
~Keep Hip-Hop Alive!