April 4, 2013

Jordan Pedersen sorta hopes the Save Money crew is a YN Rich Kids-style after-school program to get kids to save their money.

Save Money crew member Dally Auston enlists the help of OJ Hays (who also did the visuals for Chance the Rapper’s appropriately named “Good Ass Intro“) for his video for “99 Cent.” Hays’ embellishments are much subtler here, closer to “There He Go” than the acid drip of “Intro.” The track’s grainy sampled flutes serve as a nice backdrop to shots of Auston shooting hoops and enjoying a cold King Cobra stashed in a paper sack.

Hays also places the video firmly in Auston’s hometown of Chicago, but a Chicago the average Passion of the Weiss reader is probably familiar with — rather than the bombed-out cityscapes and basement headquarters showcased in the videos of DGainz. We get animated gushes of water shooting out of Buckingham fountain, projections of Auston’s lyrics on the marquee at the Chicago Theater, and Auston spits from the roof of the Taboo Tabou sex shop in upper-middle-class Lakeview.* The positioning here is deliberate: Auston and Save Money aren’t writing rhymes for crews at 69th and Normal to shout at each other.

This isn’t to say the track is milquetoast, some kind of craven attempt at courting a white audience. Auston’s flow is ruthless and fluid, and the beat is a less menacing take on the boom-bap revival plied so well by Alchemist and Roc Marciano; not really the stuff mtvU Woodies are made of.

Auston’s voice is so rapid and smooth that it’s easy to miss his intricate wordplay and the diversity of the topics and tones he shuffles through: one minute he’s comparing the simplicity of the war on the poor to the ease of telling bitches to get off his dick, the next he’s evoking snapshot nostalgia with a tossed-off line about his mama missing him.

What’s clear is that he’s got far more than 99 cent Swishers on his mind.

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