The Return of Juelz Santana And/Or How To Write a Generic Trap Track, Circa 2013

Max Bell is not afraid to admit the virtues of a fine linen. I like my sheets very soft. The higher the thread count the better. I like my blankets, preferably of the Brookstone variety, plush....
By    January 10, 2013

Max Bell is not afraid to admit the virtues of a fine linen.

I like my sheets very soft. The higher the thread count the better. I like my blankets, preferably of the Brookstone variety, plush. That’s fucking soft. Why wasn’t I consulted for Juelz Santana’s “Soft?” It’s probably because I have zero rap tracks on the Internet and I might qualify as the object of derision in this trap (not to be confused with trap) song for the simple fact that I don’t “spray cheddar” at K.O.D. (One day…one day). But, my hurt pride as a connoisseur of all things soft aside, let’s discuss why Juelz—whose reemergence in the rap game can only be likened to that of the yearly limited release of the McDonald’s McRib (I’ve heard it’s good once or twice)—has, for his new track, “Soft,” off his soon to be released mixtape God Will’n, followed the model for what I call ‘The Easily Forgettable Trap Track” down to a capital T.

First, Juelz has recruited MMG heavyweights (one more than the other, literally), Rick Ross and Meek Mill. The only recruit left for a trap cut like this, and the one who would probably make it less forgettable, would be Tity Boi (currently 2Chainz). But, let’s go back and begin at the beginning, or something. The beat starts with the simple and ominous piano loop that serves as the foundation for the track, meaning that it hardly varies, thus creating the “trap trance,”in which your brain is put in the freezer like some rocks and all rappers that follow are given carte blanche to rap about the drug game/rap game they currently, or at one time, sat atop (their words and myths, not mine).

So the dark piano is set. What’s next? Have Rozay essentially outline the ethos of the track (“I say these niggas coming too soft”) before the drummer boy drums hit and he launches into the hook. Yes, for the easily forgettable trap track, you must launch directly into the hook, especially if it’s the only time we hear the track’s most successful and recognizable rapper making music. But, it’s also because lyrics matter very little here. The hook, and Rawse saying, “I’m sipping this sauce / My dick won’t stay soft” (I think Viagra says you’re supposed to call after four hours), is of much greater import.

But, once past the hook, we have Juelz’s first verse, or at least the first I’ve heard, since “There it Go” (if you were ever a Dipset fan, you caught yourself whistling once). Juelz, who’s never been the best lyricist, knows the key to subpar punch lines when in the trap state of mind—cut the beat out. Thus, the beat is dropped three or four times in seemingly rapid succession. You can listen to decide whether it was a good idea or just take my word for it.

The last two verses are reserved for Mill and the man responsible for “Young’n (Holla Back).” Why? Because whoever responsible for organizing this trapness knew how to pick a line up. After Juelz comes with both underwhelming bars and enthusiasm, Meek comes in to make up for the latter (I don’t know if I’d use his name in conjunction with the former). And, of course, Fabolous’s verse is saved for last, as he is, whether it’s palatable or not, the best in terms of lyrics on this track. My favorite line is the potentially homoerotic “If you round me you gotta go hard / Soft niggas I don’t do.”

The song ends with Fabolous’ vocals fading out. Genius trapness. Blasphemy you say? No. If you leave out the hook at the end of the track, then people (people who like trap music) are likely to pon de replay (I think). Anyway, this has gone on far enough. I’ve listened to this song too many times. And as I’m writing this concluding sentence, I’ve forgotten what the hell I was talking about in the first place. I know it was something about trap music.

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