The Rap Up: Week of 11/17

The Rap Up returns with the new from WIFIGAWD, Lancey Foux, Remy Ma, and uh Eminem and Beyonce
By    November 17, 2017


Lucas Foster loves it though. 


There was a moment three years ago when every rap forum from boxden to /r/hiphopheads had a few hundred posts that elucidated “the voice as an instrument” and every resident of these forums collectively rubbed their chins at this most profound observation. These posts originally were inspired by Atlanta’s Atlantean autotune crooners obfuscating the border between rapping and singing, and six months later another wave of these posts were made by Travis $cott fanboys of the sort that pretend Travis $cott’s music is more original than his clever curation and display of modern trap’s poppier inclinations.

When iterations of this “voice is instrument” phrase are used now, they mostly recall the Lil Uzi Verts and THOUXANBANFAUNIs of the Soundcloud swamp—those post-Future auto-tuners with face tattoos functioning as multi-octave horn instruments.

For Soundcloud veteran and “rap villain,” WIFIGAWD his voice is more percussive. Every syllable, every crack of consonant, every punch of a vowel is on-beat. In terms of vocal range he hangs closer to bass and baritone than to the tenor and falsetto of those trumpets and cornets. His percussive flows contain lyrics ruminating upon the familiar: hitting licks and spending them on jewelry on a “TREAD-HOT” setting or washing down his coke drip with purple lean on a “ICY SHIT- COLD” setting.

It’s a flow you could set a watch to and wash-set regularity of his lyrics leads untrained ears to hear nothing but a Sosa clone. Subsequently, there’s the occasional mob boos declaring WIFI boring. “I Love It” is exactly the type of track that shows why that’s grossly unfair and untrue.

More intricately constructed and melodic beats offer WIFI the ability to flourish. While not as perfect for him as crjng’s genius on last year’s FUBU 05 tape, “I Love It”’s warbly multi-note synth reminiscent of late-aughts Zaytoven complements his verses. The sing-song-ish hook melts like a keytar groove complementing the bassline. I’d imagine WIFI’s bedroom studio is as weed-clouded and coke dollar-littered as an early 80’s electrofunk studio—the hook says as much—filled with disco veterans who had spent the last half-decade of their lives living on studio and label checks in a way that’s analogous to how WIFI survives on show money and reposts

As Soundcloud rap’s more experimental corners exhaust themselves and we brace for another wave of creativity to reform modern pop music’s mono-counter-culture, maybe this track will be like the especially delicious 80s electro-funk jams I find on youtube; effortlessly cool and relentlessly funky jams that are too center-center-left to be hits. A song hopelessly lost in a sea of content, forever swimming as a relic of a particular type of talented-yet overlooked musician.

 Big Sean ft. Metro Boomin & 21 Savage“Pull Up n’ Wreck”

A diss track in today’s post-Instagram world of sneak dissing is the highest form of poetry. It’s a dance of effortlessly thrown barbs and jabs so cleverly disguised with plausible deniability that a music writer has to quadruple-take before attempting to categorize them.

On this Big Sean single, his dance with Kendrick concluded with a “Damn” adlib acting as a double entendre between a reference to a 1997 Playstation game, while the Slaughter Gang’s most Savage re-affirmed the clock’s positioning at and around drill time with an open threat towards his fiancee’s baby daddy. This song could be read as a simple space for 21 Savage and Metro Boomin to consolidate their position as crossover artists with a singular sound. Yet it should rather be understood for what it is great at: imputing both the very musical and the very personal beefs of both artists in the verses.

 Remy Ma ft. Lil Kim“Wake Me Up”

When I first heard the ominous glide of the “Queen Bitch” piano sample on this new Remy Ma single I thought there was a Berenstein Bears-type bug in this absurd timeline in which that classic Lil Kim song had disappeared into the ether and appeared for the first time here. My most immediate worry was that I would never again hear Cakes Da Killa’s 2012 breakthrough single, which remixed this same beat  — and then a secondary worry that the most technically skilled queer rapper would have never broken through at all.

While there are many implications for the intersectional feminist hip-hop listener in an imagined alternate timeline emerging from a Remy Ma single, I’m relieved to inform you that Cakes is still churning out subversive verses and that “Queen Bitch” still stands as an artifact of Biggie’s gifts as a songwriter and Kim’s gifts as a rapper.

In an even more artful form of almost-diss record, Remy Ma and Lil Kim flex on Nicki Minaj simply by contrasting themselves here as ladylike. Rap’s Elder stateswomen appeared fully clothed and gimmick-free, the same week Nicki “broke the internet” in a near-nude Kim Kardashian impression on the cover of Paper Magazine to compensate for a lack of music released since she posed near-nude to release the “Anaconda” single.

Showing up for her rap genius lyric breakdown in a Shiny-Suit Era jacket and playing her role as Papoose’s wife and one of the last emissaries of Traditional New York hip-hop able to operate in mainstream diplomatic circles, Remy Ma’s retained radio silence in the press about the song’s place in her near-decade long beef with Nicki. Nevertheless, the Rap Genius annotations and comments are enough to convince that this track’s twist on “Queen Bitch” plays some role in that drama—not with hidden verbal mechanisms or barbed ad-libs but through the sheer audacity of Remy Ma to continue existing as one of the best female rappers on Earth.

 Lancey Foux“Starstruck”

While this single and video from British rapper Laucey Foux is a clear copy and paste job from Beautiful Thugger Girls, it’s hard to penalize the kid for picking up moves from the world champion in his weight class. The thematic and overproduced music video, down to his mannerisms and dancing, come together with the audio to form a creepy Young Thug impression, but Lancey Foux’s creepy Young Thug impression is creepy in the way Kobe’s Jordan impression was creepy — the song and video are both very good.

Calling him a “British kid doing a Young Thug impression” would be unfairly planting him squarely in the space of a Kyng-style clout junkie or that of a Keith Ape
‘foreign-guy-doing-awkward-covers.’ While many have taken inspiration or straight up copied internet rap nerds’ collective protagonist over the past 40 months, not many have done it as well as this kid does here.

 Eminem ft. Beyonce “Walk On Water”

The only person who mentioned this single’s release to me the entire week was my mom. This isn’t to diss two of the greatest to ever do it but instead a reminder of what circles these artists are relevant in.

The only Eminem Vevo youtube channel that matters to most kids my age is the one that uploaded a stockphoto music video for a Soundcloud song about gay incest and Migos nightcore. And if any old man wants to fight me about it meet me in Temecula.

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