Max Bell Versace Versace Versace.
Your favorite art rapper doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Despite what you might think, not even Mike Eagle exclusively listens to They Might Be Giants all day. They’re probably up on the most popular rap songs on the Internet and/or radio. At the moment, whether your like it or not, that “supa hot fiya” rap song is, and has been, Migos’ “Versace.”
With or without Drake, Migos and producer Zaytoven have stumbled upon the fun rap equivalent of “blue meth.” “Versace” is pure, capital-F fun. Sometimes that’s the only requirement for my listening to any piece of music. It’s not the most forward-thinking or “artistic”, but it’s honest. That counts.
I could go on at length about why I like “Versace,” but I’ll keep it brief: The beat is menacing, yet somehow playful. Even without Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff’s energetic rhymes, this track has verve in Versace bedsheets and pillows, or something. If you take yourself too seriously to enjoy screaming “Versace” at the top of your lungs for no other reason than the fact that it’s more catchy than any ’90s boy band hook, then “please get the fuck off my property.” And, apart from all of the above, the rhyme scheme on “Versace” lends itself to innumerable reinterpretations. How many words end with the long “e” sound? Exactly.
That’s why so I’m glad Hellfyre Club’s Busdriver, an art rapper definitely with the times, has seen fit to have some fun — not that he wasn’t already — and lend his adenoidal acrobatics to a remix, the fittingly titled “Versachi.”
With “Versachi” producer Riley Lake, whom you might know from his work with milo, puts his spin on the Zaytoven original. His remix is tasteful, and nothing is lost. The beat retains its the ATL trap quality while borrowing from the kind of trap you’re likely to hear at Low End Theory. It’s a testament to Lake’s skill, as well as his respect for another producer’s work.
Here Busdriver is at his most playful, his most hilarious. When he’s not down in the lobby twisting his stache like Salvador Dali, he’s telling some sure to be disappointed girl named Holly she can’t suck on his lolli. Why not? He’s dancing to fancy free to Fugazi and has a date with some manatee punani.
You get the idea.
Driver is indulging in his “chi,” the energy Migos, Zaytoven, and Lake have drawn out of him. It’s the flippant flipping of language, the non-sequitur exuberance that’s so much fun to listen to. Not everything has to be as complex and purposeful as Fear of a Black Tangent, though that album’s great for reasons we don’t get into.
This cross of what some consider “high art” (Busdriver) and “low art” (Migos) needs to happen more often. It’s the crossing, the blurring of such poorly drawn lines like these that often makes for the most interesting art.
The Migos original is great. And for me, Busdriver’s remix is different and equally great. He takes Migos’ bare bones rhyme scheme to another level. There are internal rhymes, more complex cadences, and Driver exercises his expansive vocab. And, now that both exist, I can choose between “Versace” and “Versachi.”
Rap needs Migos and Busdriver equally. It wouldn’t be as fun without either of them.