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Brandon Callender is about to hit the dash, driving like Jeff Gordon.
The internet is weird. For younger people like me, we’ve grown up on it, but had no idea that it would become the powerful tool that it is today. Nor did we know that any video we posted on the internet would follow us until the eventual heat death of the Earth (or whatever natural disaster decides to take us out first).
I don’t even remember how I stumbled across this one video, but I’ve always been able to replay it in my mind. Let me set the scene for you: A black kid blares “Traffic” by Lil Reese over some speakers, points an AKM outside his window and lets a single shot fly. After that, he decides to hit dem folks like nothing happened.
I cried laughing when I saw this video in high school and fell out of my chair when I saw it again last summer.
Damn i just found the original version of this video high quality n all 😂 pic.twitter.com/uc7H5JGjX8
— 10cellphones (@10cellphones) June 19, 2018
The kid in that video is Charlotte-based rapper 10Cellphones, who can’t go a single song without using his name in a punchline or talking about guns. I’ve been listening to him all year and had no idea he was the one in that video until he posted it himself.
On October 24, the gun-obsessed rapper dropped 0010, his second project of the year. Even though the world isn’t ready for a black James Bond, he declares himself Agent 0010, making yet another reference to his name.
On 0010, 10Cellphones returns to more bass-heavy production, utilizing slower tempos, distortion effects and his gravelly voice. These songs are similar to singles he released in 2017, especially “100 Round Drum” and “10phonecalls” which were both produced by Net Gear.
Some of the songs he’s been featured on this year have been the polar opposite of that: bouncy, up-tempo and 10Cellphones isn’t afraid to sing or use a more melodic flow. On Kara Su’s “FACE SPACE++,” where 10Cellphones is featured, the rapper sings about how some girls from his past are stuck on his mind “like a face tat.”
0010 is a 7-song mixtape that lasts only 15 minutes, but that’s the perfect length for him. For some rappers, less means more. You’re forced to restart a song before it ends, because you fall in love with the hook or the beat loops. 10Cellphones has mastered this concept.
People have been getting chains with miniature handguns made of diamonds as the pendant, but on “Buss Down Glock,” 10Cellphones raps about getting his own glock coated in VVS diamonds. He claims “fell in love with VVS,” so why not go ahead and ice out his tool? The hook is infectious, the rapper sings: “I just wanna bust down my glock / I just wanna fuck up a check,” and he makes you buy into his fantasy of owning an iced out glock.
“Guap,” produced by CashCache, has the Charlotte rapper whisper threats directly into your ear. He’s annoyed with people who are asking questions, saying that its “none of your beeswax” how much money he has. He even includes the best type of gun threat, rapping “glock make you run like a running back.”
The song is filled with threats like this as he makes it known that he doesn’t want to be pestered with stupid questions. And like all North Carolina rappers, he can’t help but remind you that he’s a country boy at heart, saying that he totes a chopper even while he eats fatback.
That whisper style falls flat sometimes though, on songs like “Battery” you wish that he’d attack the beat with more confidence. Some songs require levels of enthusiasm and energy that he doesn’t want to give listeners, even though he’s completely capable of providing them with it.
On “Hwbh,” my favorite song off the project, he offers a bit of advice to anyone with relationship drama. He puts it quite simply, he says “hoes will be hoes.” On this song, he once again refers to his own name for a punchline, saying that he has “10 cell phones full of badder hoes,” in case a girl is choosy.
The Charlotte rapper proves himself on this project and carves out his spot in North Carolina’s burgeoning rap scene. 10Cellphones does what he wants. If he wants to sing about his relationship issues and gun collection over a chiptune beat, he does that. If he wants to rap about there being a zombie apocalypse where only the strong survive, he does that.