January 9, 2014

Evan Nabavian is holding four aces.

The lexicon of macks, dons, players, pimps, hustlers, and Gs gets an overhaul from Willie The Kid on “Let The Money Stay.” His neo-noir vignette is a string of salient details: lily white leather, pink panties, sauvignon blanc. Absent are minks, canes, and hard-toe gators. Rather, Willie’s rhymes assume wealth and sidestep action – “make the money, fed the babies” – and instead he looks at the reflection of a mobster in a swimming pool as it starts to rain. The thrilling sensory assault lives on Alchemist’s cigar and black lace production. It’s one of those beats that’s even more impressive when you realize how Alchemist contorted the sample (google it).

It gets better. Willie’s images meet their match the screen. Grainy visuals make it look like the video was shot on actual film and recall a seedy bygone era. The song’s faceless women become scowling beauties, lost souls who throw piercing looks at the viewer. Most artists would just borrow language from the canon of American mob movies, but not this time. There are red dresses slinking around posh hotels, but also pink lips around lollipops and bullhorn nose rings. The only flaw is that Willie – young, short, and unassuming – is miscast as the boss. But this is his mafioso romance, not yours.

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