Rap Up for the Week of 7/10/15

Migos, Gangrene, Alchemist ft. Action Bronson, Trae the Truth ft. Future & Boosie, it's the Rap-Up!
By    July 10, 2015


 Torii MacAdams  can beat Austin Rivers in 1-on-1.

Migos “Pipe it Up”

“Pipe It Up” is a solid Migos song, which, under normal circumstances, is perfectly acceptable. Migos are prolific as both as group and as solo artists; every Atlanta mixtape seems to feature guest verses from a Migo, or Migos plural. What’s worrying is that “Pipe It Up” is the second single from the forthcoming YRN: The Album*, its long-awaited release scheduled for the end of the month.

“Pipe It Up” is a blatant attempt to coin a phrase, with Takeoff rapping “Ya’ll remember, before we made this song, nobody said ‘pipe it up.’” Part of what makes Migos so fun is the effortlessness of their quotability– there’s no good, external reason I should take joy in repeating Emmitt Smith’s name or purposefully mispronouncing “Versace” (“Fuhsachee”). Migos acknowledging that they’re essentially trying to make “fetch” happen is simultaneously cynical and guileless. It’d be naive to assume that “Emmitt Smith” or “Versace” were catchy by mere serendipity, but there’s something alarming about Migos giving us a glimpse of how the sausage is made, especially when the sausage isn’t particularly tasty.

I’ve written fairly extensively about Migos, and regularly cover their singles in this column. Fatigue has begun to set in. I need a vacation from Migos, and it feels like they need a vacation from the nonstop grind of the past two years. The ever-hustling ethos of Atlanta rappers, and the ironic lack of quality control at Quality Control, means that may never happen.

*At the time of writing, the album’s rumored to have been given a new title, Yung Rich Nation.

Papoose – “The Plug”

DJ Premier has to live with the knowledge that he gave an entire album’s worth of beats to Group Home. Even the unrelenting mediocrity of Lil Dap and Melachi the Nutcracker (Yes, those were their names.) couldn’t ruin the undeniable greatness of the “Supa Star” instrumental. With the release of “The Plug,” Premier now has the added existential weight of knowing that he furthered the career of Papoose.

Gangrene – “Hot Pillow”

There’s comfort in the reliability of Gangrene, a heartening warmth in hearing scratching in a rap song. Alchemist’s love for psychedelia adds a layer of intrigue to otherwise straightforward boom-bap, the genesis of his samples consistently ripe for guesswork even in an era of sample snitching.

Alchemist ft. Action Bronson – “Voodoo”

I don’t usually review two songs by one artist in the same Rap Up, but a new Action Bronson and Alchemist song occasions a serious discussion about Judaism. Are there two Jews you’d rather hang out with than Al and Bronsoliño? If you answer “Yeah! You and Jeff Weiss!” you’re definitely police.

The title of Alchemist’s new album, Retarded Alligator Beats, will almost certainly draw the ire of either an animal rights advocacy group or a special needs advocacy group. Likely both.

Trae Tha Truth ft. Future, Lil Boosie – “Tricken Every Car I Get”

“Tricken Every Car I Get” brings together three of the South’s most immediately recognizable voices: Trae’s conspiratorial rasp, Boosie’s helium highs, and Future’s short-circuited warble. I assume, for guests verses on songs like “Tricken…,” Future and Boosie are paid handsomely. I also assume that because Trae is a legitimate regional star, who’s worked with both Boosie and Future in the past, their efforts are more full-throated. There’s no reason to suspect that for “Tricken…” either Boosie or Future brought anything less than their A-games, with Boosie’s verse a particularly sharp bit of aggression.

Justina Valentine ft. Fetty Wap – “Candy Land”

Were Fetty Wap absent from “Candy Land,” named for a board game aimed at children too young to play checkers, it wouldn’t be in this column. Alas, the New Jersey rapper made the artistically regrettable (and, I’m sure, financially sound) decision to join Justina Valentine on “Candy Land.”

Valentine is cut from the same cloth as Iggy Azalea, though, rather than simply pantomiming black, American culture, there’s a certain Caribbean lilt to Valentine’s performance. It’s borderline offensive. To add to the baseline abject misery of “Candy Land,” the overarching metaphor of the song is painfully obvious and trite. Can you guess which part of the female anatomy “Candy Land” describes? I thought so.

Ezale – “I Ain’t Trippin Off Nothin’ “

Ezale, as he is wont to do, raps about imbibing every psychotropic substance within arm’s reach. He claims to “not [be] trippin’ off nothin’,” which seems unlikely considering the sheer tonnage of his drug intake.


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