POW Premiere: Free Snacks — “5 Min”

Jack Riedy offers a few words on the rapper/producer duo and their newest single.
By    October 9, 2019

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Living with competent public transit puts the whole city within your grasp, but leads to a permanent purgatory where everyone is always just five minutes away. On “5 Min,” Chicago duo Free Snacks depict the cabin fever that comes with trying to link up with a weedman who is always on his way but never close.

Free Snacks is the duo of rapper/producers Joshua Virtue and Ruby Watson. They came up playing shows in the city’s genre-agnostic DIY scene, including Watson’s own DIY venue Nude Beach. Perhaps because they’ve shared bills with R&B singers and punk bands, Free Snacks makes hip-hop for the heads, the omnivorous kind that feasts on crates of all styles and even field recordings for beat fodder. They pair the precocious rowdiness of early Odd Future with the scummy charm of DOOM. Along with rappers Malci and Davis, Virtue and Watson have formed the label Why? Records as a home for Chicago’s weirdo rap.

Of the Why? Records crew, Free Snacks is most adept at fitting their reference-heavy raps around strong hooks, and “5 Min” is a new peak. The gang vocals on the chorus have enough energy to demolish a basement or warehouse show. 

Joshua Virtue is doing donuts in the parking lot, stewing in Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey and racking up stars like GTA. He threatens to put all your icons in the sand after he says he’s rare like Rick Ross, “shout-out all the pear”. Producer Ruby Watson takes it down to just drums to drop ACAB bars: “I’m tryna change the game like AOC / I stay with the gang on G-O-D/ and no you cannot hang you’re a C-O-P”. Watson insists the group’s not underground rap, it’s the Renaissance, and any revolution too high-brow for “always looking for the nut like Scrat from Ice Age” is one not worth having. Watson’s beat lurches to a halt with an instrumental coda, bass boosted and distorted like a deep fried meme.

Free Snacks’ sophomore project Fast Food drops 11/22; POW is premiering the first single below.

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