The Rap Up: The Week of Feb. 6th

New ones from Future, The Outfit, TX, Roy Woods, Spotlife Phew, Denzel Curry, and Doc Dolla.
By    February 5, 2016

future evol

Torii MacAdams knew about the Alan Parsons Project before Kanye. 

FutureIn Abundance / Fly Shit Only

When Future’s forthcoming EVOL was announced, there was brief speculation that “In Abundance” was part of the surprise album. The release of the EVOL tracklist proved that rappers’ own social media accounts aren’t always trustworthy sources of information.  “In Abundance” stylistically fits with Purple Reign’s best, sparsest moments: the plaintive title song, the forlorn paean “Inside the Mattress,” and the ode to prescription drug stumbling “Perkys Calling.” Oddly, the twisted, backgrounded organ and emotional bareness of “In Abundance” is similar to the naive delicateness of the “Closer Mix” of The Cure’s “Close To Me.”

While “In Abundance” casts the Atlanta rapper as Future Robert Smith, “Fly Shit Only” intentionally elicits memories of Michael Jordan by (if HotNewHipHop is correct) sampling the mid-90’s Chicago Bulls’ introduction music, Alan Parsons Project’s “Sirius.” “Fly Shit Only” is more akin to Bulls-era Ron Harper than Michael Jordan: it’s a good supporting piece, but distinctly secondary to Future’s best material.

The Outfit, TXAlready Knowing

If my knowledge of The Outfit, TX passes muster, “Already Knowing” is a rarity: For the first time since their 2012 album Starships & Rockets: Cooly Fooly Space Age Funk, the group is rapping over an instrumental not produced by members Dorian or Mel. “Already Knowing,” produced by fellow Dallasite Xclu Beats, is the type of trapezius-inflated hi-hattery in which the group rarely indulges. Their most recent album, Down By The Trinity, was smoldering and ashen. “Already Knowing” is less a glowing ember, more a butane flame. It’s robust, and Mel, the group’s ooh’er and aah’er, seems slightly less comfortable than the fork-tongued JayHawk.

Roy WoodsSkrt (Remix)

OVO are unrepentant leeches. A quick primer on their relationship to Kodak Black: Drake, an anthropomorphic turtleneck, posted a video to Instagram of himself dancing to Kodak Black’s “SKRT” with the demure caption “@kodakblack.” OVO Sound Radio has taken to playing him nearly every radio show despite there being no formal relationship between the label and the Pompano rapper. Five days ago, Roy Woods, a Canadian crooner on OVO (How many of these fucking guys does the label have? Is Scarborough solely populated by R&B singers?) released a remix of “SKRT.”
The darkest truth about Drake and his OVO claque is that they’re becoming cool late in life, and they have no idea how to conduct themselves. Their approach to culture is to swallow whole rather than synthesizing–the fundamental components of art are foregone in service of consumption. To stay ahead is to chomp at the bit endlessly, to subsume grime, dancehall, Houston rap, 90’s R&B. There’s no sub-genre safe from these biters.

Spotlife Phew4 Way (Ft. Spotlife Banks & Bipolad HB)

One of rap music’s immutable laws is as follows: Every music video filmed at a gas station is worthy of canonization. “4 Way,” by Decatur, Georgia’s SpotLife Phew, SpotLife Banks, and Bipolar HB, is no exception. The conceit of “4 Way” has little to do with fossil fuels (unlike the Sauce Twinz’ “93,” also filmed at a gas station)–the SpotLife gang, unrepentant capitalists all, have multiple sources of income, with Phew even claiming to have sold the same brick four times, in four ways, in four days. Phew is the star, but the Gucci visor-clad Banks makes good use of his screen time by rapping while eating Cheetos Puffs, the objectively correct choice in cheese snack shape. Additional kudos go to the guy who uses his rifle to play air guitar. Ted Nugent would be proud.

Denzel CurryULT

Denzel Curry’s definition of “ultimate” differs slightly from the standard denotation. For Curry, “Ultimate”–capital “U”–is a loosely defined, youthful, all-are-welcome movement for general rad-ness. Curry’s a deeply underappreciated artist–were the Carol City native from Los Angeles or New York, his 2015 “double EP” 32 Zel/Planet Shrooms would’ve been a staple of year-end lists. The video for “ULT,” the first single from Imperial (due out this year), is the logical evolution for the former Raider Klansman; the all-black outfits and dreadlocked, middle-finger-up mob mentality remain, but in place of the 2.7.5. hieroglyphics are positivity and empowerment. It’s like the best parts of Straight Edge without weird proselytizing or moralizing.

Doc DollaPour You A Drink

According to Doc Dolla’s website, the Richmond, California rapper is an “artist capable of expressing his talents threw [sic] many multimedia outlets.” As a person who communicates mostly through unheard mumbles and unread Internet missives, I can appreciate his efforts. “Pour You A Drink” is very much in the mold of work by fellow singer/American currency denomination Ty Dolla $ign–it’s a bubbly and bouncing celebration of excess. While Doc Dolla doesn’t appear to be charismatic unicorn that Ty$ is, he makes a valiant, and commendable, effort.

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