For this article I am going to focus on Ilovemakonnen. Why do I think he is so amazing and deserves more recognition? There are plenty of reason’s, one being that Makonnen’s songs come across as an actually talented artist who is just playing around yet still somehow manages to make something worthwhile, something way to many rappers try and fail to do. Makonnen also brings a new wave approach to the repackaging of certain hip hop tropes, and a new wave approach to the art form of rap in general. One thing that rap as a whole tends to forget is that there are always new points of view that need to be shared and explored. Makonnen raps for all the nerdy kids who still sold / hustled / slang back in the day. He’s like if Lupe Fiasco grew up listening to way to much talking heads.
I want to help listeners get acquainted to ILoveMakonnen with songs that aren’t just “Tuesday” and “I don’t sell molly no more.” I also wanted to help people who are already fans discover some songs they might not have heard. Below I have created a list of 8 under the radar bangers that show why, currently, ILoveMakonnen is the most played musician on all the platforms I use.
ILoveMakonnen is simply at his best when a piano is involved somewhere on the track. Somewhere there’s an alternative universe where Makonnen and Chance The Rapper aren’t famous and they both work at the same bar as jazz lounge piano rappers.
2.Down 4 So Long Remix
If you have already heard some of Makonnen’s back catalog then you have probably heard of his 6 minute rap ballad Down 4 So Long. This is the more palatable and catchy remix that features Ezra Koenig, from Vampire Weekend, and Despot, the original white gangster of rap. Seriously look up Despot and be amazed at the fact that you don’t know who this man is. This remix was financed by Red Bull when Makonnen was first at his height, and just fair warning, you will play this song doooozens of times, also Ezra Koenig kills Makonnen on his own track. Ezra Koenig’s verse is the DEFINITION of quaint things, I need someone to give me more rap like that verse.
3.Piano Class / Dream Panther Remix
I should apologize now because every person I have played that song for makes the exact same reaction once it ends, “da fuck! its over?!” Background info on this track is that it’s an older Makonnen track that a very talented producer by the name of Dream Panther, remixed into a way more beautiful track. Dream Panther puts out an extremely low amount of content btw but I just found out he put out an album awhile back on Bandcamp (https://dreampanther.bandcamp.com/album/memory-drunk)that’s filled with beautiful experimental instrumentals.
4.Leave It There
Hard core stan’s probably already know this track but I had to include it on this list. Makonnen can tend to get repetitive with the words on his tracks and Jermaine Dupri would definitely accuse him of “buying bars” but with Makonnen, you just don’t care.
5.H.O.M.E. with Trinidad James
I don’t know what in the hell Trinidad James is talking about when he say’s “smile in your face, you the bird in your pocket, that’s the recipe.” Either way though Makonnen is at his best on this collaboration with Trinidad Jame’s artistic approach to say f*ck the hater. Makonnen does chorus duties and ends the song with his own verse.
6.Still Workin It ft Rich The Kid
This song is the song that makes you want to go to work, makes you want to trap, makes you want to do whatever you need to do. Makonnen kills it with his verse and the chorus, also Rich The Kid does a good one as well and I don’t even like that artist.
*Sidenote, there are doooozens of cities that call themselves “Still (Steel) Cities”. So to the rappers from those towns, how haven’t you made a remix to this song with that concept?
7.Love It w/ Sonny Digital & Key
Not going to lie, I don’t bang with Key, but everyone on this song get the job more then done. The song has an overall positive message, which is “Life is a b*tch, can’t do nothing but love it!”
*When Sonny Digital and ILoveMakonnen link up together, it’s always going to be pure gold.