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Harley Geffner goes to the vet in his ‘Vette.
Whyfye – “Could of Should of”
If you hear some of your favorite rappers in Prettyboiclique’s sound, that’s by design. Hailing from all over the U.S., members Kevin Kazi, Lil 4, Whyfye, and Lil Paycheck unapologetically talk about jacking other rappers’ styles. “I be biting like hell, nobody even noticing,” proclaimed Kazi in an interview with HD Radio.
Though they’re now bonafide up-and-comers with regular appearances on the blogs (™), they still take themselves as seriously as the table in English class that would smoke a blunt during lunch and laugh their asses off when Mr. Murphy read haiku. The group connected online and each member had their own primary SoundCloud account, but they started gayboiclique as a side project to parody Lil Peep’s former crew, gothboiclique. Kevin Kazi referred to it as meme music and the group amassed genuine buzz with spoofy singles like “Beatin My Meat” (highly recommend) reaching over 50k views on YouTube. According to Kazi, they changed the name to Prettyboiclique because “We ain’t gay…or maybe I am.”
Their tracks can feel dadaist in the way you can’t take anything they say or do seriously. Cover art usually consists of chihuahuas or a random photos of singer Billie Eilish; They still use the, “what are you, fuckin gay?” tag; and to the uninitiated ear, some of their songs sound like they could be someone making one of those ‘If I were an autotune rapper, this is what it would sound like’ Hopsin type of videos.
But PBC is so much more than a gimmicky group. They clip each and every interesting trend in modern rap music and try to explore and replicate it, combining the best of each and adding their own varieties. Whyfye and paycheck create feathery, out-of-left-field melodies, and where lil 4 loves more moody autotune, Kevin Kazi often eschews it all together. They’re experimental in the ways they choose to slow, speed, and chop their songs.
On his new track, “Could Of Should Of,” Whyfye’s pitched-up and varying melodies seamlessly melt through the twinkling synths and stuttered, sliding bass loops. While borrowing and modifying a well-known Uzi flow from “XO Tour Llif3,” Whyfye sings about how had he just taken his girl to the movies, they would have fucked. But instead of feeling regretful over the situation, Whyfye makes his trials and tribulations with this girl feel like meaningless folly the way he cheerfully recounts them.
Lucki & Thouxanbanfauni – “2nd Place (Prod. StoopidXool)”
While Carti does a lot of things well, ThouxanbanFauni and Lucki on this track are like if you took Carti’s skills apart and perfected them independently before re-uniting them over some undulating synthy production. A former partner of Carti’s, ATLien Fauni has the high energy ad-libs and ability to create whole subplots out of them, but uses them less ostentatiously than Carti. And Chicagoan King of Darkness Lucki has more of an apathetic menace in how he growls his way through entire tapes.
Typically known for more somber, murmuring lean-tunes, Lucki is slightly more animated than usual over this StupidXool beat. It feels like he’s being charged up with each vr vroom from Fauni, while Fauni’s hopscotchy flow switching perfectly pockets the more straight line approach Lucki takes with his verse.
Having both amassed their major followings during the plug production boom of 2015-16, their styles complement each other so well that every time they link, I’m left wondering how they don’t realize and tap into the potency of their combo more often.
D Savage – “yesterday lol /:”
D Savage never aspired to be a rapper. The Gardena, CA native hung in the same Melrose circles as Tyler, The Creator and Ian Connor before ever dropping a single record. And his first song, “30 Round Clip” which sits at 9 million plays on SoundCloud, was never supposed to see the light of day.
Growing up, he was friends with a dude named Jack Phoenix who created a streetwear brand called Sake. When Phoenix unexpectedly passed in 2015, D Savage, who saw Jack push Sake from the margins of his textbooks to an actual apparel brand, decided to drop the track he had recorded while fucking around after his friends left the studio one day. He started dropping music with his friend Yung Weej under a group known as Sake World to keep Jack’s vision alive.
A few million plays later, D Savage is signed to Republic Records and was scheduled to drop his debut tape, D Phoenix, last weekend. To hold us over, the label let him drop three new tracks, which if they are a sign of things to come, means D Phoenix may be one of the hottest projects of the year.
“What you do today, I did that yesterday” is exactly the type of lowkey anthemic flex I can get behind on “yesterday lol /:.” D Savage has an ominous nonchalance about him in which he makes carrying an 8-ball on his waist sound as innocent as packing a school lunch. It’s almost an assumption that he has that thing on him.
Mach-Hommy – “Regina”
A noted recluse, Mach Hommy doesn’t show his full face to the public. A newly annointed POW Freshmen 15 member, Hommy almost always wears a mask and seldom gives interviews. The mystery man himself returns with a video for his song “Regina” from his last release Bulletproof Luh, which was only made available in limited vinyl packages via Bandcamp, ranging from 40 to 160 British pounds.
The track itself is jazzy with shades of Souls of Mischief. Hommy professes his love for Regina, giving claim to everything they could be together while servicing her from the guise of different masked characters throughout the video. He washes her feet, pours her wine, and casually slips in some French to give the song an even more moody vibe, rapping, “My white ingenue/ Au jus it’s too gushy.”
Valee – “Allat”
From spending $500 on exotic lip balm to fixing his Jeep with bondo putty, Chicagoan Valee’s flexes are unlike any other rapper. Rather than boasting his luxurious lifestyle via worn subject matter like how wet his ice is, Valee is so used to it all that he entertains himself with small incongruities he finds entertaining if for no other reason than they’re out of the norm. His girls are rich enough to be fucking around with quaaludes, not having to use Carmax to cop the ‘Vette.
Like the industrial setting the POW Freshman finds himself in, the beat is sparsely populated and eerie. It sets a gloomy tone for Valee to ride to with its vaguely Arabic-sounding strings. Hopping mostly in and only occasionally out of the pockets in the TY Made It production, Valee raps at his own leisure. Never rushing, he’s here for the ride, taking time to appreciate the eccentricities of his lifestyle.