The Rap-Up: Week of July 1st, 2019

The Rap-Up returns with new joints from KEY!, Rucci, Mustard, and more.
By    July 1, 2019

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Mano Sundaresan might get a little emotional if the Jazz make it to the Finals next year.

>Kasher Quon & Teejayx6 – “Dynamic Duo”

This song is insanity. It’s Kasher Quon and Teejayx6 going bar-for-bar with demonic grins, cataloging their past scams and planning future ones like a couple of internet-savvy war generals. They rap like they’re pushing each other out of a frame too small to fit both of them, one swooping in with a punchline as soon as the other’s lands. I don’t know what’s more unbelievable: that Quon and Teejay’s content (jugging cousins from Utah, getting chased by mall cops that look like Rick Ross, etc.) is basically standard fare for Detroit rap, or that they pulled off trading almost exclusively single bars after the one-minute mark. They alternate their micro-punch-ins with laser precision, barely letting the beat breathe. Whoever engineered this is a legend.

Rucci – “Bong in the Booth”

Sometimes Rucci just needs to bar out. But like many LA legends before him, he’s not going to write anything down. All he needs is some weed, a mic, and a pack of fire beats and he’s good. His new EP Bong In The Booth is branded as an off-the-cuff freestyle session — the track titles are just “Bong In the Booth 1, “Bong In The Booth 2,” etc. — but Rucci’s process has always been spontaneous. He’s just practicing the fifth element of hip-hop: constantly reminding your fans that you don’t write your raps. Rucci’s a phenomenal rapper, imbuing LA rap with a biting flare reminiscent of Boosie’s. He’s at his best on looser material like this, practically smirking through warnings like “Call me what you want but just don’t call me when I’m rich.” 

mixed matches – “lostinnewyork”

A little slice of the future from mixed matches, a member of SoundCloud collective Neilaworld. The group showcases some artists who dip their toes in both rapping and producing, often blurring the line between them. mixed matches pitches his vocals way up, layers them, and mixes them to sound like they’re floating down from somewhere in the cosmos. His production here is somber and contemplative, expansive and weightless.


The gravitational center of the new Key! album SO EMOTIONAL is “MIAMI TOO MUCH,” a song that opens with a muttered damn carrying the dejection of a thousand Knicks fans who were just cheated on. On the other single “FALL HARD,” he’s talking to his lover, confessing to her that his heart is frozen over. On both songs, Oogie Mane plays heartbreak soldier, providing the glacial synths and cavernous 808s for Key! to dwell inside. This is an album of blues and greys, all shaded and covered with frost. Key!’s going through it, and he wants you to know. Even at his most energetic, like on “WHY,” he asks, “Why, why, why, why, why are you taunting me?” intoning the “why’s” as if he’s weeping through them. There are moments when sunlight peeps through the fog, like “HARD SOFT,” which is brimming with essential Key! non sequiturs, but don’t let them confuse you. This is very-hard breakup music, and if I see any of these songs in someone’s summer playlist, I’m asking that person if they’re ok.

Mustard – “Woah Woah (feat. Young Thug & Gunna)”

Mustard will never stop chasing hits. But if his latest album Perfect Ten is any indication, he’s evolving. The songs here are fuller, more complex than the skeletal hits of old. What they lose in immediacy and catchiness, they gain in warmth and nuance. Mustard’s mostly eschewed the bells and chants that defined his early ‘10s run, instead opting for soft pads, keyboard, and guitar. On standout cut “Woah Woah,” Young Thug and Gunna slide over silky strumming and gorgeous electric piano. Young Thug is expectedly great and Gunna croons with the grace of a rapper who wants a residency at the Blue Note 20 years from now.

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