Harley Geffner has stayed in some pretty nice Airbnbs.
Quin NFN – “Intro” & “Bossed Up”
Quin NFN is trying to make Austin, Texas the next Atlanta. He’s only 18, but he’s leading the charge out of the city and has started the year off hot with a pair of trunk-rattling videos. “Intro” is set in a bright auto shop with sparkling rims all over to match Quin’s grills. It’s the perfect setting for the deep church bell synth hits in the no melody beat. He shoots couplets in neat, controlled bursts, then slows it down to draw out the words, “I put my whole. soul. in it. // Nice with the clip like I’m Cole Bennett.”
If the “Intro” video feels angelic with all its white gleam, Quin makes it known he’s got a menacing devil in him too with the “Bossed Up” video. Creeping his way out of the shadows and donning all red with sparks flying, Quin’s “everywhere like there’s two of me.” He spits these potent one liners unflinchingly, like they’re just meandering thoughts leading into the next rather than the full blown knockout punches they have the power to be.
Kalan.frfr – “Hot N Ready Freestyle”
Kalan.frfr (for real, for real) is a soulful singer, typically closer to the Roddy Ricch than the Drakeo end of the neo-LA rap spectrum. He’s got the aggressive street raps too, but they’re usually appetizers for his melodic work. On the “Hot n Ready Freestyle,” Kalan serves up a 5 course silver-platter meal full of gilded appetizers. I’m talking an assortment of your favorite hors d’oeuvres that would top even the best entrees.
He jumps right in with the first of the robo-bumps that hold down the keys in the beat. He builds momentum with the bumps and explodes on the delayed drop. He’s menacing, throwing Creed punches and bars, but also disarmingly funny, pouring water all over his wrists and ripping off lines like “My bitch a Backwoods, your girl a Swisher Sweet // And yo’ baby mom eatin’ dick at my Airbnb.”
I’m anticipating the day when someone much smarter than I will write an essay about how Detroit’s and LA’s soundscapes are on a collision course, because if I didn’t know any better, I’d hear this and think Detroit before LA. I don’t really know much about any history between the two cities, but I’d be interested in someone outlining some of the geo- socio- politico whatever factors that could lead to the development of a city’s sound. Maybe this already exists, so any reader who could point me somewhere on this may or may not be gifted my framed screenshot of Blueface asking his fans for rent money.
YNW Melly x Fredo Bang – “Ingredients”
If there was any justice in the world, this song would be a surefire radio hit. Melly’s new album We All Shine was full of bright spots, but “Ingredients” is the one I haven’t been able to stop playing. It’s back to back between every other song I play.
It’s got this toe-tapping, whiskey on the piano riff as the backbone and Melly bounces through it like the ball jumping to the words of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” on a jumbotron. He’s having so much fun and you can hear it in his voice, excitedly bragging about his concoction getting stronger.
Fredo Bang gives a hearty assist to complete the song, with some nice slithery flows of his own and my favorite bar of the year: “big ol titties on this gun, this bitch could work for Hooters.”
Shordie Shordie – “Betchua”
Shordie Shordie came up as half of the duo Peso Da Mafia (technically a trio with their hype man), who had Baltimore bumping in summer ‘17 with their Money Man video and adjoining dance. Shordie hits these sweet, laid back hooks and his cousin PDM Purp raps with more urgency.
Shordie kind of reminds me of Greedo; his voice sits between nasally and raspy and he raps so relaxed, it casts this loose dreamlike state. Betchua is the finale from his recent solo album Captain Hook and it’s a smooth dirty macking anthem that’ll creep on you. The building “betchua”s in to the hook w everyone bouncing together in the video is just *chef’s finger kiss*.
Reddish Blu – “Hi to My Bye”
If Bby Goyard fits in the Rap Up, then so does Reddish Blu. She’s firmly in the bubblegum dream pop arena, but is constantly performing at underground LA warehouse shows alongside a plethora of rappers. She was also seen in the studio with ASAP Ant and Twelvyy last year. Originally from Massachusetts, her voice is airy and enchanting, and it feels like she’s putting a spell on me every time I listen to her. I’ve never been relatively close to in love before, but I’m pretty sure this is what it feels like.