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Hip-Hop Tastemakers Weigh-In on G.O.O.D. Music's 'Cruel Summer' Singles

With G.O.O.D. Music's debut album, Cruel Summer, scheduled for release next Tuesday (Sept. 18), VIBE tapped a handful of the hip-hop blog's top tastemakers for some honest opinions on the LP's singles released thus far. We know the "leak" is making its rounds but read what these rap experts think about the official releases.

@NavJosh (Navjosh) From Hip-Hop-N-More

"Mercy" was the first official single to be released from G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer and definitely stands out from the rest for me. The Lifted-produced song, which samples Dancehall legend Fuzzy Jones received a mixed response from critics and fans upon its release but eventually ended up being the biggest single from the album, topping the radio charts a couple of months ago. I call this one “annoyingly catchy”.

Kanye West, Pusha T, Big Sean & Jadakiss put a spin on Chief Keef’s street hit "Don’t Like" while Kanye and Pusha T rapped hard on "New God Flow." Both served as appetizers for the album but none of them stuck like "Mercy." While fans including myself ended up appreciating the latter, the single surprisingly failed to set the iTunes charts – or even my iTunes playlist ablaze.

"Clique" is the latest and obviously the biggest release so far because of a Jay-Z feature but again falls short of my expectations. While I would refrain from calling it “wack," it definitely sounds over produced. Sometimes as a fan, I just want to hear some normal stuff and not always over the top tunes which are screaming to be “different” from rest of the music out there. Kanye has been foreign to the former in the past few years.

@Aqua174 (Alvin Blanco) from HipHopWired

"Mercy" is the clear winner, for now. This joint was one of the summer's biggest records with every artist on the track killing his verse. "Clique" is just too new to include any "best" commentary, but Jay & Kanye on a song, with Big Sean holding his own, will at least be a contender. "New God Flow" is a lock for my second favorite because Pusha T goes bonkers on that joint. Word to Ric Flair.

@KarenCivil from KarenCivil.com

The build up to Cruel Summer has been, for the most part, a solid one. G.O.O.D. managed to do an exceptional job of letting their music do the talking and never flooding the market with an excess of tracks, thus always guaranteeing the demand remained higher than the supply. Having said that, the releases they did drop were hot (even though "New God Flow" never caught on as many initially expected). However, every leak paled in comparison into what was arguably the song of the summer, "Mercy."

-- First and foremost, the beat was as infectious as any part of the song. And the hook? Try hearing it at any club/cook out/any social setting you attended this summer and not rapping right along with it.
-- All the verses were like fingerprints. By that I mean, they were all different and each brought a distinguishable component to the song. Sean's erratic flow set the song off in perfect fashion (swerve). Pusha came with nothing but bars. The breakdown for Kanye's verse was damn near perfect. And 2 Chainz...
-- If people still found themselves under a rock after "Spend It," this was definitely the song which welcomed 2 Chainz into the pop world. Say whatever you will about Tit, but "Catch up to my campaign/Coupe the color of mayonnaise/I'm drunk and high at the same time/Drinkin' champagne on an airplane..." still stands as one of the most recognizable lines of the year, let alone summer.

So yes, for those reasons and more, "Mercy" gets my vote.

@SowmyaK (Sowmya Krishnamurthy) -- (VIBE, RollingStone, MTV)

"Mercy" is not only the biggest song that G.O.O.D. has leaked to date; it's the biggest hip-hop song of the year. LA, NYC, no matter where I go, this song gets played on the heaviest rotation. You may still not know what Fuzzy Jones is saying but MY GOD, this is one of the most sonically fresh songs I've heard in ages. Swerve.

@Daydog (Datwon Thomas) from VIBE

From what we've heard so far Kanye has three missions with the five songs (bolded below) he's allowed for leak release connected to Cruel Summer.

1. To make Big Sean a star. He's featured the Detroit tiger on "Clique", "Mercy" and "Don't Like (Remix)". Saying Big Sean is the future was a major statement, so Ye wants to keep his young gunner of the crew "in your face like a can of mase, baby." This constant exposure is making the rap "Booi" step up his game.
2. Make Pusha T your favorite street rap supplier. Pusha Ton has also been featured on three selections from the leaks ("Mercy", "New God Flow" and "Don't Like (Remix)"). All verses meaner than the last. With his confidence sky high from a little lyrical sparring earlier this year with Young Money Makers, Drake and Lil Wayne, King Push is feeling like the Kingpen he claims to be on his rhymes. And
3. That Kanye is still the best rapper in the game, period.

Instead of letting his crew handle some of the driving since it's a compilation album, Ye in-turn takes the wheel on every leak that's hit the streets, blogs and high-end bars that he does pop-up listening sessions at. From the reaffirming brashness of "Cold" with DJ Khaled, to the intricate detail of his new style life and love with the recent "Clique", Ye continues to twist his vivid imagination into his storybook lifestyle like no other (with arguably the exception of his "Big Brother"). The rest of the album will have the tough job of selling us on the added characters (aka features) and the extended delay of the music into the beginning of fall. But if anyone can turn in a quality project with pressure beyond measure, it's Kanye. Just this time he'll have a little bit of help, not that he needs it or anything though. Just ask Hov.

01. To The World – Kanye West, R. Kelly
02. Clique – Kanye West, Jay-Z & Big Sean
03. Mercy – Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz
04. New God Flow – Kanye West, Pusha T, Ghostface Killah

05. The Morning – Raekwon, Pusha T, Common, 2 Chainz, CyHi Da Prynce, Kid Cudi & D’Banj
06. Cold – Kanye West & DJ Khaled
07. Higher – The-Dream, Pusha T & Ma$e
08. Sin City – John Legend, Travi $ Scott, Teyana Taylor, CyHi Da Prynce & Malik Yusef
09. The One – Kanye West, Big Sean, 2 Chainz & Marsha Ambrosius
10. Creepers – Kid Cudi
11. Bliss – John Legend & Teyana Taylor
12. Don’t Like (Remix) – Kanye West, Chief Keef, Pusha T, Big Sean & Jadakiss

@RealLifeKaz (Kazeem Famuyide) from HipHopWired

I think the G.O.O.D. Music leaks have tempered with each release. As each song dropped my anticipation for the project lessened. "Mercy" was exciting and something new. I believe the "I Don't Like (Remix)" added something new to a track that was already great. They are both contenders for the "song of the summer," in my opinion. I think "Cold," or "Theraflu" or whatever they feel like calling it this week was a big song as far as Kanye talking about Kim openly for the first time, but it isn't a song I listened to a lot on my own accord. I think "New God Flow" would've been way better without the incessant chanting at the end of the song. Pusha T. was spitting like his life depended on it. As far as songs go, I'd still give "Mercy" the stamp as the stand out song from the leaks with "I Don't Like" as a close second. "Clique" is going to be a grower, I believe Hit-Boy really put his foot in that beat.

Once more, I believe these songs did more for Big Sean than it did for anyone else. The leaks made people take the kid seriously as a legitimate song wrecker. As in, he'll get on a song with anybody and completely take over and make it his own. He's held his own with some of the best rappers in the game and stood out in a way that only he could have.

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