Bong Rips and B.A.R.S. Like ice cream sandwiches and cornbread (kept separate), there is nothing wrong with that. We’ve heard it a hundred times. Rapper likes weed, rapper has swag, rapper is from Mars. These cliches are as calcified as coal. As someone who has incinerated enough smoke to acquire an ineradicable weirdness, even I am loathe to listen to 20 songs dedicated to different kinds of kush. Credit South LA’s Pistol McFly for being able to transcend these limited themes. The secret why is no surprise — most sins are forgiven when you rap well. Pistol raps well.
You could understandably dismiss this as more laissez-faire California Weed Rap. Maybe it is. But it’s evident that there’s something more there. Admittedly, any rapper who samples scenes from Back to the Future and sports the surname McFly gets an automatic look. As does the co-sign from Nocando, whose Hellfyre Club imprint released the South LA-raised rhymers auspicious debut. Just 21, there’s plenty of room for him to grow lyrically, but Pistol possesses things you can’t teach: voice, presence, flow. Think somewhere between a Sativa-stunned Beanie Sigel crossed with Smoke DZA and an innate left-coast eccentricity.
With the exception of two tracks lifted from Exile Radio, beats come courtesy of Listed of Seven Day. Clearly aiming to recreate the chemistry of Below the Heavens-era Blu and Exile, the pair come closer than two rookies should. Bonus points also for a flip of Shuggie Otis’ “Strawberry Letter 23.” Should Pistol keep it up he may have a future as bright as Goldie Wilson.