The Rap-Up: Week of April 8, 2019

The Rap-Up returns with new joints from JPEGMAFIA, 03 Greedo, and more.
By    April 8, 2019

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Mano Sundaresan will whip yo’ ass like Sasha Banks.

JPEGMAFIA – “The Who (feat. Eyas)”

With every song, JPEGMAFIA takes you to the essence of its composition, stripping away and magnifying the elements until there’s nothing hidden. It’s glitchy, turbulent hip-hop with industrial and ambient textures that clash and coexist. Don’t get me wrong: Peggy has bangers. But the drops are rawer and less predictable than mainstream fare. His stuff sounds like it’s from a parallel universe that’s only a couple left-turns off from ours, familiar but otherworldly.

“The Who” is an outtake from his last album Veteran, and it’s as ethereal and infectious as anything on there. It’s really pretty – Eyas’ vocals are transcendent – but then Peggy raps about making hits on the toilet and being a vegetable and the one-click feature on Amazon Prime and you realize it’s ridiculous and quintessentially Peggy.

03 Greedo – “Trap House (feat. Shoreline Mafia)”

I missed DJ Mustard. He hasn’t disappeared from the public eye, but aside from his work with Ella Mai, he’s settled down after his domination of early 2010s hip-hop. I was in high school when the producer’s reign on the charts began. “Rack City,” “I’m Different,” “Show Me,” “My Ni**a,” the hits piled on.  Some time during that era I came to the realization that almost all of them were born from the same snap-and-chant formula, but that didn’t bother me. DJ Mustard ruled the charts because was fucking good at what he did. He made songs you loved, then hated, then loved. There was a time in 2013 when you couldn’t go a cycle on hip-hop radio without hearing “Mustard on the beat, hoe” at least once.

Anyways, hearing the tag on this song brought back some memories and has me excited for Mustard and Greedo’s upcoming project Still Summer in the Streets. 03 Greedo’s chorus on this song is pure, made-for-summer excellence. Greedo loves to hone in on visceral images – falling asleep at the wheel, blow-up beds, trying not to cry in public. Here it’s waking up on a barren, sheetless mattress at the traphouse. The beat is a gorgeous bed of keys and snaps, Rob Vicious and OhGeesy of Shoreline Mafia check in for slick verses, and suddenly this is looking like a summer hit waiting to happen. Here’s to Mustard’s return, and free Greedo on everything.

Stunna 4 Vegas – “Billion Dollar Baby Freestyle (feat. DaBaby)”

There is no rap duo clicking like these two right now. North Carolina is rapidly becoming a force in hip-hop, and Stunna 4 Vegas and DaBaby are leading the charge.

billy woods/Kenny Segal – “A Day in a Week in a Year (feat. Mothermary)”

I’ve been listening to the new billy woods/Kenny Segal album a lot, trying to unpack it, appreciating woods’ evolution and Segal’s production. Hiding Places is easily one of woods’ best albums and probably his most accessible. As a writer, woods leaps around, playing different characters, jabbing at everything from police surveillance to Nas performing at Carnegie Hall.

In “A Day in a Week in a Year,” almost every line feels quotable off the sheer colorfulness of the writing. Segal’s work on this one can’t go unnoticed either. Muffled keys and droning bass are the ideal complement for woods’ jagged musings.

Lil Nas X – “Old Town Road (Remix) [feat. Billy Ray Cyrus]”

This isn’t the first country rap song – Jeff’s got the history covered in this Twitter thread. It’s not going to sprout a new genre or even start a trend. It’s Lil Nas X, a kid from the internet, capitalizing on his virality, sense of humor, and a wild west aesthetic that’s been begging to be memed since Young Thug dropped “Family Don’t Matter.” It’s one of the weirdest, most fascinating things to happen in music this year. “Old Town Road” gets taken down from the Hot Country chart because, per Billboard, it didn’t “embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version,” then Billy Ray Cyrus hops on the remix in solidarity with him and somehow makes it even better.

This sounds like a story you’d see in the Onion, but it’s real life. “Old Town Road” is also an absolute smash. I heard it blaring from an ‘80s-themed house party I walked past a couple nights ago. I heard it in a public bathroom at a coffee shop. I heard it outside Detroit Metro airport from someone’s AirPods at 1:00am. This thing is going to be inescapable for weeks.

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