Harley Geffner knows America was the name of their fuckin’ company.
Foolie & YNW Melly – “Maserati”
A young YNW Melly whips his dreads behind him as he spins through a hallway into a kick with his fists up. “We run through your house with a whole lot of sticks, with them glocks and them dicks.” Now he’s on top of a car and surrounded by a sea of his boys levitating him as he starts spelling with impressive finger agility. “Bitch it’s an R-O-B-B-E-R-Y (robbery bitch) // and we gon pull up with whole lots of fire.” I’m watching a full-blown star in this 45 second Twitter snip from Maserati.
This one-off single was dropped a few days after his joyous album We All Shine, so it was probably easy to miss if your YouTube algorithm hasn’t been bludgeoned by the Floridian’s videos. But it’s a whole lot tougher than anything off the album. On We All Shine, Melly hits infinite sweet spots frolicking freely with his melodies, but I understand they can feel circuitous if you like shit tightly sequenced. Melly’s straight to the point in Maserati though, wrapping neat spirals around the anvil drops in the beat. Just as he spins through the hall in a beautiful straight line pattern, pivoting a hundred and eighty degrees to get that kick off in the most direct motion,
Melly’s in full control. He’s can be loosey goosey with the wheel, but he knows what he’s doing in the driver’s seat.
Now obviously, the recent news about Melly’s arrest for an alleged double homicide is heartbreaking, no matter how you look at it. And I’m not going to use this space to litigate any aspects of the case, but know that making a concrete judgement until the facts are all out is inherently wrong. Melly was really just getting started and it’s incredible how advanced he had become at just 19 years old.
Lucki – “Summer 2012”
“Why they mad at Lucki? I’m a bodeine lover / My fans worry ‘bout my health so I ain’t sippin’ in public / Momma told me ‘bout myself, so I can’t listen to nothing / I need grandma picture with me, I won’t sip if she near me”
Chicagoan Lucki’s new album Freewave 3 is a portrait of a troubled addict taking on his Goliath-sized demons by limply sidearming pebbles that skitter at their feet. All throughout the project, Lucki wearily grapples with his addictions, sometimes unable to muster up more than some emotive gasps in finishing his thoughts. The exasperated ad-libs feel like looking into someone’s eyes and seeing a helplessness in them not being able to tell you about the personal hell they’re going through. They can’t muster it up and besides, they don’t want to anyways.
Lucki lives with the shadows engulfing him through everyday mundanity, defeatist and numb in grovelling woozily under the swirling ambience. His stomach is crawling from the perkys, but he still has to figure out how the hell to get home.
There can be a small euphoria in taking the path of least resistance. Resignation feels freeing, just like the perkys. You don’t have to armor up to fight the everyday, just put on your skully, pop a pill and ride with Lucki.
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – “Flat Tummy Tea”
It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years since Freddie Gibbs and Madlib linked to drop what some consider, well, one of the best things to drop in the last five years in Piñata. Now MadGibbs is making a return, preparing to drop another joint album as Freddie’s first major label release since 2007. They’ve been sitting on Bandana for almost a year, supposedly waiting for the right time to drop it.
“Flat Tummy Tea” is the first single released from Bandana and it doesn’t disappoint. Freddie’s in his bag, getting black mumied by his jeweler, feeding Jhene Aiko looking girls in the Sprinter thing, and pointing out that you would be bagging his groceries if not for that cosign. His gruff voice cuts through the buzzing Madlib chop with triumphant boasts before a beat switch and a reclamation of king status.
“If we don’t take it we don’t deserve it back / 6000 years done ran up the kings of the earth is back/ Supreme mathematics I’m on the right course/ I took the sword and knocked white Jesus off of that white horse”
Scrappy Doo – “Lil Treesh”
Now this should probably be a sticking point, but if you can get past the blatant misogyny and homophobia present in many of his songs, Scrappy Doo is one of the most fun rappers in Brooklyn, and maybe anywhere else right now. I’m possibly guilty of letting myself off the hook from critically engaging and just attributing almost every shitty thing an artist says in their lyrics to an environment that breeds that type of thinking, but let it rock because Scrappy is putting out wild shit that most people can’t honestly write about and he doesn’t stand accused of any heinous crimes.
(I think) I coined the term “goofy drill” to describe Famous Dex’s output in early 2016 before my then editor took it out of an article. She didn’t know who Chief Keef was though, so I still can’t believe she had the audacity to fuck around with my words on Chicago rap. But Scrappy fits the description to a T, probably even more than Dex ever did. He snarls with a disdain for the cameraman and conventions of rapping, letting emphases pile up before unfurling bars or word fragments. He does it all the while contorting his body into crazy improvisational variations on the Lbop dance, a spinoff of Brooklyn’s Blixky Twirl, wherein he dusts his pecs and catches a groove in an alternating squat and leg kick pattern.
He’ll “snatch a soul right out his body, then Lbop all over his dead body.” It’s an absurd-looking dance to pair with lyrics like those, but you’ll see how hot it can be if you watch a few videos of him shooting his arms and legs out like projectiles and frontflipping over things as an extension of the chest dust.
NLE Choppa – “Shotta Flow 2”
NLE Choppa is a dynamo. He’s a 16-year-old ball of uncontrollable energy, shooting a constant spew from the seams. Music writer Travis Grier tweeted “Desiigner walked so NLE Choppa could…….. do whatever this is,” referring to a video of him scrambling his arms in front of Birdman, who looks like a dude with some serious grooming behavior problems. That vid has 2.8M views on Twitter at the time of this writing.
After dropping the jolting and sparse “Shotta Flow” video in January, NLE was thrown into the middle of a label bidding war and he allegedly turned down a three million dollar deal in favor of a more minor distribution one. He’s the hottest ticket out right now, but put him through the machine and he’ll be washed in a day. Dudes like him traffic in pure bumps-in-the-bathroom-stall-of-the-club energy and it’s what makes his singles so compelling. Liken him to a 16-year old Lil Pump, who probably never should have been tasked with making any project longer than 7 minutes. Enjoy the highs from these singles before Atlantic starts trying to shovel shitty Peruvian down your nose on a lazy Sunday.
Quando Rondo – “Scarred from Love”
Savannah, Georgia’s Quando Rondo is really learning to master his voice. The first time I heard this, I had to run it back for 15 minutes straight before I could concentrate on anything else. The track is beyond gorgeous and Rondo is really becoming a special sort of artist.