Since the release of his Freddie Gibbs collaboration, Co$$ has been gaining traction within blog circles–which speaks to the wisdom of paying a hot rapper for a guest spot. You are guaranteed a listen, which is more than the gibberish publicist press releases that clog my Gmail. But I suspect that Cashus King never gave Gibbs a dime. The two have a natural chemistry and affinity for grape swishers and purple kush, and rappers have bonded over far less.
Theoretically, by dint of using the Pop and Hiss pulpit to tab Co$$ my pick for LA’s most underrated, it ought to make him properly rated. But Co$$ doesn’t Twitter, has no publicist, and rarely plays shows around town. He Co$$ seems destined to be a rarity among his peers: averse to awkward compromises or double dribble crossovers. The Leimert Park rhymer’s new tape Revelations is refreshingly absent of token “baby baby” ballads. Does anyone actually believe that woman want to hear flaccid odes to how rappers want to wash their feet? Do rappers pay attention what happens at nightclubs during “Ain’t No Fun (If the Homies Can’t Have None)” or “Wait (the Whisper) song? The secret is obviously parentheses and going hard, or ham, or rabbit. Co$$ understands.
Aware of his strong niche appeal. Co$$ raps like a young Rass Kass, slightly less angry but equally sociologically consumed. If the Carson product never blew up a decade ago when hardcore and seething MC’s could snag deals on Priority, the odds are against Co$$ stacking bundles. So he wisely signed to a tiny but reliable indie, LA’s Tres Records – home of Thes One and Shawn Jackson. Granted, he lacks mass appeal — there’s no elaborate backstory, nor any high-concept gimmicks. Instead, he offers honesty. As on the first bars of “Fake Kings,” where he says, “they say n**s with no money, act like money isn’t everything/now n**s who got money act like money make them heavenly/I’m a keep it real though/if I had a million dollars I would buy myself a nice whip, buy my girl some ice, and my momma a nice crib.” He’s neither self-righteous post-backpacker, nor a swag rap-simp using a tired slow-flow to spout out about the limited edition Japanese sneaks he scooped up on Fairfax. He’s relatable without making relatability his schtick.
There’s no shame in having an ear for soulful beats and knowing how to rap extraordinarily well over them. Those who prefer their pants tight and their mythologies larger (no judgment) may deem Co$$ a throwback. That may be true, but if so, he’s the right kind. He never patronizes by offering nostalgia for the times WHEN RAP WAS BETTER. He just raps like the guys who made it good.–Weiss