New Rap Music
Metro Zu – “Sell Ma Hoe“
from MINK RUG (Mixtape, 2012)
Metro Zu is a Miami crew that is loosely affiliated with SpaceGhostPurrp, or at least have a song with him. They are hyper-productive, their videos look like this and their songs sound different from other rap songs and they sample the Animal Collectors all of which inevitably adds up to them being the rappers that all of the weird just discovered rap through Clams Casino avant bloggers get really excited about in the near future. Which is perfectly fine. The Zu certainly wouldn’t be their worst choice. Mink Rug has some very high points, the highest of which is “Sell Ma Hoe.” It owes a lot to Lil B, which is to be expected at this point with young fringy experimental underground rappers, but the thing that separates it from most other young fringy experimental underground rap is how hook driven it is. Yes it’s wonderful being yourself and hilarious and weird and spontaneous and lo-fi but none of that has any value if you aren’t actually writing songs that are likable. B’s success was as much about his hook writing ability as it was his personality. “Sell Ma Hoe” is simple enough but it sticks to the inside of your brain, with its “second things first” nonsense and the sheer amount of conviction that’s put into the performance. You can imagine the kid pulling his arms into his chest as he croons, like some sort of demented preacher/pimp hybrid. (Prod. by Mr. B the Poshtronaut)
Torch f/ Meek Mill, Wale, Gunplay, Stalley & Young Breed – “Slow Down“
from UFO 2 (Coming Soon)
There should be a law in hip hop in which any and every rapper, regardless of house or creed, is required to jump on some old Ultimate Breaks And Beats shit once a year. It should be like tithing or a operational exam. Here all of MMG – minus the Bawse who could only phone in some ad-libs from WingStop – hits EPMD’s “Rampage” (or by extension Lowell Fulson’s “Tramp“) running. I can’t tell who of Triple C’s is rapping where in this lineup, because all of these guys went from sounding like Jeezy to sounding like Chubb Rock for this very special occasion, but they all come off. Meek is in his close-to-Peedi mode, which is always welcome while Wale probably has the weakest verse here, which is ironic considering he’s the only one of these guys corny enough to kick the words “one time for hip hop” in 2012. Show us, don’t tell us, Wale.
Happy rap music! This is a straight up joyous song and video. Waka in the booth, cheesing with a loaded pistol talking about “I’m killing ‘em in Oregon!” It’s not completely discernible but I’m pretty sure that Skool Boy ends his opening verse with “Finally I’m not a teen!” which, if that is what he is saying, adds an extra dimension to the theme. Basically it’s a no mom I’m all grown up I can do what I want song. (Prod. by London On Da Track)
Alley Boy – “Intro“
Alley Boy – “Cops On The Block“
from Nigganati (Mixtape, 2012)
I haven’t seen anybody talk about this, because nobody talks about anything really anymore, but it was a pleasant surprise to hear Atlanta’s hardhead-in-residence Alley Boy open his latest tape with Kathleen Cleaver and Malcolm X vocal samples and then go into a winded (if not the most refined or articulate) political diatribe about conspiratorial discrimination and reading the Panthers on the intro. Not to go all hooray for political rap, it’s better than all of the other rap liberal on you guys (and I know Jeezy did it first) but yeah as someone who learned a lot as a kid from seeking names like these out in libraries at the behest of KRS and Wise Intelligent, I do love the possibility, however slight, of some little would-be goon being inspired to do the same thing today. When was the last time a significant so-called “conscious rapper” has even invoked the Panthers? Mos Def is out there rapping about his pants and yodeling or whatever the hell it is that he does. Alley’s “Cops On The Block” isn’t quite as focused in its rebellion or message but it is on that blind fuck the police tip and what it lacks in articulation it makes up for with sheer aggression. Waka to the remix please. (Prod. by Lil Neal, Bei Maejor)
Lil B – “Pussy On My Face (Based Freestyle)“
One of the (many) reasons that Lil B’s catalog has proved so divisive is that so much of it isn’t exactly meant to be consumed like more traditionally lyrically lyrical rap. He’s as concerned with creating a landscape of sound and an overarching vibe as he is with just offering words that say something. (This approach isn’t unique to B, obviously. Quite a few rappers take it instinctively and they too are typically dismissed as insufficiently lyrical or idiots by virgins who listen to Canibus.) This is something that he’d expressed explicitly – in the “Basedworld 1989” video notes – “let Lil Bs Voice Become one with the beat for you.” And if you consume it with that in mind, it becomes a lot easier to look past his obvious flaws as a rapper. So much of his work from his early Youtube period just *sounds* so fascinating as a pile up of timbres. And to a point, too. The best of it blew out the then current trap rap sensibility, burying it in shards of layer vocal tracks and overblown ad-libs. His biggest hits were just tripped out kaleidoscopic takes on the OJ The Juiceman aesthetic. I think that sort of expansion is what has been missing from a lot of his recent output. He more or less returned to just being a rapper who raps in a relatively straightforward manner. Which is cool, he’s definitely made some great songs with this approach – “Banga Luv” and “Februrarys Confessions” being the most recent examples – but the other stuff is just so much more immersive.
