Ludacris-#IDGAF (Mixtape)

The backlash when Luda ‘turned pop’ last year was pretty strong, and he’s back with this offering, compiling tracks he’s been releasing every Friday for the past few weeks with some new, unheard efforts.

He’s definitely cashed that Fast and Furious 6 money early here, as a raft of big names are out with assists. Features include Young Jeezy, Chris Brown, Meek Mill, Swizz Beatz, Pusha T, Mac Miller and French Montana; essentially, a who’s who of guest artists in hip-hop over the last 18 months. There are some strong names behind the board too, with recent Roc Nation signee DJ Mustard, Mike Will Made It and Bangladesh amongst the contributors, and the signs point towards a solid mainstream hip-hop release, and hopefully it’s one that comes without the dance-pop work he’d previously released.


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Alicia Keys-New Day

Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz don’t just make babies, with the husband and wife combo working excellently as Swizz lays down a beat for Alicia’s first single from her upcoming album.

The production is very lively, with a marching band-esque percussion really injecting some power and energy into the track, whilst the progressive keys and thick synths add an uplifting vibe to the track. Of course, Alicia rarely disappoints with the vocals and delivers a rousing performance, matching the positive style of the beat step-for-step with a lyrical and vocal set that moves away from her usual melodic style into a more pop-driven fare that feels much more positive than previous material. Probably one that’ll get much more club airplay than her back catalogue, this is one the mainstream heads will definitely enjoy.

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Swizz Beatz-Street Knock ft. A$AP Rocky

When this was released a few weeks back, there was no way I expected to still be giving it solid play time now, but here we are.

Certainly one of Swizzy’s better efforts in recent years, he rightfully follows up the song’s good reception with a video that does a decent job of complimenting the audio. The track is a cool, catchy effort that packs an awful lot of bounce into the production, and whilst the raps from both aren’t lyrical masterpieces (particularly Swizz, as usual), they’re clearly not intended to be as this is one purely to nod your head to on full volume.

The video’s full of opulence and night scenery, with the darkness of the environment allowing the blasts of colour from other sources in the video to stand out a little more and give the video a nice vibrancy. Good all-round package that will remain in my playlists for the foreseeable future. If you don’t already have it, help yourself to the track here.

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Lloyd Banks-Shock The World

Bite your bottom lip, screw your nose up and nod your head. This is one of those Banks tracks.

Mr. Hit-and Miss himself, Swizz Beatz, seemingly helms this one (based entirely on his inclusion in the intro), and serves up a jaw-rattling, pounding production with sharp, distorted keys, crashing percussion and a healthy dose of bass, combining for one of his better beats in recent memory. Banks has released some of his finest material in the last 12-18 months, largely down to a renewed focus in his raps (and improved beat selection), evidenced once again here with an enjoyable set of bars that synergises with the superb production thanks to a well-chosen set of flows and accessible lyricism from start to finish. From Cold Corner 2, coming soon.

Lloyd Banks-Shock The World

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R&B Fridays: Episode 119

This week has seen some superb music video releases in the pop, R&B and soul world and that mini-revival continues with a solid offering in this week’s R&B instalment.

The aforementioned videos include heart-warming visuals from Musiq Soulchild, uplifting scenes from Patrick Stump and Lupe Fiasco, an intrictate, thought-provoking effort from Frank Ocean, and finally a sharp, confident performance from The-Dream in one of his best releases to date.

Caught up with all the above? Your eyes may need a rest, but your ears await the musical delights that lie below.
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B.o.B-Welcome To The Jungle Remix

Borrowing the somewhat lacklustre Swizz Beatz production from Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne, Bobby continues his recent return to active releases with this relatively enjoyable remix.

It may seem a big statement, but B.o.B feels a much better fit for this production, getting his flow tailored just right for the beat and whilst his lyrics aren’t going to overwhelm anyone with any complex wordplay, they’re solid enough. Generally a smoother, more bearable listen than the original and worth a couple of listens for sure, though it’s unlikely to dominate anyone’s playlists beyond that.

B.o.B-Welcome To The Jungle Remix

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Jay-Z and Kanye West-Watch The Throne Review

After delays, rumours of unrest and much more, Monday saw the long-awaited release of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne. Arguably, one of the most anticipated collaborative albums in the past decade, it’s undoubtedly one of those rare events that captures the attention of the entire hip-hop community, consequentially resulting in thousands of reviews and opinions. Add one more to that list.

There’s been no hiding my positive opinions on Kanye West and his work over the years, whilst any appreciation for Jay-Z at this stage surely goes without saying (regardless of The Blueprint 3). The collaboration of the two should theoretically give rise to one of the finest synergies in hip-hop history, with two vanguards of hip-hop cementing the genre’s dominance across music.

