I’m not going to front. Swizz Beatz has been the target of a few of my jokes over the last few months as his, um, subpar rapping skills (Lord, Lord, Lord) and often repetitive production (Gucci Time) have popped up on our pages. So it was with a certain amount of skepticism that I pressed play on his new Monster Mondays joint, King Tut, and found myself pleasantly surprised. The beat, of course handled by Alicia’s baby daddy, leans heavily on N.E.R.D. inspired horns (see Popular Demand and God Bless Us All) but still sounds fresh and moving, and while Swizzy’s flow is slow, dare I say the man’s lyricism is improving by the minute? I mean he works in not one but two Eric B. and Rakim references. Speaking of which, even if you aren’t feeling Mr. Beatz’ mic work, bringing on Rakim, one of the greatest rappers to ever breathe, should help balance things nicely. Who knows what next Monday holds in store, but I like the direction we’re headed in.