The Rap-Up: Week of June 22, 2020

The Rap-Up returns with new heat from JayDaYoungan, Kasher Quon, Saviii 3rd, and more.
By    June 22, 2020

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Harley Geffner just bought some tiger feed from Big Cat Rescue.

JaydaYoungan – Baby 23

There’s been a lot of murmurs about a comeback of politically conscious rap. Lil Baby put out “The Bigger Picture” last week, speaking directly to the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and the plight of Black people in this country, to widespread praise. And Pitchfork’s Alphonse Pierre rightly pointed out that the outpouring of support felt patronizing given that Baby has always been a deep and thoughtful rapper. More rappers are following suit with their own songs about the movement now too.

This is all commendable, but we should be thinking through what we consider to be politically conscious rap in the first place. Just because somebody isn’t explicitly saying that Black Lives Matter like Baby or talking about abolition theory like Noname doesn’t mean it’s not political. The historical weight of what rap music represents makes it inherently political, and the circumstances from which it most typically arises steep every bar with a conscious tint. It feels the same as people who argue that looting is bad because a lot of the looters aren’t for the cause, they just want free shit. Looting is inherently political if you consider private property a political proposition. And if you consider the social structures that create cycles of poverty, and can often necessitate guns for protection, then gun raps are political too.

On his new album Baby 23, Jaydayoungan spits a slew of high quality gun raps over sunny BR/Florida production that might read to some as glorifying violence. He raps about the size of his guns, how many he has, all the different types, and all the things they can do to his enemies, but there’s a critique of the pressures of growing up as a black man in America underlying it all. When he talks about his dog coming home from prison and going right back to distributing, that’s a direct line to a traumatic cycle of racial violence perpetuated by the state. He might not have the big words that people like to associate with intelligence to talk about our governments oppressing people, but he’s showing it in live time instead of telling it. You think that man who gets out of prison has much of a shot at getting a traditional job with the trauma and stigma that he carries?

This is political at its core if you think even a modicum about who and what produces these raps instead of hearing “guns, fucking, drugs” and categorizing it as apolitical while wishing more rappers sound like Common. The showing, instead of telling, method should make you think even harder about the inequalities in America because you’ve got to piece it together yourself. A young Chief Keef talking about police on his dick is more thought provoking to me than anything I’ve ever heard J Cole rap. Everything is so dumb right now.

Bandgang Lonnie Bands x Bandgang Javar – The Scamily

Your Detroit album of the week comes courtesy of the Bandgang. The Scamily boasts all the heavyweight keys, funky basslines, and sharp barbs that have come to define the region, with features from Sada Baby, Babyface Ray, Teejayx6, Drego, Beno, G.T., Veeze, and more. The Detroit spitters are all so slick with the ways they send out threats, it’s impossible to count up all the clever stomp outs and scam warnings. On “In Me,” Damedot unleashes a flurry, including calling his opponent the one they make go to the store for blunts and accusing him of never having spent time on opps’ IG pages counting up the potential enemies. The whole tape flows through really smoothly, but the real standout song is “No Hook,” with the most menacingly operatic, stink-face inducing beat that’s led in by a classic Drego “Maaaaaaan.”

Bfb Da Packman & Sada Baby – “Free Joe Exotic”

“Free Joe Exotic” is 5 minutes of pure, uproarious fun. Sada Baby is obviously a star and continues to detonate on anything he touches, but Bdb Da Packman steals the show here by poking fun at himself with some wildly out of left field bars, all while practicing his dance moves in a “STILL HIV POSITIVE” hoodie. He’s one of the only people I’ve seen match or surpass Sada’s level of animation on a track. A sampling of his lines from this song:

“I’d jump off a bridge before I put my dick in plastic, I was so fucked up that I had to sell plasma, if my bitch say ‘bless you’ when you sneeze you can have her”

“She said she could feel it in her stomach, stop cappin // Old lyin ass bitch my dick ain’t that big”

“My bitch bout to leave me ‘cuz I’m built like Patrick, I nut super quick and I be wearing down the mattress, I don’t know dog I’m tired of this fat shit”

“Tell my brother if he catch a body then I’m telling Mommy”

“I’m super healthy, mixing syrup with the Jamba Juice / you ever got head from a fiend that was snaggletoothed?”

““I hate to eat fruit, my diet bad, so she hate to swallow”

“Okay, listen, I’m boutta quit rappin / I like my bitches dumb and illiterate cuz they get nasty / Donut eating got me diabetes, n**** fuck salad / my bitch cheating, fed her to the animals, Carole Baskin”

Young Ja – Project 41 

As Young Ja says early on his new album Project 41, “coming where I come from you a shooter or a hooper, I played the middle of both, it’s just the way that I maneuver.” Such was the case for Ja’Quaye James growing up, who had been gracing music video sets and festival stages since he was 6, as the nephew of Juelz Santana and a frequent guest in Dipset videos. But he was also a dedicated hooper, whose mixtape you can watch here. He’s since let go of the hoop dreams, but his rap ones endure. The raps on Project 41 are super polished for a 21-year-old, with swerving flows and strong visual imagery. I wouldn’t call him a Gunna clone, but he certainly draws from the guitar-laden melodic style, adding his own slippery touch which recalls the family genes. Also, please read this blog he wrote about his basketball career, it’s amazing.

Kasher Quon – “Rerock” and “Ennio”

It’s time to give Undefined his flowers. “Rerock” is one of the most beautifully symphonic beats I’ve ever heard and I feel that way once every two weeks about an Undefined beat. The man is really Mozart on the keys and he’s opened so many pockets for rappers like Kasher Quon or BabyTron to dash in and out of. 

Since Kasher dropped five songs this week, we’re happy to make this a two-for-one. “Ennio” starts off early in the song with a familiar scenario, when Quon says “I don’t even wanna smoke, my mans keep rolling up” then continues to go off the rails from there, with classic Kasher content and rhyme schemes, like the one here:

“I heard you fucked up in the crib smoking homegrown (poor)
I was tryna go and call the lil bitch but her phone wasn’t on (broke)

She couldn’t even pay her phone bill (she can’t)
This bitch keep calling saying can you punch my phone bill (nope)”

To summarize that rhyme scheme, it’s:


Kasher lives in those types of fun rhyme patterns, and it’s one of the reasons he’s in constant contention for my favorite rapper.

Saviii 3rd x Shordie Shordie – “Walkin Licc”

Bonus track with the two best Greedo children.

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