The term “blog rapper” was always an easy crutch. Aside from Mickey Fact and Charles Hamilton, the latter of whom actually had a blog and released mixtapes every time he flushed his RSS Feed, it lumped a whole bunch of rappers who didn’t deserve to be compared. “Boutique rapper” was better and this isn’t 2007-08 anymore. Thankfully. Even the indie rock guys abandoned the term when Clap Your Hands Yeah disappeared into a pile of sulphur following their second album. Or so Stereogum tells me.
Critical mass is a good thing.* It allows artists to break out of the miasma and helps them earn a living in an increasingly precarious industry–as Gibbs, Yelawolf, and Krit, have done over the last year. Savvy publicity campaigns are part of it, but you can only fool the people for so long before they start to be able to tell a pink hedgehog from a rat. Bad example. So the latest and greatest from Joe Dirt and Classy Freddie Blassie go up with little explanation, which makes for shoddy criticism. But I have 1,200 words ahead of me tonight, and Los Angeles is so hot it’s making me think of this video. None of these reflect either artist’s best, but Gibbs and Old Yela both have the unique ability to make almost everything they do worth listening to. At least, this year.
On “Tell Me Something,” Gibbs takes over a ho-hum late 90s underground cut from Gotham Green, who does his best to undermine my point about blogs by name-checking 2 Dope Boyz. Rappers need to look up the definition of patronizing. Points deducted for the Afu-Ra “Equality” loop. Points given back by the obvious weed problem.
Yela adds backwoods flair and staccato flow to scoff at those who dismiss him as only having the double-time tongue twisting style. Krit gets by on atmosphere and presence, salvaging the fact that he compares rap to high school, and makes a lame Ferris Bueller reference like Kanye didn’t have the monopoly on trite but vaguely endearing 80s pop culture namedrops. Everyone likes UGK a whole whole lot. The end.
* Except in the case of Sleigh Bells.