Theoretically, anyway.
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Bone Thugs-N-Harmony-We Workin’

For this weeks edition of Monster Mondays, Swizz Beatz has decided to release a collaboration with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony from the vaults.

It’s a solid but typical Bone Thugs-N-Harmony song to be honest. The dark, eery beat and the rapid fire yet melodic flow are present, with the subject matter pertaining to the theme of “Workin’” and thuggery. It’s definitely worth a listen but you can see why it was left unreleased, both Swizz Beatz and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are capable of better.

Download from here.

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Swizz Beatz and Eve-Everyday (Coolin') Video

Handing in my late pass here, sorry. In recent months, I’ve started to appreciate Swizzy a little more. He may not be the most consistent producer (but when he gets it right he gets it very right) and is by no means a great rapper, but there’s something about his energy that’s incredibly infectious, and his appreciation for almost all forms of art and fashion definitely makes me respect him.

As I said in my initial review, this is a production that can really go either way in terms of being liked or hated, though I did correctly predict that it would grow on me with a few listens: it has indeed, and whilst its certainly no lyrical masterpiece, it’s pretty catchy and wouldn’t be the worst thing to catch in a club. Hell, at least it’s something a little different, and that should be commended. The monochrome video is a nice touch too, and a simple style that befits this relatively unfussy song.

Eve takes the win on this one though, not only for her verse, but for that swagger and confidence she seems to exude from every pore. Nice to see her back on the scene, and hopefully we’ll get more of her soon.

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Swizz Beatz and Eve-Everyday (Coolin’)

After a brief hiatus, Swizzy’s #MonsterMondays returns with the first single from his upcoming album, Haute Living. Swizzy serves up one of those slightly off-beat productions that can go either way, but I’m not sure it works for me.

Sacrificing most of the percussion for claps and clicks feels a bit 2007 (and even then I didn’t particularly like it), and the lack of thicker drum loops highlights the shrill nature of the synth, which eventually become a bit painful on the ear. However, as with most Swizzy productions, it may be one that grows on you with more listens. The raps aren’t classic by any means, but Swizzy takes on the relatively unusual beat fairly well, whilst Eve definitely takes the award for best verse on the track with a decent performance.

Swizz Beatz-Everyday (Coolin’) ft. Eve

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Travis Barker, Game, Swizz Beatz, Rick Ross & Lil’ Wayne–Can A Drummer Get Some Video

Very solid video for the mega-star collaboration from Travis Barker’s debut album (which is out now by the way folks!). One of those songs that’s very easy to listen to in a playlist, it’s also one of the few genuinely likeable all-star tracks amidst a sea of them.

The video has a sketchy, alternative cinematography that keeps things dynamic and interesting, whilst the artists come together in an old-school ‘band’ style that gives this a very organic feel. Being interspersed with shots from various street/outdoor scenes is OK and whilst the scenes themselves fit with the audio nicely, the constant switching does get a little distracting at times in taking the focus away from the more enjoyable ‘band’ scenes. Solid video content-wise though, and definitely embellishes the audio. Be sure to grab that album!

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R&B Fridays: Episode 92

A pretty short episode this week, but with good reason. Recently, it’s become a bit annoying (for me, probably not for many of you) that most episodes are comprised primarily of pop music, and not R&B. This week, I wanted to avoid that, and hence I can say I’m genuinely a fan of this week’s episode, which I’ve not been able to say for a while.

Couple of big singles this week, including the first single from Ryan Leslie’s upcoming third abum Les Is More. Only really the two relevant posts from the week gone by, with the superb Jhene Aiko releasing her new album/mixtape for free, and Odd Future’s Frank Ocean dropping off a great piece of R&B with Dave Raps. Be sure to check both out, as whilst they may not be familiar names, they’re very much worth a look. Click below for the rest of the goods.
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R&B Fridays: Episode 91

Yeah, we’re delayed again. You’re all pretty much used to it now though. When we hit that 100th episode, I may just have to rename this to something a little less ‘day specific’…

Catch-up: delayed visuals for Usher’s More, the video for Yasmin’s Finish Line and an official remix, very enjoyable video for Musiq and Swizzy’s single, XV’s remix of Erin Christine’s Naked, and finally Wiz Khalifa jumps on a remix with Cee-Lo.

Lots of features and guest spots in this week’s episode, so get your mice at the ready and get clicking below.
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Musiq SoulChild and Swizz Beatz-Anything Video

Huge fan of this uplifting, positive track, and Musiq comes through with a solid video that entertains and keeps that vibe going.

