The Rap Up: Week of May 13th

ScHoolboy Q and Jonwayne emerge from hibernation, Young Thug goes 1-for-2, and more new rappin' rap music!
By    May 13, 2016

Torii MacAdams is a pseudonym


Before Jonwayne’s 2 year semi-hiatus, if the towering, bespectacled rapper and his comfortable sandals, wasn’t at Low End Theory, he was releasing new music. Sometimes he did both, simultaneously. But, since 2013’s Rap Album One, the Wayniac’s only (“only”) released two impromptu beat tapes, issued via Mediafire links, and a cryptically-titled EP, Jonwayne Is Retired.

He wasn’t, really. No one who’s retired has Haley Joel Osment rap their lyrics underwater (“Minerals and Gems”), and no one who’s retired puts out new music. The conceit of “Wonka” is that, like Willy Wonka opening the gates to his factory, Jonwayne is revealing pieces of his inner-workings. He’s still boasting, but it’s offset by moments of contrition: he hasn’t really left home or had a drink in about two years. Sober or not, he’s still one of the most skilled rapper-producers alive.

ScHoolboy Q ft. Kanye WestTHat Part

ScHoolboy Q released Oxymoron in 2014, and in the interim he’s been patrolling the 405 Freeway like The Road Warrior, surviving off roadkill and enacting brutal, post-apocalyptic justice on wrongdoers. That’s not true. Actually, he shaved his head, changed his name to Robert Sacre, and has been hiding in plain sight on the Lakers’ bench. Okay, that’s a lie–he’s been writing a buddy cop script with Ice Cube tentatively titled Q & Cube. It’s a work in progress.

Whatever the case, he’s reentered society (or rap music, at least), and he seems unexcited to be here. Whatever thrills there are to be had in “THat Part” are derived more from the expectations set by a billing of “ScHoolboy Q! And Kanye West!” than the song itself. Q seems disinterested, his edge dulled by success. Worse, hearing Kanye rap feels like watching Tim Duncan’s shots get smothered by Serge Ibaka: even guile can’t get them over anymore. West is relying on lewdness, loudness, and flows borrowed from artists fifteen years his junior. It’s painful.

OT Genasis ft. Kevin Gates & Young ThugCut It (Remix)

At the beginning of the “Cut It” remix, OT Genasis recuses himself because, in his words, “[he] did what he had to do.” I suppose that’s true–Genasis, a placeless, indistinct trap rap Mad Lib, and Young Dolph, the oldest looking man to call himself “Young,” made the original “Cut It” something of a hit. Genasis is a rapping mimic octopus perpetually in search of a subject; neither “CoCo” nor “Cut It” display a single him-specific characteristic. The contrast between him and the duo of Young Thug and Kevin Gates is stark: they’re two of rap’s most immediately recognizable stylists, with scores of not-quite-there imitators in their wake.

Archibald Slim No Attention

Archibald Slim’s presence on Awful Records feels a lot like Currensy’s No Limit period. Just as Currensy was lumped into various Master P side-projects and side-hustles (the Malibu’s Most Wanted soundtrack, anyone?), Slim’s a practitioner surrounded by aesthetes. His new EP, Don’t Talk To Me, is in turns nihilistic and self-reflective, youthful without being callow. On “No Attention,” Slim raps about how, true to the title, he doesn’t “give new shit no attention”– ironic, given that his clique’s appeal is derived, in part, from youthful, post-everything internet culture. Contradictions aside, Archibald Slim’s EP is some new shit worth attention. 

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