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Harley Geffner is pretty handy with the power tools.
Yung Manny – “Bonfire Part 2”
14-year-old Yung Manny from the DMV’s raps might have made me uncomfortable just a few years ago. He has a blatant disregard for where emphasis is implied on a beat. He often lets empty space hover for milliseconds too long before capitalizing on the built expectation, raining down with “Huh, yeah, Bust down”s or pf pf pf pf ad libs.
That warbling off and back on the beat style was an acquired taste for me. I wasn’t into SGP when SGP was becoming SGP. But it’s become so normal to ignore the boundaries, with everyone from Blueface to Lil Xelly finding new ways to grind up against them, that I see more technical ability in being able to skirt around than stay on a beat. On Bonfire Pt. 2, Manny’s just showing off, abruptly stacking flows on top of each other like Jenga pieces, with random words teetering over the edges.
And he brings a classic DMV confidence to his stitched bars, rapping, “Pass me the 40, I’m in the field n***a Devin McCourty // Stay in the house, n***a I feel like Cory // And I got the water, n***a find a Dory.”
Fivio Foreign x Jay Dee x Dee Savv – “Blixky Inna Box”
Though Brooklyn mostly fell out of popular consciousness as a drill destination after the infamous GS9 raid, the seeds sown have been blossoming since. 800 Foreign Side member Fivio Foreign grew up in the same building as Rowdy Rebel in the 9, and he recruited two Brownsville, BK rappers Jay Dee and Dee Savv for a blue-red flag crossover.
Blixky inna box has all the classic drill elements; lush gospel keys, ghosting blunts in slow-mo, the gang shoutouts to hop into the verses, and a GDK triple-time flow that sounds straight out of the mouth of Rondonumbanine. Jay Dee, Fivio, and Dee Savv take turns ripping shots at the Blixky gang, threatening members by name. Jay Dee raps, “I got about 9 in my clip, oh that’s Nas [Blixky] on the strip, ayo Fivio turn the car on // Y’all thinking that 22[Gz] lit, 22 is a snitch he did not beat the murder charge.”
La Goony Chonga – “Dinero”
La Goony Chonga loves dirty bass and Caribbean vibes, befitting her proudly touted background as a Miami stripper. Her brand of reggae trap is steeped in the high bpm and rolling thunder basslines of Philadelphia tread music, but she adds a rhythmic twist with her Spanish lil.
Her voice has a flattened and almost sarcastic poise. She almost raps like a Spanish Kreayshawn, hanging her long nails down in disgust at the non-Gucci shoppers. Simple and repetitive bars like “Muevete suave, otra ve, otra ve” feel accessible, even to someone with bodega-level high school spanish. And if you don’t understand the words, you can still feel the attitude dripping off them.
D33J x Deb Never x Shlohmo – “Nothing Left”
Angeleno producer and WeDidIt collective linchpin D33J steps out in front of the mic for his first ever video in “Nothing Left.” The whole video makes me feel like I’m stuck in a purgatory. The monotonies of everyday life seem to weigh and slow his voice down. And Deb Never’s haunting vocals match the mood.
WeDidIt’s Shlohmo draws up low-key strings and stuttered kicks that could’ve been a platonic Lil Peep beat, creating a slow-moving canvas for D33J and Deb Never to watch the world tick.
They’re stationary as the world spins. When D33J sings “my life a whole lot of maybes, staring at words on the pages // sittin through all these changes, winter come and the same shit,” it seems like he’s lost somewhere in the Bojack Horseman intro.
RUCCI and 1TAKEJAY – “Weed, Pills, & Drank”
Behind the success of a lot of your favorite LA rappers is the management of duo Jeremiah “Picaso” Aubert and TK Kimbro, operating as R Baron. Hovering below the surface, the two have played an integral role in ushering in the LA rap groundswell into a renaissance, working with Shoreline mafia, Greedo, Rucci and more. And now they’ve got another one.
Recently signed 1takejay ’s “Wait hollup, I’m finna turn this bitch up” is the catchiest tag since Thug’s “Metroooo.” Every time I hear it, I know I’m in for a shit-talking ride through some West side keys. On the first single off Jay and Rucci’s forthcoming collaborative tape hosted by DJ Bugsy, the two stay a step ahead of Mikeyy2yz’s funky bass and hard claps. And Jay’s “We got Weed, Pills, and Drank in this bitch” is the late-summer turn up hook I didn’t know I needed.