The ‘story’ style of the track is captured perfectly as Musiq tries to prove his commitment to his lady of choice, despite the obvious and numerous distractions. It’s a good reflection of the lyrics, and the sort of simple videomaking that’s increasingly rare.

Lots of lights and energy in the last third too, which plays off this jazzy, upbeat production nicely. I’ve actually developed quite an appreciation for Swizzy’s verse on this track too, as his mellow style offers a likeable contrast to Musiq’s more passionate vocals. Very enjoyable track and backed by a solid video.

Audio can be grabbed from here.

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Mook, Jadakiss, Shella and Akon-Freaky

Swizzy’s #MonsterMondays is a little confusing this week. It’s being labelled with a big Ruff Ryders Indy logo, and I’m not entirely sure what that’s meant to represent. There were rumblings a few months ago of a Ruff Ryders reunion, so I’m not sure where this fits in but there we are.

The track is pretty much everything you mainstream heads could want: catchy Akon hook, very energetic, club friendly production and simple verse work. I’m not really enjoying it as the beat seems stuck in that awkward spot between old school and modern, and hence comes off as a 1999-2001 era reject. It’s just too formulaic for my liking, but I expect the mainstream fans will enjoy it.

Mook, Jadakiss, Shella and Akon-Freaky

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Swizz Beatz-Co-Pilot ft. Snoop Dogg & JR Reid

New #MonsterMondays from Swizzy, this time enlisting Snoop and JR Reid.

A bit of reggae influence + Snoop was always going to envoke a song about a certain illegal substance. Despite the predictable subject matter, this isn’t bad. The use of auto-tune really wasn’t necessary for JR Reid but I can get over it; decent chilled track to vibe to.

Get your hands on this illicit track below.

Swizz Beatz – Co-Pilot ft. Snoop Dogg & JR Reid

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Travis Barker-Give The Drummer Some [Album Cover + Track List]

The new LP by Travis Barker is nearing release, it’ll be available in just over two weeks! If you haven’t already go cop his mixtape (by clicking here) he did with DJ Whoo Kid, I’m told it’s rather good.

The artwork on the left here for this is pretty crazy and quite frankly freaks me out a little, I honestly can’t look at it for more than 3 seconds without having to look away *shudders*

Features on this new album include the likes of Game, Ludacris, Lupe Fiasco, RZA, Raekwon, Kid Cudi, Lil’ Wayne, Bun B, as well as my favourite hip hop group about: SLAAAAUGHTERHOUUUSE! You can check the tracklist out yourself by clicking below.

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Swizz Beatz-Top Down ft. Nas

A version of this without Nas featured on the computer game Grand Theft Auto IV, it had always been a track intended for Nas but Swizz had this to say at the time:

“The record was originally for Nas,” he explained. “I got Nas’ vocals already. But I can’t do Nas, and his energy is not right on there. It would be dead weight. No disrespect, but it can’t be dead weight if I can’t make it feel like reality. I need the sh*t crazy. I need to shoot a video! It’s gotta be another ‘It’s Me B*tches,’ but bigger. I could easily pull a Nas card and have people be like, ‘Nas is spazzing on the verse.’ But it has to be a movie. I got it. It just gotta make sense.”

This week’s #MonsterMondays sees Swizz unleash the Nas version in all its glory!

Swizz Beatz – Top Down ft. Nas

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Travis Barker and DJ Whoo Kid-Let The Drummer Get Wicked Mixtape

As promised, here is the highly-anticipated download of Travis Barker and DJ Whoo Kid‘s incredible mixtape Let the Drummer Get Wicked. Along with Kanye and Jay-Z‘s “H.A.M.” remix, appearances are bananas on this one – Lil’ Wayne, The Game, The Clipse, J. Cole, Royce da 5’9, Lupe Fiasco, Lloyd Banks, Fabolous, Wyclef, Jim Jones, Wiz Khalifa, Tony Yayo, Big K.R.I.T., Wacka Flocka, Tech N9ne, Killa Kyleon, Too $hort, Big Sean, Three 6 Mafia and Xzibit.

Looking forward to giving this a listen, as Travis’ track record with remixes is face-shatteringly good. Hopefully we’ll catch a glimpse of some of his original material on the upcoming Give The Drummer Some album too, as I enjoyed the first single from the album, and have no doubt Travis will serve up a consistent body of good material. Either way, be sure to give this one a listen and get prepared for that album!

