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Harley Geffner wants large fries and a Coke.
YNW MELLY – “Medium Fries”
My sophomore year in college was defined almost exclusively by Rich Gang’s Tha Tour. I still see myself rolling spliffs on my dorm room coffee table and talking about going ‘730’ this weekend. When I think about the time I spent abroad, I see myself walking the grey cobblestones of the Oude Markt in Leuven, Belgium while melting my brain to some Black Kray. It was foreign to me and I was in an unfamiliar cultural setting. Disorienting but fitting.
When I first came across Floridian YNW Melly, it was at the most recent major inflection point of my life. I’d just moved to LA and was still unsure about my decision. His track, “Legendary,” (yes I was late to it, it dropped in 2016) immediately grabbed me with its uplifting ethos and dreamy melodies. I set it as my alarm clock and it stayed that way for a good four months until I felt really settled. Melly raised my spirits and convinced me that the choice I made was the correct one. The effortless confidence in his cadences allowed me to feel like everything wasn’t merely going to turn out just alright, but that my next chapter would be one for the ages.
Since then, new Melly releases have been on the drop-everything scale of urgency. His ability to approach glock toting songs with love sonnet vulnerability resonates deeply. But his most recent track is less than inspiring. On “Medium Fries,” Melly deviates from what made his hook writing and singing so initially catchy. It feels forced. He typically slows down tracks and finds the pockets to extend his melodies, but he rushes here and sounds more like a Trippie Redd imitator than anyone original. His subtle pitch changes are slightly more abrupt and his references to sucking dick like medium fries and moving to the Caribbean to survive for you border on cringeworthy. It’s still catchy and not a bad song (Melly doesn’t make bad songs), but it’s not legendary.
GlokkNine – Loyalty Kill Love
The Internet hivemind has been talking up Kodak’s imminent release from jail as though it’s about to knock Glokknine off his stellar run. Don’t we have the patience for more than one rapper with a South Florida accent? It reminds me of when everyone was saying Cardi B is coming for Nicki’s spot as the queen of rap. This isn’t a zero-sum game. We can listen to more than one female emcee and we can listen to more than one with the same accent.
On his new 17-track tape, Loyalty Kill Love, Glokk sets the record straight, rapping, “Talm bout the next Kodak (uh uh) I wanna be Glokknine,” on the tape’s early single “Talm Bout.” The truth is, there are a lot of rappers coming up out of the area that speak with the same semi-garbled drawl and have similar linguistic reference points. Glokk has been able to cut through the noise. His convulsive adlibs (sometimes even Famous Dex-esque) and more charismatic flows set him apart from Kodak and his variety of original song concepts and lyrics set him apart from the rest of the pack.
Through the tape, he weaves narrative of sticky situations, writes a soulful apology letter to his mom, bounces around with some YBN flows, and claims his murder charges won’t stick ‘cuz the judge ain’t got no peanut butter. The first Kodak x Glokk collab will be pure bliss.
LNDN DRGS – “Tomorrow (Feat. Freddie Gibbs)”
Compton rapper Jay Worthy and Vancouver producer Sean House were just fucking around. They would bump old soul and funk records in the car and Jay would spit over them. Their duo, LNDN DRGS, found direction from those car rides, as House would go home and flip whatever songs caught their ear.
The first single off their forthcoming re-release of AKTIVE features Freddie Gibbs, who is no stranger to this sonic palette, modeling his most recent album cover after Teddy Pendergrass. The psychedelic track would feel just as at home in a ’70s disco club as it would blaring from the back of a candy paint lowrider.
If you don’t want to hear Gangsta Gibbs rapping about girls pee-peeing in the poop chute over some G-funk keys, I’ve lost all hope for you.
Sherwood Marty – Sherwood Baby
Sherwood Marty is Baton Rouge’s Al Capone. The feds are trying to tap his flip phone, the narcs put him on their drug walk, but he’d rather die than tap out. As he says on the opener to his new EP, Sherwood Baby, “Ask around Baton Rouge, I’m the man, boy/ I’m a Sherwood baby, I’m a landlord.”
Sherwood Baby has the feeling of a coming out party for the 21-year old. He scores a certified turn-up anthem with an especially pregame worthy track “Litty” and shows off some versatility with weightless bars on “Walk Em Down.” A frequent collaborator of fellow southern rapper Alabamian OMB Peezy, Sherwood Marty is someone who we’ll be hearing a lot more from soon.
P2THEGOLDMASK – Saved By the Bales
P2 doesn’t care about this rap shit. He makes as much clear on his new seven cut tape, Saved By The Bales, deadpanning, “Fuck rap Imma blow up in the trap/ Fuck movin’ to LA n***a I’m just moving packs,” on “FUCK RAP.”
Hailing from Germany and having moved into the “hardest neighborhood in San Antonio” at seven years old, P2thegoldmask is a native of the streets. He raps about the day to day life of moving work: Selling dime bags in the Subway parking lot, imagery people can relate to. As he put it in a rare interview, he isn’t, “…saying I just pulled up to the traphouse wit my killers yada I hate when ppl act like its that crucial like they from Chiraq lol calm down shit u can serve weed coke whatever pills n never even see a hood shit everyone does drugs.”
You won’t catch him without the gold mask on because he doesn’t want his face to get too hot. His partner just got 12 years and he has a baby boy to feed. And so when he murmurs simple, catchy lines like, “I work with the work and it work.” We better believe him.
Father – “We Had a Deal”
Father hasn’t exactly grown with the times, but maybe the times caught up to him. When “Wrist” dropped in 2014, the extended vibrating bass and his undisturbed flow caught me off-guard. It felt like it was in stark contrast to all the high-flying Atlanta trap that was dropping at the time. It was a darker interpretation of life in the I-285 loop. But with that sound having been taken to more extreme iterations since, it’s not so strange or different anymore. I had similar feelings about the most recent drop from Bladee. When the originality fades, so does my interest.
“We Had A Deal” feels eerily similar to the “Wrist” formula. It still works just as well sonically, but it fits more squarely into the frame of the industry now and is less exciting. Still rattled the shit out of my subs though.