Released a few weeks ago (and then quickly deleted) “Pussy On My Face” isn’t just B’s long awaited return to the Based Freestyle methodology, it’s also the first song in some time where he seems to be consciously warping current rap trends into something more psychedelic, bending the autotune choke approach that has been all the rage in the Atlanta back around and on top of itself. It basically sounds like four Future songs playing simultaneously. Which might not be your thing, especially if you’re not a fan of a standalone Future song. Or of using music as a substitute for/complement to hallucinogenic drugs. But it’s fucking my thing so I’m going to post it here and then listen to it a thousand times in a row until my cabbage turns to cole slaw and my pupils drip lemon juice. Based God! (Prod. by The Cheff)
Young Thug – “Haiti Slang“
from I Came From Nothing 2 (Mixtape, 2012)
Then again, maybe B’s take isn’t that far left of where Atlanta’s actual post-swag mutant auto tune movement is standing at the moment. The oh so originally named Young Thug‘s “Haiti Slang” is also deeply indebted to the Future sound and every bit as wasted as “Pussy,” but with none of the pretense. It’s rap music to drown by peacefully. It’s the type of record you can wear like a coffin. It’s another analogy that I’m unable to think of at the moment because I’m too engrossed in this damn song. Plus it brings back that old izzle pizzle gibberish rap. I guess the era of Snoop and Snoop-inspired abuse is finally far enough behind us that it no longer seems tizzacky. (See also: Jose Guapo & Travis Porter’s recent “Guaponese“)
Philthy Rich f/ DB Tha General & Lil Mikey – “Fonk”
Philthy Rich f/ 2 Chainz – “True Religion Shawty“
from True Religion Shawty (Mixtape, 2012)
Like anyone else who isn’t David Drake or a 17 year old weed dealer from Modesto, I lack the attention span to keep up with the day-to-day thousand release sprawl of the Livewire camp. But then I hear songs like these and I feel guilty about that. “Fonk” in particular jams, with its bounced out mobb music revivalist beat and DB DBing all over it. Of course it would be nice if the track didn’t end so abruptly, but maybe we will see an unmixed version one day. Probably not.
Juvenile – “Mardi Gras“
Okay, look. It’s Juvenile doing a Rick Ross impersonation about six months too late and that is a little sad. But at the same time Juve managed to do a slightly better Rick Ross than Rick Ross usually does. Surely that counts for something? (via DGB)
Riff Raff & Action Bronson – “Bird On A Wire” (Vimeo, 2012)
I don’t even know what to make of this or where to begin. This is what it sounds like when doves cry. I do like how Action Bronson drags his fake Ghostface flow into a fake Drake flow. And also the part when Riff Raff combs his hair so hard that it eventually looks like Skrillex hair. Anyway, Harry Fraud is an immense talent, if you hadn’t noticed.