Thomas Johnson rides in on a dragon.
The power rankings are continually in flux. Chicago’s new class saturated 2017 with as strong a year as we’ve seen in the young renaissance.
Amir Tripp’s breakthrough single, “Design 2.0,” was a backhanded apology for his “asshole tendencies”—his words, not mine. It was moody and deathly serious, half-crooned ego raps amid blunt 808s and a somber violin. Of his three singles this year it’s by far the most vitriolic. (Side note: “Valar Morghulis” is the best Game Of Thrones themed song from a rising Chicago rapper since Hurt Everybody’s “Little Black Dragon.” The Chi loves GoT). Ramping up in intensity, it caps off a stoic, stony run far removed from the lighthearted stroke of Amir’s older Soundcloud recordings.
So “Slide On Ya,” then, is the outlier. Over Zay Rock’s staccato claptrap, the Midwest trio rap with a wide-eyed exuberance. “Slide On Ya” sounds like a Saturday morning wake and bake, consequences included. Trapo’s hook is entirely too aware of his overindulgence, yet still too overindulged to be truly concerned. Good weed, good sex, good meals. It’s lean and efficient, none of the participants lingering, punching in their contribution than passing to the left. It might be the most confident song about being unable to flirt this year.
Tripp and Saba were schoolmates,both hailing from the Chicago’s west side. They share a similar energy, and through the first two verses of “Slide On Ya” they rollick head to head, an obvious chemistry having been built years before they stepped in a booth together. One clears his schedule of inefficient dreams, the other of his downtime. They both just want to see Canada and China, too. Trapo closes out with on-brand bass and a surprisingly touching verse. If he falls off, keep cooking.
Slated for an early 2018 release, Tripp’s debut, PYRO, is to be executive produced by Mr. Heavy, a pseudonym of Tripp’s. Until then, “Slide On Ya” will serve as a freebie to tide over fans. It’s lighthearted and fun and undeniably promising, good for a little extra skip in your step. Just check your intake—don’t get too high.