The Top 3.5 Hip-Hop Songs Of The Week

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The worst result of 21st-century technological advances, at least from a musical point of view, is the dual proliferation of DIY recording equipment and social media, allowing millions of—notice the quotation marks—"musicians" to flood inboxes, festival backpacks, Facebook timelines and Twitter mentions with "hot" tracks. Rappers could be seen as the worst offenders, since rap songs are the easiest to record, needing only a mic, an instrumental and minimal mastering to work.

As a result, Internet browsers are all being transformed into freelance (and usually unpaid) A&R reps, sifting through hundreds of songs before finding something that's worth loading into an iPod. The job can be quite overwhelming—but have no fear. Every Wednesday, we'll bring you the week's best hip-hop tracks so you can clear your inbox and stop playing the guessing game. Here are the three and a half great songs that popped up this week.

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Underwhelmed And Overstimulated, Part IV: The Joys Of Nicola Roberts And The Problem With Odd Future

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Nicola Roberts, having herself a lucky day with the Village Voice.
Sound of the City's year-end roundtable, with contributions from Tom Ewing, Eric Harvey, Maura Johnston, Nick Murray, and Katherine St. Asaph, continues. Follow along here.

Hey all. Again, thanks to Maura for putting this together, and thanks to Katherine for not only writing another outstanding recap of 2011 but also handing off to me no less topics than Bon Iver, PBR&B, K-Pop, all hip-hop, the cloud, and trollgaze. Where should I start?

Not with trollgaze, but we'll get there, for better or for worse. How about Nicola Roberts? I completely agree with you on that record, Tom, and I know from conversation that Maura and Katherine do too. (Eric?) I'd imagine that my experience with it was pretty common: Blown away by the singles, and by the fact that Cinderella's Eyes was almost a Girls Aloud album, it took me a while to allow it to develop into much more than that. I still enjoyed it plenty—amid the worst year for music ever, how could you not?—but not as much as I did once I started paying closer attention to its latter half.

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Kelefa Sanneh Has Found Earl Sweatshirt, Who Would Like You To Lay Off His Mom

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The new New Yorker contains Yet Another Story On Odd Future, although Kelefa Sanneh's piece outstrips its many bibliographic counterparts thanks to its particular focus on the LA hip-hop collective's most sloganeered member, Earl Sweatshirt. The 8,000-word piece, which took nine months of gestation and research to complete (oh, those media outlets that don't work on blog time!), contains interviews with Earl's father (the South African poet Keorapetse Kgositsile), mother (who does not want to be identified) and the M.I.A. rapper, real name Thebe Neruda Kgositsile, himself.

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