Lucas Foster already has his Black Panther tickets.
CupcaKke – “Duck Duck Goose”
There are more informed and reflective brains toiling away on thinkpieces analyzing CupcakKe’s sexuality and feminism, so I’ll save you some dubious subtextual extrapolations. CupcaKKe is a national treasure no matter where you insert her into the grand narrative.
The video for “Duck Duck Goose” is shocking, but only as much as Beatking’s habit of mimicking foreplay and fellatio with women and phallus-shaped vegetables is shocking. The obscene and the vulgar are increasingly commonplace as the internet democratizes both—free gore and porn has been a fixture of life the entirety of CupcakKe’s 20 years.
Still, visuals are a selling point. She doesn’t just play with dildos, she makes playing with dildos into a comedic musical of dick head duck duck goose and sexed-up stuffed animal cosplay. The loud eye candy is exactly what the song deserves, an infectious single that fuses the energy of New Orleans Bounce and Remy Ma delivery into a continuous stream of conscious rap. It’s cutting-edge and creative music delivered with a gleeful lack of pretension or self-seriousness typical of cutting edge artists. The combined product is hard to be mad about. Enjoy CupcakKe’s moment. Don’t be too cynical to enjoy all that makes her a critical darling.
Yung Bans & Wifisfuneral – “It’s Snowin Pt. 2 (prod. Stupidxool)”
This is the collaboration that the teens of No Jumper comment sections (a Humans of New York parody Instagram that somehow hasn’t been made yet) have been waiting for. Yung Bans is quickly moving up the streaming charts while Wifisfuneral is a rare constant in the constantly shifting SoundCloud scene. This song, however, is not what anyone needed. Wifisfuneral is at his best when his music is tinged with melodrama, Yung Bans when he’s creating autotune anthems like “Lonely.” In comparison, this is sort of tepid, sort of unnecessary.
Plug or The Beat Pluggz is a producer collective with an eponymous audio tag you’ve no doubt heard, the ubiquity of which is a running gag among SoundCloud junkies. This Stupidxool creation is very similar to much of what they’ve released over the past two years. Maybe if you haven’t heard their sound too much you’ll be able to enjoy “Make It Snow Pt. 2,” but if you’ve ever let SoundCloud autoplay after a Playboi Carti track, this song becomes unfortunately redundant. Don’t let this outing fool you though, there’s still reason to be excited for Yung Bans continued rise in 2018. The next song he releases on his personal SoundCloud should be better than this.
OMB Peezy – “Talk My Shit (Feat. Yhung T.O.)”
OMB Peezy is a rapper straddling the past and present of Southern rap: Lil Boosie without the fade, Kodak Black without the obsession with image. This song finds him and Yhung T.O. right in that sweet spot between tradition and sensation. Of course, the percussion is popping with cowbells and claps, down south fare fitting of Peezy’s Alabama roots, but the beat also features organic horns and keyboards that wouldn’t sound out of place on an early Cash Money record, or even a mid ’90s boom bap record. It’s a well-crafted space for Yhung T.O.’s pitch perfect singing and Peezy’s effortless flow to levitate overhead.
Drakeo The Ruler – “Flu Flamming”
Between 03 Greedo, G Perico, Shoreline Mafia, and Drakeo, Los Angeles is definitely having another gangster rap moment. Songs like this make this wave of talent worth paying attention to. Drakeo has always reminded me of Bankroll Fresh: a stern, street-certified talent in love with his city’s traditions and with little care for trends (releasing this video on WorldStar almost seems to be a throwback), but boasting a flow so unique and so good that it makes him more fashionable than any dancing-ass rapper.
This song fits that mold to a white tee. He rips the beat off-tempo and fills the extra space with a multi-step combo attack of button smashing non sequiturs and substantive street slang. It sounds like, well, it sounds like what it is: The future of West Coast Gangster Rap.
Yella Beezy – “That’s On Me”
In an era when chart-topping singles are birthed through affiliate marketing memes and overly enthusiastic one listen co-signs, Yella Beezy is doing it the old fashioned way. “That’s On Me” is navigating the twists and turns of ascendance through bluetooth speakers, four door subwoofers, and inevitable “who’s that’s?”. The process has made this song a local sensation in Dallas the past few months. Popularity and accolades are deserved, there should be no doubt that the streets have a better ear than A&R’s and publicists. Beezy crafted a sparkling autotune ode to cripping that’s decidedly of the moment without being in debt to a stolen flow or cresting wave.
Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar & Future – “King’s Dead”
Rap without a rapper’s drive or demons playing defense is an unnecessary all-star game with nothing on the line. This song is series of alley oops that are a tribute to each rapper’s own greatness. It’s easy to see the appeal of these sorts of collaborations. This song could sound pretty good as background noise in a superhero movie.
Beyond the novelty of King Kendrick, Jay Rock, and (gasp!) Future Hendrix on one song, there’s just not enough here to justify a continued string of fire emojis and “Yas Kings” in media and on Twitter. Their enthusiasm seems forced. The beat is generic to the point of obsolescence, which always becomes a problem when Future is involved. It doesn’t matter how good he is on trap beats, he sounds like a dying animal by the end of his verse, a problem compounded by the contrast of Jay and Kendrick’s more traditional flows. The TDE ringleaders, of course, have good verses—that’s what they do—but this is no “Hood Gon’ Love It.” While this may be a good song on a surface level, it’s incomparable to their heights, or even their highlands.