Listening to “Hit Me”, the mind-blowingly brilliant new single from New Orleans rapper Mystikal, I find myself genuinely puzzling over the elephant-in-the-room question that it raises: is it okay to like – no, scratch that: love – a song made by someone who has done really bad things in the past? Without going into the specifics of his misdemeanours (the internet is your friend if you care), is it any more or less acceptable to enjoy the music of someone who has spent more than half of the last decade in jail, and paid – to some degree, at least – for his sins than it is to idolise artists like Frank Sinatra or Jay-Z who had mob connections and sold drugs to kids? If it’s universally agreed that Chris Brown is an utterly worthless, pathetic piece of shit excuse for a human being, is it then right that a guy like James Brown is acknowledged without exception as an icon? It’s actually Brown that most obviously informs “Hit Me” (a KLC-produced cut possibly set to appear on Mystikal’s first post-prison LP, Original, due next year on Cash Money Records): with its live-sounding funk backing – horns, guitars, racing drums – and backing singers chanting an inverted version of one of the Godfather Of Soul’s most famous hooks (“Say it proud/ I’m black and I’m loud”), the track is as tight as it is unhinged, and a last-gasp contender for track of the year. And it’s truly thought-provoking, which in terms of contemporary pop music really does place it in a class of its own.