I forced down a gristly meal of Godsmack and Mudvayne in the last "Who Charted," so I'm gonna reward myself with something a little more palatable this month. In the immortal words of O.D.B., "Rappenin' is what's happenin'." Let's check out Billboard's Rap Songs chart:
1. DRAKE, "OVER" | I can get over his C-minus rapping and his little doofus cartoon-lizard voice. I can even give him a pass for his weird habit of citing all his pop-culture references like a research essay: "Bout to set it off (Jada Pinkett)"; "Everything is kosher, two thumbs up (Ebert and Roeper)." But there's one thing I can't forgive, Drake — your chorus: "Woof!" (Home Alone). I know you're new to the music thing, but here's how it is: what you've got are some notes — thanks to Auto-Tune — but what you're looking for is a tune. You can't just splatter them around willy-nilly and expect a melody to happen. You did a track with Mary J. Blige once, right? Call her and ask how it works. Oh, and there's also a thing called making your lines scan, but that's some high-level poetic shit that you'll hear about when you're older.
2. B.O.B FEAT. BRUNO MARS, "NOTHIN' ON YOU" | When last I visited this track, it was topping the Heatseekers chart. "Dude's going to be famous as hell," I estimated, and a few months later, he topped the Hot 100. I'm not gloating about being prescient, because any critic could have seen that coming. It would take a completely tin-eared dude with no concept of tunecraft to miss that call — and, fortunately, those people are too busy being Drake to do any criticism.
3. B.O.B. FEAT. HALEY WILLIAMS, "AIRPLANES" | More great rappenin' on this one, but its downfall is a maudlin chorus sung by the woman from Paramore. Skip the weepy-singy bits and you'll be fine. For the best experience, seek out "Airplanes Pt. II," which features one of the best Eminem verses in ages. (But skip the chorus on that one, too.)
4. LUDACRIS FEAT. NICKI MINAJ, "MY CHICK BAD" | After her insufferable fake-ditzy act in "Bed Rock," I was ready to write a plug-in for iTunes that detects and skips Nicki Minaj verses. To judge by this track, it may not be necessary. She doesn't knock it out of the park, but she holds her own next to Luda — which is no small feat. This just confirms my theory that Ludacris is a positive influence on young women's lives.
5. YOUNG JEEZY FEAT. PLIES, "LOSE MY MIND" | I was looking forward to some Jeezy because I thought it was finally time for something a little gullier, but nope — it's a dumb-shit club anthem. Doesn't play to Jeezy's strengths . . . and as for Plies, did I just hear him brag about paying for sex?
6. DJ KHALED FEAT. T-PAIN, LUDACRIS, SNOOP DOGG & RICK ROSS, "ALL I DO IS WIN" | Okay, so Luda, Snoop, and Ross do the rapping, T-Pain sings the hook, DJ Nasty & LVM did the beat . . . is it a dumb question to ask what the hell Khaled did on this track? Is getting those dudes in a room together a feat all by itself, or is he credited as the main artist because he's so good at yelling his own name at the beginning?