Goldlink – “Crew” f/ Brent Faiyaz & Shy Glizzy (p/ Teddy Walton) (2017)

It’s ten minutes to midnight in the US but I’m in Costa Rica so technically this post doubles this blogs output for 2017 and it is 100% entirely for songs named “Crew”. You can’t hear this song played on DC radio anymore without the “Grammy-nominated” introduction and of course it’s not only completely deserved but also hella overdue. Jon Caramanica detailed the Grammys “troubled” relationship with rap last year after it was announced that they were changing the “best rap/sung collaboration” category to “best rap/sung performance” so definitely read that if it wasn’t already super obvious to you, but to people in the DC metro area the curtain was drawn back after the Recording Academy failed to recognize the absolute perfection of Shy’s “Cut It” remix. What other diss track ethers it’s intended target in the first ten seconds and spends the next four minutes gracefully pouring dirt on the corpse? “Chain hit the floor and broke boys had a fucking scrimmage”. Smh.

And so the Grammys decided to course correct and nominate the most Grammy worthy single this year. I remember when this joint dropped last December and first reactions were pretty unanimous. Even the Juggalos took a second to appreciate the hook bfore launching into a rant about a Tupac T-shirt and Real Rap. Clearly this song was fuego and even more so when the mixtape album dropped a couple months later. “Crew” already made perfect sense on its own but when in the context of the project, the way Shy’s verse hit the pocket with the “HEY nice to meet” as soon as Goldlink finished his verse was *mwah*. Five straight tracks of local features ranging from Mya to Lil dude, then you shout out “BITCH THATS JUST THE WAY I SLEEP” and slide in to the under appreciated “Kokamoe freestyle”. So then it was a little bit not too surprising when they dropped a second cut, a radio cut, with a third hook splitting the verses and even less surprising when “Crew” spent the next 47 weeks on the charts.

Maybe this is necessary idk. I never took a music theory class in college so I’m not #educated. Maybe there’s some psychological Phil Spector work at play when humans hear three hooks the way people on average never change the channel after commercials say “But wait there’s more”. What I do know is that in the 15 Years this category has existed its been a rotating cast of the same 6 artists, Jay-Z has won 7 times, the Grammys changed the category to “better reflect” the changing landscape and went and nominated Jay Z again. “Crew” was certified platinum the minute it dropped.