The Rap-Up: Week of December 16th, 2019

The Rap-Up returns with new joints from Maxo, Fly Anakin, and more.
By    December 16, 2019

Our writing always earns five mics. Please support your source for the best hip-hop by subscribing to Passion of the Weiss on Patreon.

Brandon Callender has a knee strike that could knock the MAGA hat off of Colby Covington’s head.

Goonew – “Suicidal Thoughts”

The only thing on my Christmas list this year is a “Dedication” style tape with every rapper from Baltimore and the DMV hand picking their favorite beats and going in. None of them are intimidated by a beat’s “prestige” or “timeless qualities.” Young Moose made one of the hardest “Versace” remixes out. Xanman and Lil Dude inspired people to finish several workout sets on “Many Men.” Now, Captain Crunch flips Biggie’s “Suicidal Thoughts” for a new Goonew single. It’s weird hearing Goonew rap without hearing his signature “Hey Auntie” adlib come after a line, but that doesn’t take away from the song. While the original slowly builds suspense leading to an eventual suicide attempt, Goonew turns the track into a paranoia-inducing sprint. The track is packed with threats of leaving his opps outlined in white chalk and flexes of glow in the dark Balenciagas with quick, abrupt camera cuts and transitions in the video spinning viewers around like they’re in an interrogation room.

Maxo – “Strongside”

Maxo’s staring adulthood right in the face. His debut album from March, LIL BIG MAN, is a coming of age story that black men can see themselves in. It’s filled with uncertainties about the future, bouts with depression and anxiety, but also visions of love and hope.  The latest visual for the album is for “Strongside,” a meditation on the struggles that come with having to constantly put up a hardened exterior to protect the people you love. The song’s heartwarming video showcasing Black love features Maxo and his partner (and collaborator), (Liv).e. “God knows my skin not the toughest / I cover up my pain with a gram,” he raps.

It feels like you’re inside his head, hearing him wrestle with these thoughts while spending time with her. Maxo’s sincerity makes this track feel complete. Maxo’s free falling through the sky in the video like he’s finally able to let his guard down and no longer have to keep up a slowly fracturing display of hardened masculinity. “Strongside” a letter dedicated to any black man who feels like they have to pretend things are OK when they aren’t. 

Fly Anakin & Big Kahuna OG – “High Noon”

Movies taught me that a very, very long time ago, cowboys would meet in front of saloons at high noon, stand back to back, walk 10 paces away from each other and then shoot at each other in a duel. Normally, one guy missed and ended up dying. But on “High Noon,” the Richmond duo of Fly Anakin & Big Kahuna OG prove that they’re incapable of missing. The drum loops and dark piano notes accent their voices. Big Kahuna OG’s gruff voice and terrifying stories are backed by dark piano notes and drum loops. His threats are sharpened and direct, saying that he’ll leave shells in your body “that won’t heal right.” Fly Anakin’s nasally and much more animated voice makes him seem less threatening than Big Kahuna OG, but that idea quickly gets done away with. “You’ll get disposed just like the camera / Had these pussies shook since before Panama,” he raps.

I can’t get the sound of him saying, “these lizard shoes came straight from Peru” out of my head. It’s like one of those crazy Roc Marciano-style flexes that you can only hope to relate to.

Natia – “Bender”

Natia’s most recent release on POW Recordings, Natia the God, closes out with “Bender,” a personal reflection on the vices of addiction and going on long-term benders. Natia’s stumbling through his home, realizing that so many of his possessions have been sold off for money to sustain his lifestyle. “Natia, gotta eat / Oh my god where my TV? / Where the fuck did my bed go,” he raps. He realizes he’s all alone, having been kicked out of his mom’s house due to his struggles. Natia’s honest storytelling makes him someone you want to root for; he’s letting listeners accompany on his journey to being a better person.

Babyface Ray featuring Sam & Veeze – “Hall of Fame”

Babyface Ray makes rapping look so easy. Sam opens up “Hall of Fame” asking Ray a ton of rhetorical questions and Ray just responds by saying he can’t even feel his face. Even if it seems like Babyface Ray’s just going through the motions, he’ll drop some lines like, “I can’t tell you about the mall nigga you gotta order that / Two K’s, Kenan Kel you know I’m with all of that” to remind you he’s fully dialed in. Even though his contributions are small, Sam makes it known he sticks with his word: “Never turned my back on you that was part of the rules / The world would be fucked up if I did what you do.” Veeze, the captain of the Wavy Navy, comes through with another good verse showing his consistency. 2019 has seen the continuation of a Detroit rap renaissance, with several extremely talented rappers popping up and making a name for themselves back at home and on the internet. 

Mulatto – “Latto”

When I first watched this video, I kept staring at the guy with a lovebird nested in his locs. I thought there was only one bird in there at first, but it turns out that there’s two. But that’s just a distraction from Mulatto’s confidence and humbling flexes. She says that anyone’s lucky if they get a chance to “hit the Latto” and brags about having style way back when people were still rocking True Religion. When she says “you ain’t no gangster, you got bullied in school,” you can hear her smirking. 2019 has been a breakout year for her, with “Bitch from Da Souf” dropping in January and her recent feature on Hitmaka’s “Thot Box (Remix).”

We rely on your support to keep POW alive. Please take a second to donate on Patreon!