Good writing and good editing cost time and money. Please donate to the Patreon. Valee would want it that way.
Colin Gannon thinks it’s about that time, ’cause his palms are starting to itch again.
For the first dozen or so times that I obsessively listened to Valee and DRAM’s hypnotic “About U,” I didn’t notice it was the censored version. It’s mostly because the dreamy, enveloping qualities of ChaseTheMoney’s production, and Valee’s peerless rapping style, steal the mind away from words. At its core, “About U” is lust disguised as a love song.
To write about rap—and, in turn, to capture some of its essence—is to be constantly humbled by your own literary inadequacies. Valee falls comfortably into the category of someone who packs a lot into very little. “Got her on her paws like a pit again / Ran off on your plug, oh you did him in / Oh nah, she ain’t from here, she not citizen,” purrs the G.O.O.D. Music rapper on the song’s second verse. His remarkable, convincingly simple flow, delivered in his trademark near-whisper, jumps out at you as text without even needing to hear the song.
Valee’s punchlines—rarified consumerist ruminations, ribald witticisms, practical solutions to everyday pains, all variations of flaunts unheard in rap—are usually decontextualized things of beauty. Here, he lustfully frolics, cruises, coasts and slides atop a beat that seems like it was created in a lab exclusively for him. That’s probably because it was. ChaseTheMoney lavishes him in drums that would be riotous only for their airy surroundings.
Vacillating between the grooves of spacey synths and the neck-snapping 808s, Valee and DRAM swap place stylistically. Valee, usually the rapper, sings the hook. DRAM, usually the caterwauling singing-rapper, raps an entire verse in authoritative and ostentatious (he quips that he receives scholarship money just to play shows at colleges) fashion.
Gracing the song’s digital cover are two brightly-drawn cartoon dogs sitting side-by side, representing canine renderings of Valee and DRAM. And like man’s best friend, on “About U” Valee and DRAM are musically loyal, ebullient, generously uplifting, and fun. The new year provided an early gift before it had even started.