Harley Geffner has mastered the Perfect Plex.
Baby Smoove – “Trippin’ (feat. Icewear Vezzo)”
Baby Smoove toys with melodies like a cat hitting a little yarnball that he’s already played with a billion times. “Trippin” sounds like he’s just waking up and hasn’t had his coffee yet, but of course, his morning starter is lean. He directly says as much in the song and then later refers to cream soda as his tea. Icewear Vezzo follows up, gliding in the undercurrent of the electric bass, sounding like he’s just victoriously emerged from the water to brag about the hundred thousand he made off a derivative of codeine that I had to google.
This was just one of a few songs that immediately caught my ear off Baby Smoove’s new album Mr. Perfect. Listen to the whole thing if you can and are interested, but if you’re impatient, the run from Nerd to Dog S**t goes crazy. And the 4-song EP he dropped the day before the album is also dope and starts with a sample of the Godfather theme song.
Makonnen – “I’m Not Ok”
The standout song on Makonnen’s new EP, “I’m Not Ok” is overflowing with bubbles from a stick dipped in a syrupy vat of liquid pink sugar. The fluorescent bubbles pop and splatter around Makonnen’s breathy whispers as he croons on a universally relatable relationship problem of partners only wanting you when you’re in need of fixing. The only time Makonnen’s is interested is when he’s not feeling so great. He says “you say want the truth but you come closer when I’m lyin.” Listening, you feel resigned to the same fate as Makkonen, as his “I’m not Ok” chants float off the top of your head like a champagne tipsy that’s got you just a little in your feelings. You come away from the song a little sad and almost drunk yourself.
Melvoni – “No Man’s Land”
Brooklyn’s young prodigy Melvoni can be pretty hit or miss to me as his songs can occasionally veer in to being more whiny than a reflection of his total-package vocal range. But this is the shit that will stick with you. He pitch changes so fluidly throughout No Man’s Land, you’re on the edge of your seat trying to figure out where he’s taking it next. It’s invigorating.
NLE Choppa – “Free Youngboy”
It seems like NLE Choppa is everywhere right now. All of his videos do Youngboy numbers (this one is at 5 mill in a week) and he just shot one with Blueface and Cole Bennett, another with Smokepurpp (ugh), and one with Glokknine all in the past few weeks. Birdman really knows how to pick ‘em. Everytime NLE comes up, I still can’t stop picturing that one absurdly funny video of Birdman watching him flail his arms like a demon was trying to escape from within. He’s a little more controlled now, but those insane dances still try to escape his bodily vessel for stretches in every video.
I’ll admit that my first read on NLE Choppa was wrong. He struck me as just an energy guy who would have trouble getting further away from his comfort zone like Lil Pump or something, but turns out his comfort zone is actually huge. Since Shotta Flow first came out, I’ve heard countless melodic and layered hooks and genuinely funny bars and barbs that have grabbed me. “Free Youngboy” is full of them.
Calboy – “Chariot (feat. Meek Mill, Young Thug, Lil Durk)”
Calboy’s most recent album is being called his debut because it was his first released since he signed with Meek Mill’s Dream Chasers imprint under RCA. It’s mostly dropped out of my rotation by now, but a few songs have stuck, and none more than the rodeo-paced Chariot with the all-star cast of Meek, Thug and Lil Durk. I don’t have much to say about this song. It’s very good and the flamenco guitar pattern in the background makes me want more rappers to hop on Rosalia songs (just not the commercial pop reaches).
ALLBLACK – “304 (feat. Kossisko)”
ALLBLACK got his start in the music industry through his close friend and fellow Bay Area rapper/singer Kossisko. Kossisko used to bring him on tour to open for larger artists. ALLBLACK has since jumped an echelon, blowing up in to national consciousness mostly off a tape with the most well-known producer in rap right now, Kenny Beats. But this is actually ALLBLACK and Kossisko’s first ever video together. Recorded in the 2004 VCR package of home workout videos my mom used to rock with, 304 is that silly, funky Bay shit to its core. ALLBLACK gives us his order at the mexican spot where they all know him and brags about being turnt up since AIM. Raise your hand if you had a stupid aim screen name. But his verse is revving the motor over and over before Kossisko picks it up to put the song in cruise control.
Goonew – “Drip and Ice”
Bonus video because there was so much great music this week. This Goonew song sounds like an exfil mission through the jungle in the dead of night with those green vision goggles. Scoring movies sounds like such a fun job. That scene would be so fire.