Second Tier or Below
Hot 100 Roundup, 2/25/12

Meek Mill featuring T.I., Birdman, Lil Wayne, D.J. Khaled, Rick Ross & Swizz Beats—“Ima Boss”

His brief change in style having flopped, at least when compared to his earlier singles, DJ Khaled goes back to the bank on this remix, providing big bragging beats for big bragging rappers. Nobody says anything important, but the energy level is surprisingly high. Usually when a producer returns to a style he’d hoped to move beyond, the intensity drops. If anything, this is even more energetic than Khaled’s earlier hits. It sounds like a homecoming. Maybe he changed his style out of a sense of duty, not desire.

Lindsey Pavao—“Say Aah”

Glee Cast featuring Ricky Martin
“Sexy and I Know It”, #81
“La Isla Bonita”, #99

Kip Moore—“Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck”

This is based on the usual country clichés about trucks and beer and women and skinny dipping, but Moore manages to create a good record by keeping things as simple as possible: no fancy bridges or middle eights, a tune that’s immediately familiar and easy to hum, and lyrics that never get fancy or stretch some ridiculous rustic metaphor to the breaking point. The arrangement could be less bombastic, but that’s a common problem with a lot of country rock these days, and hardly Moore’s fault.

Calvin Harris—“Feel So Close”

Harris is less bombastic than David Guetta or Levels or just about any other dance-pop producer right now, but that doesn’t make him any better. His subtlety doesn’t have any actual idea behind it; it’s just the way he prefers to approach things. It does make for a more dynamic listen, I’ll admit, but unfortunately during the quiet bits you have to listen to Harris sing, which isn’t a dynamic experience at all.

Kirko Bangz—“Drank In My Cup”

A Drake sound-alike without the self-doubt or the well-meaning sexist condescension—that is, without any of the things that make Drake more than just another rapper on the make. The beat’s good, but it’s a Drake imitation, as well . Except for the intro, that is, which is lifted, uncredited, from Cream. Somehow I can’t see Drake doing something like that, either.

YG featuring Tyga, Snoop Dogg & Nipsey Hussle—“Snitchs Ain’t…”

With women running the top ten, it shouldn’t be a surprise to find the return of good old rap misogyny down at the bottom of the chart. I would say that’s where it deserves to be, except that it doesn’t deserve to be on the chart at all. At least the first verse shows some humor in its putdowns; the rest is catchy and dumb in the worst way.

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