The Rap-Up: Week of November 4, 2019

The Rap-Up returns with new joints from Earl Sweatshirt, Wiki, and more.
By    November 4, 2019

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Mano Sundaresan will dip when they capsize.

Earl Sweatshirt – “EAST”

Earl Sweatshirt’s latest EP FEET OF CLAY continues the rapper’s journey into denser, more impenetrable production and rapping. In virtue of its brevity, it’s a little more accessible than its predecessor, last year’s excellent lo-fi collage Some Rap Songs, but mostly shares the same DNA. The one song everyone’s talking about, though, isn’t quite like anything Earl’s done before. It’s a song called “EAST,” which one YouTube commenter says reminds him of “rolf from ed edd n eddy,” another describes as “Pirate Vibes,” another describes as “Germany.”

“EAST” and most other Earl songs need to be evaluated in the context of the projects they’re on. These days, his songs consistently dip below the two-minute mark, a sign that he wants his music to be consumed in project format. In the context of FEET OF CLAY, “EAST” serves as a sharp palette cleanser amidst the murkier cuts. It’s unfair to call it trolling; Earl’s had a genuine fascination with strange beats harkening back to his first tape (“Luper” is still one of the weirdest things he’s ever rapped on). This song is not for everybody but it’s the kind of wonkiness you need in an EP that is constantly burrowing into itself and runs the risk of sounding samey.

ShittyBoyz Babytron – “Whoopty Fucking Do”

The winner of last week was Babytron, who put out his debut project Bin Reaper. It easily cements him as one of the cleverest rappers working. Over the course of these 13 electro-inspired tracks, Babytron just keeps going. He’s one of those rappers you and your friends collectively gasp to while listening together and catching some punchline. But there’s no time to catch your breath; he just keeps going, nailing that icy monotone track after track. Every song on here is loaded top-to-bottom with all the Instagram captions, scammer boasts, and basketball references you’ll need for the next year. Like, it’s seriously hard to find a bar he wastes. It’s impossible to pick a favorite off this song, but the Call of Duty references in the first verse are fire: “Feeling like a MOAB, bitch I’m blowing up / 25 kills through this bitch, shooter going nuts.”

Wiki – “Pesto”

There is a reason why Tony Seltzer is one of the most sought-out producers in the game today. Every one of his beats has this glossy, cyberpunk sheen and a shadowy bounce that is as transferrable to RapCaviar as it is to Soundcloud underground mixes. He’s fiercely independent, unscathed by label politics and norms surrounding career trajectory: even after landing hits with mainstream artists like Rich The Kid and Smokepurpp, he has continued to work with and put on cult rap heroes like WifiGawd, Vinny Fanta, and DJ Lucas.

Here, Tony supplies an instrumental that could soundtrack Neo Tokyo or the present-day dystopia to longtime collaborator Wiki, who acknowledges the producer’s greatness: “Tony on the ones and two / Times a fuckin’ ton, that’s what Tony do.” It’s like if you imbued an early Timbaland beat with the sound design of Law & Order. Wiki tears it up, as he’s been doing on this recent singles run. His new project OOFIE is out this Friday.

54 Baby Trey – “Michael Myers”

54 Baby Trey raps in a way you could imagine him talking. It’s this subdued voice that, when strung out over choppy Midwest flows, sounds haunting. “Michael Myers” was released on Halloween and its video has all the makings of a Halloween rap video (although where are the Michael Myers masks? Why are they wearing Jason masks?). A few days removed from the holiday marketing, though, it’s just another great song in a growing catalog of great songs for the Milwaukee rapper.

YNW Melly featuring 9lokknine – “223s”

It’s a catchy song but man, what a strange, strange video.

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