If something can simultaneously be described as the worst shit ever and the best shit ever, it’s invariably a lock to become huge. Said rules aren’t necessarily restricted to the Internet era, this was the same contradiction that Rick Rubin rode in the early days of Def Jam. As much as methods of transmission and tentacles of hype change, the high-low binary is usually the quickest way to getting the club blowing up on a Tuesday. Hence, ILOVEMAKONNEN, who you’re probably familiar with if your esophagus is constructed from USB cables, but you’re unfamiliar with if you’re a dedicated but unaware participant in normcore (no hashtag).

Makonnen hails from Atlanta by way of Mid-City Los Angeles, a hood peripheral swath of the city most known for producing Aceyalone and Murs. He reportedly moved to the Atl after 9/11, attended high school, started selling molly which eventually got him on house arrest for several years. There was also a stint in cosmetology school, which is where the dolls heads come in. The ice cream truck comes in from Master P. The beats come from Sonny Digital and Metro Boomin. The general idea is a Gucci Mane adaptation of the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. There’s something bizarrely hypnotic about Makonnen. I can’t say that he’s an especially skilled rapper, but I can’t stop watching either. The hallucinogenic screwed breakdown in the middle of the video is a factor, but it’s also the slow-motion, the vaguely Hawaiian snow-cone party vibes, and the general feeling that Harmony Korine is going to pop out of the truck and yell “Cut.”

Then there’s “Club Going Up on a Tuesday,” which is probably the most perplexing and sad club song I’ve heard in a minute. It’s not maudlin like Drake or spurned lothario sad like Future. It’s cocaine numb. You can hear a little Future and Gucci, the VHS cassette static aesthetic borrowed from chillwave and maybe Raider Klan, but Makonnen has his own look from the denim jacket to the shots of him alone burning a joint, to pinched-nerve reedy raps that he’s half-singing. It’s almost a blues song about working the graveyard shift to make enough money to go have a few drinks. He squints when he sees daylight and rubs his eyes like they were singed with smoke. There is also a shot of a bikini-clad girl swimming in a pool.

None of this makes sense, but it’s hilarious, oddly poignant, and memorable. And in a rap world clogged with Young Thug imposters, dreary Drake acolytes, and rap game castoreum, Iggy Azalea, it’s nice when something feels fresh. Even if the odds are high that he winds up this year’s Trinidad James, Makonnen is trying to make his own style. Sometimes it’s more important to turn left than to turn up.

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