Travis Barker and DJ Whoo Kid-Let The Drummer Get Wicked Mixtape

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Travis Barker, Game and Swizz Beatz-Can A Drummer Get Some? (Live)

I’m certainly enjoying the high-octane, energetic single from Travis’ upcoming Give The Drummer Some album, and here he grabs two of the track’s co-stars for a performance on Jimmy Kimmel’s show.

It’s one of those tracks that’s really made for a loud, live environment and it’s performed pretty well by all involved, keeping the energy levels up (despite seemingly getting the wrong demographics in the audience…!) and doing justice to the original. Give The Drummer Some coming soon.

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Swizz Beatz-Time To Get Paid ft. DMX

Now this is more like it. For some reason Swizz Beatz decided to release a second #MonsterMondays for us, also featuring DMX and this one for me is much better than the previous one.

This really does feel like the old DMX, he spits with the same energy that made him such a favourite with the fans back when he was on top. Bringing back that relatable sound with some emotion, in particular he closes out the song as he sings: “all my life, I’ve been struggling, problems I’ve been juggling….but I’ma be all right.”

The Biggie sample Swizz Beatz uses for the hook also goes down very well with me.

Swizz Beatz – Time To Get Paid ft. DMX

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Swizz Beatz ft. DMX–Change Is Gonna Come

Swizz Beatz has dropped his latest instalment of #MonsterMondays, linking up once again with his former Ruff Ryder compatriot DMX, as he did on one of his first MM tracks here.

This time round, Swizz and DMX take on the legendary Sam Cooke classic A Change Is Gonna Come, and in my eyes you really can’t go wrong with this track, it’s such a classy single to remix. Any B.o.B stans (like me…) might actually remember his cover version on his B.o.B vs Bobby Ray Mixtape way back in ’09. Swizz really doesn’t have to do much with the track, but gives it a slightly more uplifting beat, and interestingly X seems to have toned down his aggression somewhat, even giving us a sample of his singing voice on the intro. Maybe ‘change is gonna come’ and X is going to stay out of jail…

Swizz Beatz ft. DMX–Change Is Gonna Come

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Timbaland-808 ft. Brandy

Another week, another Timbaland Thursday. Much like Swizz Beatz ‘Monster Mondays‘, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the quality of the tracks Timbaland’s been coming out with. These are essentially throwaway tracks, but from a production point of view, it’s arguable that the strength of these are better than what we heard on his Shock Value 2, or the beats he gave Jay-Z for Blueprint 3.

This track is no different, another very good beat for us to enjoy with Brandy providing some vocals to add to the goodness.

Timbaland – 808 ft. Brandy

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Swizz Beatz vs. Fela Kuti pt. 1

Swizzy’s artistic integrity has spiked recently, largely due to his recently-revealed talents as a painter (he’s unbelievably good!), and he continues that trend with a ‘mash-up mixtape’ (of sorts) with the musical stylings of the late, great Fela Kuti.

Meshing some of Swizzy’s most popular tracks with vintage efforts from Fela’s bac catalogue, it’s a valiant effort at blending old with new. It doesn’t quite work every time, and understandably so given the vast distances and time periods between the two styles, with Swing Your Rag/Who No Know Go Know in particular sounding very clashed and cluttered. Equally however, it does come off quite spectacularly in parts: the Money In The Bank/Yellow Fever crossover works brilliantly, and utilises the upbeat jazz style of Yellow Fever brilliantly to add a fun, jovial feel to Swizzy’s track. Worth grabbing overall, and respect is due to Swizz for what is a considerably original and brave idea. Another win for #MonsterMondays.

Swizz Beatz vs. Fela Kuti pt. 1

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R&B Fridays: Episode 85

To me, any time between midnight and 4am counts as the ‘night before’, so by my reckoning this is still a Friday night and hence on time. Don’t question it, just embrace it.

Short recap this week, with just the three noteworthy and relevant posts from the R&B/pop world: Tinie Tempah and Ellie Goulding’s collaboration got some visuals, a pretty interesting electro remix of Diddy-Dirty Money’s I Hate That You Love Me was liberated, and finally Musiq Soulchild came through with one of the better tracks of January, with his first single from his upcoming sixth album.

Formalities are now dealt with, commence your clicking as of right…now.

