February 11, 2015


Give Tosten Burks all the Grammys.

Fake Berkeley pimp 100s may have given up the good fight, and Snoop Dogg’s son’s college decision somehow overshadows his father’s jheri curled keytar adventures with Dam-Funk, but the re-funkification of rap marches on. The latest classic for your young booty classes comes from XL’s next wonderboy, the Haitian-Canadian Kaytranada, who laces Vic Mensa and his man-bunned, Japanese-Mexican-American SAVEMONEY cohort Towkio with the stuttering two-step 808s, slapping bass, and glamorous synths required to get the people going in a blizzard.


Teaming together the only producer crafting boogie renditions of Young Thug with hip-house’s new patron saint and his frenetic hypeman, the 115-ish-bpm “Involved” uncloyingly evokes the post-disco dance floor from which hip-hop first emerged. Where Damon Riddick psychedelically melts together g-funk and its Parliamentary roots, Kaytranada skews even more electro, pounding out sharp dance-pop chords rather than woozily gliding along a Moog’s sine wave. Hi-hats and claps set the pace, vocoder nowhere to be found. Towkio balls like a sixth man and flexes molecular physics; Vic eats Kashi Crunch at the Beverly mall and shouts out Saturday Night Fever. Bambaataa would spin this.

The song foreshadows at least three upcoming projects sure to extend the party, Towkio’s .wav Theory (executive produced by SoX’s bunny-eared keyboardist Peter Cottontale, who was responsible for much of Acid Rap and Innanetape), Vic’s Street Lights, and Kaytranada’s untitled debut album on XL, from which comes Vic and Kaytranada’s other recent single—the slower, looser “Drive Me Crazy.” For those who prefer their rap built for sweaty, soulful all-nighters in stunna shades, the retro future is bright.

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