36-32

36“Here Comes the King”- Snoop Lion

Let’s take a second to imagine the Los Angeles fantasy rap concert. It would have to include newcomers like Kendrick Lamar and Tyler, The Creator and legends like Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. Now let’s say that each of them played a full set of crowd favorites and radio smashes, and that after three hours of head bobbing and childish screaming, Snoop Doggy Dogg came on stage and did nothing but play a trombone for three minutes before exiting. Can you guess which rapper would get the biggest ovation?

So yeah, Snoop gets a pass for this whole spiritual re-invigoration thing, regardless if his “Jamaican” accent so obviously doesn’t suit him or his listeners. If he truly experienced an emotional rebirth and needed to artistically express his newfound commitment, then bless him. If this whole thing is just a reason to fuck off to Jamaica and smoke weed under the impression of a clever rebranding ploy, then bless the Doggfather anyway. Snoop Lion the idea gets my stamp of approval even if no one thinks that Snoop Lion the musician deserves any recognition. Also, I didn’t totally hate “Here Comes The King.”

35. “Bubble Butt”- Major Lazer, Bruno Mars, Mystic, Tyga, and 2Chainz

The absurd video for Diplo’s faceless Major Lazer project isn’t anything new, and neither is the American DJ’s penchant for complicated and crowded Jamaican dancehall rhythms, giving voice to some of the island’s most talented but least known musicians. Of course, all of this is overshadowed by that chorus, a.k.a. the most intellectually stimulating thing Bruno Mars has ever sung, which I will print here if there’s any confusion: “Bubble butt/bubble bubble bubble butt/bubble butt/bubble bubble bubble butt/bubble butt/bubble bubble bubble butt/turn around/stick it out/show the world you got a…” Got that? Even if the entirety of this song and video is distasteful to you (and you wouldn’t be blamed if you did), one should at least recognize and admire Diplo’s willingness to venture into uncharted territories that somehow end up charting. Plus, we can always rely on Major Lazer to raise the misogyny bar on rap videos, which, save morality, is incredibly difficult to do.

34. “Go Kindergarten”- The Lonely Island and Robyn

“Go Kindergarten,” like every Lonely Island song, exposes and repurposes rap’s most ridiculous concepts (in this case, songs that command and instruct its dancers), all utilizing the help of professional beat makers and a famous friend. Jorma Taccone, Andy Sandberg, and Akiva Schriever don’t disappoint; they sound as ironically heavy as ever (“HAVE A MUTHAFUCKIN’ BABY ON THE FLOOR”) and even get Robyn to poke a little fun at her own trade (“Now raise your glass!/ And break the glass!/ And stomp your bare feet on the glass!”). They aren’t trailblazers (there’s certainly enough white rappers without talent who turn to comedy), but unlike most comedic musicians, they seem to know what they’re doing.

33. “Treasure”- Bruno Mars

I’ll be among the first to admit that “Treasure” sounds alarmingly and plagiarizing-ly close to this Breakbot song, but in the sense that a good amount of pop music over the last twenty years has been an exercise in applied Michael Jackson anyway, it’s not the worst offense that Bruno Mars could have committed. At least give him credit for embracing the whole Michael Jackson thing, knowingly coupling an unapologetic Jacko fanfic with an even more unapologetic red suited and disco-balled music video. He earns any comparisons to the great one as well; “Treasure” is the closest thing to Off The Wall era Michael anyone has ever achieved, and considering that Off The Wall is arguably the world’s greatest showman’s best album, Bruno Mars probably couldn’t have chosen a better thing to copy…

32. “Trying To Be Cool (Breakbot Remix)”- Phoenix

…but that doesn’t mean he gets a higher spot than the peeps he copied. Few remixes improve upon a band’s original work, especially when the band in question just a few years ago released one of the most triumphant albums in contemporary pop rock. But this is Breakbot we’re talking about, not a DJ that would selfishly alter a song’s identity while lazily keeping the hook for his/her own benefit. By itself, “Trying To Be Cool” is a good but not great declaration of Phoenix’s greatest strengths, and though an entirely enjoyable song, it doesn’t come close to the same pleasing experience one gets from letting the needle drop on “1901” for the first time. The remix serves as a needed edit; Breakbot understands that Phoenix isn’t to be messed with, and the end result is a tasteful reboot that turns a good pop song into a brilliant dance track.

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