Diamonds & Wood: There’s Hope For The Kids Yet, Zombie Strippers, Dying During A Threesome, White Bruno Mars And More

"Diamonds & Wood" is an ongoing series in which music critic Shea Serrano breaks down the 5 hip-hop tracks you need to hear this week.

I don't know if this is a metaphor or an analogy or an anecdote or whatever, but I know it needs to be told so I'm telling it.

For the last few years, I've coached an Under 15 football team in the fall (Zone Champs two years in a row, playa) and an Under 15 basketball team in the winter (Zone Champs in football two years in a row, playa). Minus the obvious headaches, it's almost always a tremendous amount of fun.

To wit—This past season one of the football boys found an old athletic cup and was walking around the locker room with it on his face pretending to be Hannibal Lector. He thought it was high comedy until someone told him what an athletic cup is used for and then, holy fuck, he nearly lost his mind. Someone shouted, "HANNIBAL COCKTOR" at him. My mouth was like, "Don't say 'cock,' boy." My brain was like, "Good one, kid.

Anyway, the teams...almost all of the players were likeable this year, but were I to rank them, none would rate higher than "J".

"J" played football (wide receiver, 0 catches) and "J" played basketball (point guard, led the league in passing the ball to peoples' feet), but mostly "J" just tried to drink Gatorade and avoid anything too strenuous. He is a goofy, happy, nevershutthefuckup-y kid, and despite his assertion that he is the obvious heir to LeBron James, always seemed more concerned with trying to make everyone happy than anything related to putting a ball somewhere for points—your typical locker room "glue guy".

Two days ago, "J" walked into the gym. He had a thin burn mark running left to right across two inches of his forehead. (It's worth noting that "J" has an especially large head, magnified by the fact that the rest of body weighs, at most, 25 pounds. During basketball season, several of the kids started calling him "LeHead.") I said, "Boy, what on Earth did you do?" A big, toothsome smile shot across his face. "I burned my head, coach," he responded. "Dude, I know. How?" He smiled again, "Smelling pancakes, coach."

SMELLING. MOTHERFUCKING. PANCAKES.

He said his mom had pancakes for breakfast, that he LOVES pancakes, that they were stacked up on a plate on the kitchen table, and that when he leaned in to steal some of their aroma he unintentionally touched his head on them.

I read 100 horrible stories about 100 horrible things happening on planet Earth this past week and they were all washed away by "J".

God bless him.

Now let's listen to some rap music.

1. Killer Mike, "Big Beast," featuring Bun B, T.I., Trouble and El-P

I didn't wake up explicitly hoping to see someone get their tongue cut off and I didn't wake up explicitly hoping to see a separate guy get dismembered and then fed to strippers, but that doesn't mean I'm not glad I did. Hard, hard, super hard agro rap here. Upload this into your iPod. Play it while you work out. Bench press 2,000 pounds. Punch someone in their dumb face. All of that.

2. XV, "AaaHH! Real Monsters," featuring Schoolboy Q

Real, actual rap. XV's Popular Culture tape is actually supposed to come out today. It'll probably be good. Just a heads up, is all. XV was born in '85 so I guess he's the right ago to have been a fan of this show.

3. MMG (Gunplay, Stalley, Wale, Meek Mill, Rick Ross), "Power Circle," featuring Kendrick Lamar

"The square root of a kilo is me, n***a." - Rick Ross

Rick Ross is either really good at math or really bad at math, I'm not certain (bad, I'm guessing). Still, it's hard to deny how effective this swarming, unnervingly swell is. Verses rankings are as follows: Gunplay > Kendrick Lamar > Rick Ross > Wale > Meek Mill > a fart noise > Stalley

4. Boaz, "9 to 5"

Ideologically—or philosophically, or sonically, at least—this is the exact opposite of "Power Circle." Like that. Also, I assume this is Boaz the Pittsburgh emcee that recently signed with Rostrum (Wiz, Mac Miller), and not Boaz from the Bible, but who really knows anything these days. I mean, did you even read that story about that woman from Georgia that won a $3M settlement against a doctor because her husband died while they were having a threesome? The end of the world can't be that far away.

BTW, is dying during a threesome THE GREATEST way to die or THE WORST? Does it matter that it was two guys and one girl? Does it matter that the guy that died was a cop? Did he get to finish? DID HE DIE WHILE FINISHING? DID HE DIE AND THEN THE OTHER TWO DIDN'T NOTICE UNTIL THEY'D FINISHED? Roughly 1 billion questions on this one.

5. Cris Cab, "Good Girls (Don't Grow On Trees)," featuring Big Sean

We'll all just ignore the irony of asking Big Sean to rap about good girls because it seems pretty undeniable that the sing-song-y Cris Cab is going to be a goddamn superstar by this time next year. I mean, he's basically White Bruno Mars, and that's the greatest force since whatever took that dude's life in the middle of a threesome.

Shea Serrano is a writer living in Houston, TX. His work has appeared in the Houston Press, LA Weekly, Village Voice, XXL, The Source, Grantland and more. You can follow him on twitter here.

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