Lucas Foster will be waiting for the Raiders in Vegas.
SPACEGHOSTPURRP – “GOTH BLOODS / GOTH PIRU [Prod. BMB Bloodline]”
Let’s once again tune into the Spaceghostpurrp reality show. I don’t know what episode you last watched of this Lohanian saga, but no, he’s not homeless anymore and he hasn’t come at anyone recklessly in at least three months. In fact, he has word from everyone who matters that they are coming to a Raider Klan reunion show. Yep, the band is back together, and as an added bonus, he decided—in a touching display of Twitter publicity—to unite all Goth Pirus and Goth Crips and Goth BDs and Goth GDs.
The maligned genius has had quite a redemption story line in 2017, but this song is not part of it. If any other artist released it, I’d celebrate the stutter step energy and throwback vibes, but SGP is way more brilliant than the artists he inspired, and has to be evaluated as such. This is just an average outing for him, something that could have been released any time over the past six years. No matter, I still have to root for him; I’m too many episodes deep.
Murph – “Puttin’ On”
In a world dominated by rap weirdos there’s something blissful about a street rap single with straight up 16s. Produced by Rich Eye AM, “Puttin On” is track four off Murph’s independent mixtape Position of Power. With the sort of melodic street anthem that sounds like an overnight hit, on this single the Broward County veteran delivers the goods, and nothing extra, with a visual to match. Filmed in the 16th century Old Town and 21st century slums of Cartagena, Colombia, the video subtly contrasts the beauty and struggle within Murph’s traditionalist take on Southern rap.
lil 4 – “marvins basement (prod. lil 4)”
Before they realized their music was too good for gimmicks, the teenagers of Gay Boi Clique offered the last satirical rap act to be both funny and a challenge to rap’s conventions. Since April they have been using the sweet ass autotune they pioneered to make another distinct sound, now filling their spacey beats with serious simpin’ ballads instead of funny, “are they serious?” pro-gay bangers.
In the time since they went serious, whyfye has gotten locked up, namek has turned into midmajor up and comer Kevin Kazi, and lil foreskin has transformed into lil 4: Trap & B extraordinaire. While running from such a wild past was hard, the work he’s put in has made him deserving of a serious listen, and this song is all that’s needed to prove this. The well of melancholy pulled at by the slinking piano loop, healthy dose of reverb, and deceivingly melodic flow is a sound that many superstar rappers tried out since “Marvin’s Room,” but fuck the clout; few rappers of any stature have done it as well as 4 on “marvins basement.”
Blame One – “These Days feat. Blu & Jaclyn Gee (Prod. J57 & G Koop)”
It’s hard not to love some 30-something Real Hip-Hop when it’s done right. It’s very easy to tire of complaint-centric Real Hip-Hop. This song somehow is both of these cliches wrapped together, and it’s easy to hear where they veer to and from the grotesque. On first listen the track can almost sound like a good time, but the crowded 16 bar complaints about being too old and too “Real” make the listener realize it’s deadly serious.
What this single forgets to consider is that listeners are sparse because the music they make these days is tired. Jaclyn Glee’s pretty sung chorus and Blu’s usual heavyweight 16 stop this from being a bad audio experience, but it’s still a wild disappointment that so much talent was wasted on such a sleep-inducing theme.
sleepisformortals – “WITCH DEN”
It’s trite to discuss 2017 as the year rap went rock, but talking about how rap went electronic is not a blockable offense. This hyper-catchy anthemic chorale sounds like every electronic soundtrack to strip club scenes in late-aughts action movies meets Lil Tracy, in the best way possible. Beyond the imagery of breasts covered with chains and snakes it conjures, the track functions as a logical extension of all the sounds that flirted with electronic influences this year.
Trippie Redd – “Dark Knight Drummo”
Honorable C-Note has come a long way over the past three years, working from a Gucci mixtape B-side specialist to his recent barrage of hits. Meanwhile, Travis Scott has stayed comfortably seated in the same throne he’s occupied since he helped make Yeezus. Here they meet in the middle, at Trippie Redd hype junction. This ambitious, faux-experimental record released at what will be the climax of Trippie Redd’s cultural omniscience sounds decidedly more the work of Travis Scott’s itemized alterations than C-Note’s FL daw.
Like most La Flame records, “Dark Knight Drummo” is reaching for something overhead and yelling with frustration at its inability to grasp it. The melodrama of its synths and crawling pace build a tension alongside the same lung-busting singing style Trippie Redd has used on every song since October. It builds tension so effectively that it seems like the chorus is eight bars, but the plotline stays about there. There’s no hero saving the day or attack of hi hats to relieve the sonic pressure, but rather a typical Travis Scott feature that is wholly unremarkable apart from the “La Flame!” ad libs.
Travis is admirably consistent, but how long can he continue to flirt with the edge of experimentation and catchiness without satisfying either?