Do Less: Key! and Bobby Raps Team Up for “Say No Mo”

Evan Gabriel discusses the impeccable minimalism of the new Key!, featuring Minnesota's Bobby Raps.
By    February 16, 2016

bobby raps

Evan Gabriel can describe you in five words or less.

There have always be those who say more with less. Take Thomas Hardy, who in Far From The Madding Crowd mused, “to say a little often tells more than to say a great deal.” That was 1874. Last month, Saint Paul’s Bobby Raps and Atlanta’s Key! repackaged this antiquated sentiment into three-syllables, and dropped one of the most unexpected singles of 2016.

Bobby and Key! first traded introductions after meeting at a Post Malone show. The two parted ways with nothing more than mutual respect and loose talks of collaborating. Then late one night in Los Angeles, Bobby was recording in a back room of Vic Mensa’s studio session, where Doc Mckinney and 1st  Down of FKI were also present. 1st happened to invite Key! to the same session, and when he showed up, Bobby brought him to that back room and played some tracks. Bound by seemingly random circumstances,The chemistry yielded entropy.

Both rappers are most effective shifting the volume of their voices. Key’s! verse starts nearly muted, before taking a sharp U-turn to shrieks: “Real moneymakers, this the soundtrack, police killed my dude and I bounced back!” Bobby, aka the Nova Scotia Costra Nostra, squeezes in recollections about “10 fucking bags” in his coat through a hoarse falsetto. Like Young Thug adapting to a beat’s climate, the higher pitches make the song much more interesting melodically.

Produced by @gnealz, the beat buoys for you to dance without looking like you’re really trying (shout out Terror Squad). But the infectious chorus kills any impulses to stand still. You can picture “Say No Mo” coming on in a club to absolute pandemonium and yes, repeat dabbing. Self-confident, easy-to-remember hooks are generally the ones that people come to lip-sync in their Snapchat stories. If you only grow as much as you’re supposed to grow, it would explain why some people change up, and why others say a great deal in just a few words.

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