Six days into June and there’s been a whirlwind of new music–but there are two camps dominating the streams and soon soundwaves: G.O.O.D. Music and OVO Sound. There’s alway been competition between team leaders Kanye West and Drake, mostly brotherly than anything else, but it seems like this summer it’ll intensify as G.O.O.D. Music preps Cruel Summer follow-up, Cruel Winter, and solo albums by Pusha T, Travis Scott, Big Sean, and more. Here’s how both camps did when going head to head.
Pusha T featuring Jay Z, “Drug Dealers Anonymous”
Pusha T kicked kicked off a streak of singles from the G.O.O.D. camp with the Jay Z-assisted “Drug Dealers Anonymous.” Both Pusha and Jay keep it real about their drug dealing days over eerie production courtesy of DJ Dahi; Jay spits deadly autobiographical verses while simultaneously weaving in timely references (“Damn Daniel”) and addressing timely issues (a sip of Lemonade). To the haters, he delivered. The cherry on top was Jay addressing the ignorance spilled by The Blaze’s Tomi Lahren when rapping “Fourteen-year drug dealer and still counting / Who deserves the domed of freedom is my accountant / He been hula hooping though loop holes, working around shit.”
Travis Scott and Young Thug featuring Quavo, “Pick Up the Phone”
After some back-and-forth with record labels, Travis Scott has released a wavy track “for the kids.” “Pick Up The Phone” features verses (and ad-libs) by all three rappers drenched in Auto-tune, about wanting their girls to, you guessed it, “pick up the phone.” The real winner here is Vinylz for the gummy production that really makes the song repeat-worthy.
Kanye West, Gucci Mane, Travis Scott, Desiigner, Quavo, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Yo Gotti, “Champions”
“It’s over for you Gucci clones.” GUCCI IS BACK. After being released from prison after serving a 3-year prison stint, Gucci Mane is featured on two verses on “Champions”… two whole verses! The song is piled with charismatic characters and stays true to each artist, which leaves the listener wanting more of the first single of Cruel Winter, even though it’s more than five minutes long.
DJ Khaled featuring Drake, “For Free”
Counted as the first single off of his upcoming Major Key release, “For Free” (produced by Nineteen85 and Majid Jordan’s Jordan Ullman) is smooth, sumptuous and perfect for the summer. The track features Drake wondering, “Is it just me, or is this so, so good I shouldn’t have to fuck for free?” A fair question.
Gucci Mane featuring Drake, “Back On Road”
One of the tracks that Drake released on his Beats 1 OVO Sound Radio show was a track by the Ice Cream man. Drake spits the hook, but of course Gucci steals the song with some honesty: “Facing prison, drug addiction, it’s like I’m battling with myself / I’d shook off all my demons now I’m back to myself.” Gucci subs those friends that turned their back on him while he was in prison, and shouts out his girl (as he did on “Champions”) Keyshia Ka’oir for remaining faithful and awaiting his release.
Drake featuring Justin Bieber, “One Dance” (Remix)
When Justin Bieber teased his verse to the “One Dance” remix at a recent show, many were twiddling their thumbs for its release. Finally it’s here, and Bieber kills it. He really puts in effort, flexing his vocals from beginning to end. It’s so good, you forget he’s out here sucking on pacifiers.
Drake, “4 AM In Calabasas”
Every now and then, Drake puffs his chest a little further out and makes his subliminal shots pretty clear; such is the case with “4AM In Calabasas.” Drake throws shots at Puff Daddy, Joe Budden, Meek Mill and rappers which he thought “looked out for one another/Saw us all as brothers in the struggle.” And, Drake being Drake, he throws in some 90s R&B references, such as the one that touches on Total and SWV’s rivalry: “Just Total the hits and see what you find/ You SWV ‘cause you weak and I’m always on your mind.”
Roy Woods, “Gwan Big Up Urself”
The newest OVO Sound signee comes through with a dancehall-influenced track which set off the string of song premieres on OVO Sound Radio over the weekend. It’s upbeat, but doesn’t carry too much weight.
While OVO Sound released more songs than G.O.O.D. Music, ‘Ye’s camp consistently rolled over the high energy from song to song. Meanwhile, the moods ranged more within OVO Sound, but the level of intensity remained impressive.
The winners of round one of G.O.O.D. Music vs. OVO Sound is… GUCCI MANE.
I mean, c’mon. The guy is fresh out of prison and knocking out verses as if he never left! G.O.O.D. Music and OVO both welcomed Gucci back with open arms. Guwop was never going to lose this battle, even if he wasn't technically in the battle at all.
Watch the first episode of The Drake Effect below: