Rap Up, Week of April 17

Yelawolf, Eminem, Large Professor, OG Maco, Quavo, Holt, King Louie, Dave East, Snoop Dogg, Lord Byron, White Gzus, Tela
By    April 17, 2015


Torii MacAdams is on the beach, 30K in arm’s reach

Yelawolf ft. Eminem – “Best Friend”

Imagine you’re a shark. You’re the top of the oceanic food chain, a product of hundreds of millions of years of evolution, an apex predator the subject of horror films. Humans fear you. Well, most humans. You’re swimming along, doing gnarly shark things, then BAM! Yelawolf goes flying over you, menthol cigarette dangling precariously from his mouth, ashes landing in his beard, one hand holding a Budweiser, the other holding a tow cable. You breach to ask Yelawolf what the fuck that was all about and notice Eminem, veins in his neck striating, gesticulating wildly, shouting “LET’S GOOOO!” He’s kicking up sand, sullying his baby blue, velour Shady tracksuit. You can’t quite make out what he yells to Yelawolf, but you think you hear him say “I knew you could jump the shark like me!”

Large Professor – “Opulence”

The first verse on “Opulence” is kind of a struggle, but you’re probably listening to Large Professor for his production, anyway, and justifiably so.

OG Maco ft. Quavo – “Good Gracious”

Despite being billed as OG Maco featuring Quavo, “Good Gracious” is really more of a Quavo song–Quavo handles the choruses, and Maco is so heavily autotuned that I only understand about a third of his lone verse. Quavo’s performance alleviates some (not all!) trepidation I have about Migos’ forthcoming YRN: The Album. Quavo has a pithy comment on the state of the American penal system:

“You thought I’d be locked down,
modern slavery / Just look at me now, 
all you can say is ‘good gracious!’ ”

Holt ft. King Louie – “Nightcall (Remix)”

Let’s unpack this. Kavinsky, a French electro producer, released “Nightcall” in 2010. This past March, Holt released a tinny cover of “Nightcall,” produced by his cousin Mano, best known as Kanye West’s hamfisted former tour DJ. Now, the “Nightcall (Remix),” featuring King Louie, which is a remix of a remixed cover. King Louie’s verse is :24-1:04. I won’t take responsibility for you listening to other parts of the song.

Dave East – “No Coachella For Me”

The conceit of this song is that Dave East is too busy hustling to go to Coachella. I also did not go to Coachella this year. Or any other year, for that matter. Maybe Dave East and I can hang out.

Snoop Dogg – “So Many Pros”

More disco-lite production from Pharrell, which is fine, but lacks the funky, driving, low-end oomph of real disco. Disco got a bad rap from crypto-racists and hair metal dolts (those groups often overlap) in the 70’s, but part of the blame falls to its mainstream neutering by imposters like ABBA. This is inoffensive disco for sorority parties, but I can’t really be mad at Pharrell and Snoop Dogg playacting the tropes of their predecessors.

I assume the uncensored version of this song is going to be “So Many Hoes.”

Lord Byron – “Bellyintro”

          I wrote a blurb about Lord Byron in October; Dear Leader Jeff Weiss (fairly) compared him to Styles P, and I rambled about Dallas and the paucity of promising talent from the city. I hadn’t heard a new song from Byron until he DM’d me a link to “Bellyintro.” Byron then proceeded to publicly insult H. Drew Blackburn, who covered him favorably in The Dallas Observer. (That write up also called Jeff a “rap soothsayer,” which I don’t think Jeff is soon to forget.)

          I have no beef with Blackburn, but I appreciate Byron’s gumption in insulting the city’s foremost rap writer. I suspect that a lot of artists outside Los Angeles and New York feel un- or underappreciated by their local media; a wider spectrum of Big Sean listeners is certainly an unintended result of the Internet’s supposed evening of the playing field. Most rap scenes are underreported, so, if you suspect your gripe with your local rap writer is legitimate and not a result of your self-delusion, let them know.

All journalistic politics aside, this song’s pretty damn good, and can be enjoyed without contemplating one’s place in New Media.

White Gzus ft. Tela – “Lotus”

I’m going to the beach this weekend, which means I’m going to wear my aqua Ray-Bans, inevitably get a sunburn on my shoulders, and listen to this multiple times. “Lotus” is unabashedly wavy summer fare, heavily aided by White Gzus unearthing Memphis legend Tela.

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