The Rap-Up: Week of April 13, 2020

The Rap-Up returns with new tracks from 2KBaby, Almighty Suspect, and more.
By    April 13, 2020

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It’s over for most of these rap podcasts if Harley Geffner and Wifi link up.

2KBaby – Pregame Rituals

2KBaby’s music feels like dramatic beams of sunlight peeking through rain clouds. Amidst all the doom and gloom, this is the soul music that speaks to a brighter hour coming. It’s fitting that 2KBaby’s musical journey began on his drive from Louisville to re-settle in Atlanta, in search of an escape from the rumbling stomachs, government assistance, and less-than-legal activities that defined survival for him growing up. Per Eric Skelton’s interview with him, it was singing Calboy melodies during that 6-hour drive that made him think, damn maybe I can actually sing. 

His debut label tape, Pregame Rituals, starts off with an echoing melody “I’m drowniiiing, can not escape my surroundings.” With lullaby harp chords, choral backdrops, stacked pitter-patter melodies, and a voice that wraps the perfectly mixed tracks like a see-through linen on a Greek goddess, 2kBaby has every element to inspire us to push past that drowning-in-misery stage of the past month. The album, Burners to Benzes, unfolds like the success stories needed to maintain hope in the most depressing timeline. If he can do it, so can we. With just three perfectly placed features from G Herbo, YFN Lucci, and Lil Durk, 2K holds his own against these titans, complementing the gut punches with some misty component of his voice that’s hard to pin down. It’s full-belly singing cathartic. 

YS & Sada Baby – “Mobsters”

Heartwarming to see this LA to Detroit kinship continuing to blossom, with those deep ass pounding RonRon synthlines cutting across the pass. YS is one of those ruthlessly threatening rappers whose bars make you shiver. Where YS raps that his heart’s gone and he doesn’t smile anymore, Sada’s still having fun with those threats, ready to run up on the dude who’s “got muscles for no reason, Eric Bledsoe,” and shimmy away from the scene like a high school receiver in the endzone mocking the DB he skated on.

Almighty Suspect – em>Living Legend

LA’s Almighty Suspect makes music to get ignorantly drunk or go 40 mph over the speed limit to (not at the same time). This is the first tape I’m bumping when I can finally have the homies over to sip brown liquor again. His voice is singular, leaving a growl that crawls in the wake of every word. And his songwriting is so efficient, there’s never a wasted moment over the hammering production. Some examples from my notes app:

“Goalie, slid his chin like it’s hockey / Kobe, dunk his bitch and get toppy”

“New M3 bitch them windows is tinted / what’s in the trunk it could give me a sentence”

“Glocks in the whip, see a cop and I dip / I ain’t goin back, that’s on my mom and my kids / There’s a lot that I did, HA HA I live / Put a n**** in the sky like a blimp”

UnoTheActivist featuring 2gramcam – “Night Mode”

If there were any justice in the world, Uno would be right there with Carti, fans begging for him to drop, with a comically large following and memes and subreddits surrounding everything he does. But he’s mostly been recording in relative obscurity with a culty following since his cousin got scooped up by the VLoners. There are two sides to every story of course, as it seemed like Carti felt Uno and Thouxanban were moving too slow and they felt Carti went Hollywood on them (he also was chilling with the dude who shot Uno in the leg in 2016), but needless to say, the music remains as strong as ever, from all sides of the family. Uno’s newest song, Night Mode, is a sublime example of his mystical prowess, encompassing the plodding organ melodies with oooh oooh ooohs made of space dust, which seem to apparate in and out of existence at a molecular level.

How I wish for the family to make up so we could get the baby voice and the space dust voice conducting chemistry experiments together. 

Evol – “333”

Evol, a member of the SGP/Chxpo-affiliated Black Money Boys dark production superteam, who previously went by Scando Rambo, dropped one of those sub 1:30 songs that can sit on repeat forever to set a mood. 333 feels like purgatory, suspended in a foggy emotionless state between worlds. “Imma pull up in a drop top on a cold day,” is one of those spacey hooks that binds to your subconscious.

Yvncc – “Malnourished (prod. Apoc Krysis)”

Memphis revivalist shit with a sweet R&B sample, unearthed via the very rare Instagram of our resident Memphis rap historian Lucas Foster.

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