Harley Geffner broke out the Tommy Hilfiger rugby for this.
WifiGawd had been trapping off the WiFi since well before iMessage was popping. He grew up making moves around the D.C. area, often without a phone, using web apps like text-free to link with friends. Just like his premonition for router-based mobile comms, WifiGawd always seems to be a few steps ahead of the culture.
I first heard his music in late 2016, when the cushy and air-brushed synths of Soundcloud innovators Divine Council still sounded new and were becoming popular outside of just underground circuits. WifiGawd dropped Fubu 05 right in the midst of this movement, concentrating all the cotton-candy sparkles from this wave into sweet, gravelly melodies. While he was digging all the way into the twinkles, most rappers at the time were hovering above or just dipping their toes in.
Looking back, the twinkles of that era proved prescient, as producers like Pierre Bourne would rocket to mainstream success almost 2 years later, drawing heavily from that arena.
WiFi can trace his footprint across many of the interesting trends in the Soundcloud universe. He connects dots between the magic that was being made in Philadelphia basements, playing a starring role through the start of the tread movement with Working on Dying, and the weirdest, iciest corners of soundcloud in Goth Money Records.
His tape with Marcy Mane of Goth Money earlier this year seemed an amalgamation of a lot of these different trends. The thrashing Black Money Boys production sat right alongside glimmery tracks helmed by Hella Sketchy. And the tape was titled Moetown.
WiFi told me he knows he can rap on any beat, so he’s always looking for challenges. He naturally gravitates toward forward-thinking producers and his hazy voice can seamlessly slip in to the coziest pockets or envelop the whole thing in an atmospheric fog. He’s looking for that “rare shit only,” he says.
Now, WiFiGawd takes another step forward with his new tape, Stuck in 95. It’s a collaborative effort, all produced by Beaumont Texas’ Dretti Franks. WiFi said he looked to Dretti because nobody makes music like him. “Pure sounds,” he called them.
The backbone for Stuck in 95 is Dretti’s spacey Houston G-Funk. The pinched synth slides and bouncing keys blare directly from a candy paint hovercraft. It’s UGK’s Ridin Dirty, but drenched in a syrupy vat of sunset colors and given a clean, mechanized finish.
WiFi floats all over, in, and around Dretti’s production, balancing his more lusty and emotional impulses for women and designer. He’s peeping a bad bitch’s ass from the front, but also willing to do anything for his boo.
On the standout song “Dior Jeans,” WiFi frolics between Dretti’s shimmering high notes and padded bass. Wifi’s penchant for anthemic flexes shines bright throughout the tape, but Dior Jeans is on another level. His love for designer and gas is delivered so effortlessly, it feels like he’s been doing this shit his whole life. Unbothered, his words trail off the echoes on the hook, blending in to the fuzzy extraterrestrial sound. He fills out emphasis in patterns that sound so comfortable – echoing each bar to turn an 8 into a 16 before extending the -a- in gaaaas-pack instead of an echo.
“What I rock (what I rock), Dior Jeans (Dior Jeans) // On my body (on my bodh), new McQueen (new McQueen).
Bitch I’m cool (Bitch I’m coo), Bitch I’m geeked (bitch I’m geeked) // OG Gaaaaaas-pack, all I need (all I need).”
WiFi follows it up immediately with I Stamp, a plea for his baby girl to slow it down in which his grainy voice melts straight through Dretti’s reverberating synth glitches.
With Stuck in 95, WiFiGawd brings his quietly prolific 2018 to a close with as cohesive a body of work as he’s put out all year. Bound by Dretti’s airy take on H-Town G-Funk, WiFi makes his words sound like anything from a gust of air to quick snare clap. He’s consistently tapped in to the “rare sounds” of his generation and this collaboration with Dretti Franks feels no different.
I used to hate when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I would always answer that it was my dream to be a space cowboy. Well now Dretti and WiFi have made my dream come true. I’m gliding through Andromeda, and my cotton candy blue spaceship’s got a little more horsepower than yours.