March 13, 2013

Jordan Pedersen prefers screaming goat samples to Gotye samples.

It always bugs me when artists get valorized for being “prolific.”I get that some people produce at a greater clip than others but, to a certain degree, everyone’s prolific. The point isn’t whether you come up with a lot of ideas, it’s how many of those ideas are any good. The Based God is prolific, sure, but other than setting a laudably insane tone for the genre, most of his material isn’t, uh, good.

That being said, I’m a big fan of the “GOOD Fridays” model of releasing material: there’s something about having to put out tracks at scheduled intervals that can inspire rappers to up their game. It’s less, “I thought of this thing you might want to hear,” and more, “THIS IS A RACE, AND I WILL TRIUMPH.”

Enter the prolific King Louie and his #MarchMadness project, wherein he and his Lawless fam drop a track every day of the month (er, most days; this past weekend was drop-free). Taking “Bars” as the Platonic ideal of a perfect King Louie song – goofy wordplay over cold-ass synths that you can still twerk to – his hit percentage so far sits around .300. Tracks like “Thumbin’,” “Jockin’,” and “Young N****s Countin’ Racks” (featuring exquisitely tasteful cover art) play to Louie’s strengths, while “Old Bitch” and “She on Me” find him trying and mostly failing to auto-tune his way to the alchemy of Future’s best tracks.

Louie’s pretty early in his career, and the fact that he’s already refusing to rest on his laurels – even though he’s already got a formula that works – says good things about his ability to stay interesting.  I’ve said before that I think Louie and Young Chop will be the last men standing after this whole Drill thing blows over, and their malleability is the strongest point in their favor, aside from their talent.

One of the joys of projects like this is hearing an artist work through their material in real time. Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Werewolf Boner or whatever was a great album, but it was especially interesting to hear him figuring out when to expand on the double-length, groove-centric material of the early GOOD Friday singles and when to whittle things down. Louie seems to be trying to figure out just how much melody to incorporate into his tracks, and even if he doesn’t always succeed, the forward movement of Louie’s output is noteworthy on its own.

But to keep it 100? Nobody needs an out-of-tune “Somebody I Used to Know” sample on a rap song. Or any “Somebody I Used to Know” sample.

We rely on your support to keep POW alive. Please take a second to donate on Patreon!