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Game-Purp and Patron, Disc 1 and 2

Much anticipated mixtape from Game, one that’s been talked about all day today. Really looking forward to this, especially as a few tracks leaked earlier that were of a very good standard. Check out the tracklist below, which contains some huge features and producers. You can preview and download (click the artwork) the mixtape in the widget here.
1. L.A. Times (Prod. By Ervin “EP” Pope)
2. In My ’64 Feat. Pharrell & Snoop Dogg (Prod. By The Neptunes)
3. Soo Woo Feat. Lil Wayne (Prod. By Bink)
4. Living Better Now Feat. Detail & Tools (Prod. By DJ shake)
5. R.I.P. Story (Prod. By Nottz)
6. Purp & Patron (Prod. By DJ Shake)
7. I’m The King (Remix) Feat. Mistah FAB & The Jacka (Prod. By 1500 Or Nothin)
8. Taylor Made Feat. Wiz Khalifa (Prod. By Che Vicious)
9. Childrens Story (Prod. By Ervin “EP” Pope)
10. Dead (Prod. By 1500 Or Nothin)
11. Ferrari Lifestyle Feat. Fabolous (Prod. By D.A.Dorman)
12. The Kill (Prod. By Cool N Dre)
13. Heart Breaker Feat. Rev Burke (Prod. By The RZA)
14. Purp & Yellow (Skeetox Remix) Feat. Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa
15. Burn NY Feat. Mysonne (Prod. By Mike City)
16. Bad Intentions (Prod. By DJ Shake)
17. Khaki Suit Feat. T-Pain (Prod. By T-Pain)
18 Wonderful World (Prod. By DJ Shake)
19. Ashes To Ashes Feat. Rick Ross
20. Dedicated Feat. Pharrell (Prod. By The Neptunes)
21. Soft Rhodes Feat. Ashanti (Prod. By Dr. Dre)
22. I Just Want To Fuck (Prod. By Denaun Porter)
23. 187 Feat. Lil Boosie
24. Whip It Feat. Fabolous (Prod. By DJ Haze)
25. Favorite DJ Remix Feat. Clinton Sparks & Jim Jones (Prod. By Green Lantern)
26. Supastar Feat. Ashley Cole & Mike Epps (Prod. By Ervin “EP” Pope)
27. Can A Drummer Get Some Feat. Travis Barker, Swizz Beatz, Lil Wayne & Rick Ross
28. History Feat. Doug E. Fresh, Big Daddy Kane & KRS One (Prod. By Ervin “EP” Pope)
29. The Ocean Feat. Dr. Dre (Prod. By Dr. Dre & Che Vicious)

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Musiq SoulChild and Swizz Beatz-Anything

What a year for soul this could be. Raphael Saadiq’s album is due any minute, Maxwell has confirmed a 2011 release for his next project, and now Musiq comes through with the first single from TheMagicTheMusic.

Enlisting Swizzy to assist on the production, Musiq serves up a fantastically jazzy, upbeat and lively number that crosses those R&B, funk and soul boundaries effortlessly. The production has a very retro-disco feel, with heavy synths alongside the odd guitar pluck making for busy and exciting melodies, whilst the solid percussion line will certainly keep your head nodding. Great vocals as ever from Musiq, switching his style up brilliantly to infuse positivity and passion into his lyrical message of commitment and monogamy to his significant other. A very celebratory, uptempo track that will sit well with almost anyone, I highly recommended giving this one a listen.

Musiq SoulChild-Anything ft. Swizz Beatz

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Travis Barker ft. Game, Lil' Wayne, Rick Ross & Swizz Beatz-Can A Drummer Get Some

This is the title track (sort of) from Travis Barker’s soon to be released album Give The Drummer Some. We’ve already heard a couple of joints that are supposedly from the album here and here, and I have to say they haven’t really lived up to my expectations.

The first thing that’ll catch your eye with this, as it did mine, is the line up. Swizz and Travis together absolute nail the production, as heavy electric guitars, deep bass and big drums combine to give these three fine rappers a majestic platform to lay down their bars. Game, Weezy and Ross all suit this big production style and each of them gives us an aggressive verse, in-keeping with the vibe of track. A perfect track to get you in the mood to kick some ass.

Travis Barker ft. Game, Lil’ Wayne, Rick Ross & Swizz Beatz-Can A Drummer Get Some

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Swizz Beatz-Freaky I Iz ft. Chris Brown, Kevin McCall & Diesel

Swizz Beatz hits us with another Monster Mondays special, this time enlisting Chris Breezy, Kevin McCall (of Deuces fame) and Diesel (who I’m not really familiar with).

Originally I was pretty sceptical about Swizz’s jacking of the weekly trend, but in fairness to him the material he’s put out every week has been extremely strong, including this very song. The production on this I’d go as far to say is exceptional, I wouldn’t have even known it was a Swizz Beatz production if I’d just heard it randomly (this is a good thing). Chris Brown slays the track as you’d expect which is supplemented by some good rhymes by the two rappers involved.

You can go listen to this yourself, as well as download it, by clicking here.

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