Features | Awards

The Close-Call Award for the One Good Song on an Otherwise Terrible Record

By Calum Marsh | 12 December 2011


Das Racist :: “Rainbow in the Dark”
from Relax
(Greedhead; 2011)

Pusha T :: “Raid (f/ 50 Cent)”
from Fear of God
(GOOD Music; 2011)

Das Racist’s formal label debut Relax and Pusha T’s solo mixtape debut Fear of God are very different records, of course, but they are identically terrible—that is, terrible in a way that’s unexpected and unfortunate. Relax finds Das Racist sounding tired and disinterested, the total opposite of the funny and dynamic crew responsible for last year’s Sit Down, Man and Shut Up, Dude. The latter of those mixtapes yielded, in addition to the much-hyped “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell,” choice cut “Rainbow in the Dark,” a fan favorite so popular it was unsurprisingly recycled for use on their first capital-a Album, and a track so good it only serves to show off how dismal the other material is by comparison. It’s clever, lively, focused—basically everything their newest record isn’t, which is a real shame.

Much like “Rainbow in the Dark,” Pusha T’s excellent “Raid” provides a clear example of how good the forgettable Fear of God mixtape could have been—and, because it directly precedes the unlistenable Kanye collaboration “Touch It,” it provides a fleeting reminder of how far Pusha’s fallen. “Raid,” though, is a pretty much perfect, a glitsy banger sporting a great piano-led beat and a (surprisingly) killer verse from none other than 50 Cent. It’s a veritable miracle that across the vastly superior Fear of God II Pusha deigned to follow the “Raid” mold more consistently (and in fact the track reappears there, which suggests that even Pusha himself realized how crucial a track it was the first time around), because without that eventual upswing things would be looking pretty dim for the future of the dude’s solo career. Here’s hoping that if we do get another Clipse record, it’s more “Raid” than Till the Casket Drops (2009). Going so hard used to be second nature.

“Rainbow in the Dark”:

“Raid (f/ 50 Cent)”: