Rap Up for the Week of 10/23/15

Ty Dolla $ign ft. E-40, Tyga, Open Mike Eagle and Serengeti form Cavanaugh, R. Kelly, Gucci Mane, and more, it's the Rap Up!
By    October 23, 2015


Torii MacAdams has been cast in
‘Swap Meet,’ a minor motion picture

Ty Dolla $ign ft. E-40 – “Saved”

There will never be another Nate Dogg, whose smooth, understated menace was like a silk garrotte. But, if anyone is a worthy inheritor to Nate’s dogg house, it’s Ty Dolla $ign. Ty$’s relationship with DJ Mustard functions like that of Nate Dogg and Warren G’s–as a rhythmic component, as a reliable, pliable compliment to any rapper. And, just as Mustard’s sound is G-funk updated for 2015, Ty$ is an undeniably contemporary vocalist.

“Saved” is a consummate Ty$ performance. He is, in turns, a rappin’ ass singer and a singin’ ass rapper, a vocal style en vogue with a class of performer enamored with the threat of fucking my bitch. Traditionally, singing and rapping have been diametrically opposed; even if Chris Brown’s bi-annual crime spree outpaces that of almost any rapper, he’s still a singer (read: “bitch”). Ty$’s persona is believable enough that a pairing with E-40 doesn’t feel forced–who wouldn’t make a song with E-40? who wouldn’t make a song with Ty$?

E-40 is a legend–I cannot accept Earl Stevens slander–because he uses the word “bozo” in a rap song. Suitable substitutes: buffoon, merry-andrew, fopdoodle.

Tyga – “Ice Cream Man”

Tyga’s “Ice Cream Man” uses the same metaphor as Raekwon’s “Ice Cream.” The similarities end as soon as Tyga pulls up on the block in Mr. Cartoon’s ice cream truck. “Ice Cream Man” is standard Tyga: every single simile and metaphor is lazy and blatant. Even the visual component to “Ice Cream Man” is trite–women lustily tongue dripping cones of ice cream, as if a gigantic, colorful cone is the foodstuff most akin to a dick.

The part of “Ice Cream Man” I find legitimately, deeply disconcerting is neither an issue of sexism, nor is it filmographic. It’s the stickiness of melting ice cream. Women should have the freedom of using their bodies as they please, except in instances of dripping sugary dairy product on their skin in the presence of Tyga. Ban it.

Cavanaugh – “Screen Play”

Between 2000 and 2007, the Southern Illinois University men’s basketball team made the NCAA Tournament every year, advancing to the Sweet 16 twice. The program’s success, contrary to popular opinion, wasn’t kickstarted by astute coaching and recruiting, but by the attendance of rappers Open Mike Eagle and Serengeti (and Hannibal Buress!). The art rap party planner and Kenny Dennis’ alter-ego comprise Cavanaugh, a particularly Serengeti-esque, high-concept project. In the world of Cavanaugh, “Cavanaugh” is an urban development which houses both the poor and the wealthy, and Serengeti and Open Mike Eagle are maintenance men in its emploi.

“Screen Play” opitimizes the Serengeti and Open Mike Eagle oeuvre; for both, comedy and melancholy are inextricable. Even when they’re rapping about covetousness and discomfort, there are jokes that need to be made.

Giftz – “Doubt That”

It’s easy to understand why Freddie Gibbs added Giftz to his ESGN imprint: Giftz is constantly rapping about malfeasance or nonfeasance. There’s a particularly Midwestern directness to Giftz, a native of Chicago, that’s akin to label head Gangsta Gibbs. Maybe it’s the frigid winter winds whipping off the Great Lakes that grind away poesy–the longer your mouth is uncovered, the colder you’ll get. Giftz is, if nothing else, economical.

R. Kelly – “Backyard Party”

At R. Kelly’s backyard party, there’s merriment, barbecuing, scantily clad women performing any number of domestic tasks (Except manning the grill–that’s R.Kelly’s domain.), and “no one has hating in their hearts.” “Backyard Party” is calculated, purposefully unspecific nostalgia–there are no details contained therein that’d place the backyard party in either a region or year, nor is there anything identifiably about R. Kelly himself. It’s rote, cynical, and boring. Think of “Backyard Party” as an addendum to “Step In The Name Of Love,” then never think of it again.

Starlito ft. Kevin Gates – “Shit” (2014)

The next person who complains about a lack of hoverboards in a fictional film’s future–or “the present,” as it’s commonly known–is getting hit in their chest cavity with a very real skateboard. We’ve been gifted with an overabundance of what are essentially magical goods–can you explain how your wireless router works? That we’re able to shuffle into practically any supermarket and purchase miniature cookie breakfast cereal (Well, the animated wolf mascot claims it’s breakfast, at least.) is, in the grand scheme of human events, a fucking miracle. Were you to show someone in the middle ages your iPhone, they’d either burn you for being a witch, or drop to their mud-caked knees and call you the God-ordained leader. Maybe both. So, let’s maybe ease off whining about “the future,” and appreciate that Starlito released Passed The Present, a $2 mixtape of Nashville’s most anomic rapper rhyming over Future instrumentals. “Shit” features Kevin Gates and Starlito trading bars about the struggles of street pharmaceutical distribution. It’s not a pair of self-lacing shoes, but it’s a satisfying consolation.

Gucci Mane – “Big Money”

It’s important to remember that every Gucci Mane song released while he’s imprisoned is (largely) the work of Sean Paine, his trusted engineer, Ronald “Caveman” Rosario, functionally an A&R and business manager, and Yusef, Gucci’s manager. In an interview with Noisey, Rosario claimed Gucci was recording 13 songs per day. This backlog of music is, unsurprisingly, of variable quality.

“Big Money” is, literally, half-good; it’s likely that, were Gucci Mane a free man(e), he’d have repurposed the first verse, re-recorded the deeply substandard second, or disregarded the song entirely. Gucci Mane reportedly has a year left on his prison sentence, so these aren’t entirely desperate times. But, if “Big Money” is what listeners can expect until his release, the next 12 months may be full of desperate measures.

 lede art by McFlyy

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