The Rap-Up: Week of September 14, 2020

The Rap-Up returns with new tracks from 2 Chainz, Jelly, and more.
By    September 14, 2020

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Brandon Callender‘s mama said don’t rely on no gun, that’s why he’s fading you bums.


2 Chainz – “Money Maker (feat. Lil Wayne)”


The first time that I watched Drumline I was still living in South Jamaica, spending time with my grandma in Baisley, miles away from the fictional Atlanta A&T University. There was an old, rusted trombone in the apartment that she begged me not to touch, but I knew that one day I’d be rocking the stands during homecoming, hopefully rocking some Blue & Gold. When we moved to North Carolina, I got to hear bands come roaring down my street screaming chants and blaring fanfares with my own ears, sunlight from all the freshly-shined mellophones being reflected into my eyes. I never looked away though. 

There’s something about the video for “Money Maker” that keeps me glued to the screen — it might be the part where the Southern University Human Jukebox’s drum major is preparing to take the field, or maybe it’s the clip of the band warming up under the stands, with the dance squad making last-minute costume adjustments, or it could just be the brassy “Piece Of My Love” arrangement that they use instead of sampling the original song. For anyone who grew up near an HBCU, or has family that attended one, this video feels like home. I’ve lived down the street from North Carolina Central University — my sister’s alma mater — ever since high school and every year, without fail, my mom’s sent me clips of the homecoming parade. She even has clips of the year I marched in the parade in high school. 

There won’t be a mysteriously warm Saturday in October where I hear feet rumbling down Fayetteville Street and smell hundreds of pounds of charcoal being burned to feed thousands of hungry alumni who just want to have a good time. There won’t be a sea of oldheads asking what I know about Dru Hill and Jagged Edge deep cuts, forgetting that they’re the same age as my parents. And there definitely won’t be any drunk uncles like 2 Chainz in the stands, leading an entire section of the crowd to chant “Now shake that money maker / Dont let that money make ya,” even though no one knows who the hell he’s related to. “Money Maker” is the closest we’ll get to homecoming this year, as much as it pains me to say that. 2 Chainz makes sure we can (safely) celebrate in our living rooms though.


Ty Bri – “Wake Up (feat. Mulatto)”


Out of all of the major storylines in rap this year — deluxe albums, Travis Scott combo meals at McDonald’s, and TikTok dances — the one that’s held my attention the longest is the female stars constantly collaborating with each other. Whether it’s Megan Thee Stallion teaming up with both Cardi B and Beyonce in the same year on two separate #1 hits with everyone from Normani to Sukihana starring in the “WAP” video, Day Sulan and Rubi Rose linking up, or even Chloe x Halle bringing in the City Girls, Mulatto Doja Cat like they’re assembling a superteam for the “Do It” remix. You could throw darts at a board and a collaboration probably exists, and if it doesn’t, it’s probably being cooked up as you read this. 

Cleveland’s Ty Bri glides over Philly Ferrari’s slick, bouncy production. “I ain’t got time to gossip / Cant get paid, don’t tell me about it,” she raps, rolling her eyes. Ty Bri’s effortless cool gets balanced out by Big Latto’s acrobatic-like raps: “Comin’ off the hip with a dirty Glock / Real VVs on me, they Milly Rock.” The way they lip-sync each other’s parts in the music video makes it feel more like two friends coming together than them trying to one-up each other. I’m not sure what collab I’ll have on repeat next week, but until then, I’ll be playing “Wake Up” until I’m sick of it.


Pooh Shiesty – “Lemonade”


It feels like Gucci Mane’s finally taking his own label seriously and is taking the time to develop artists. His latest album, So Icy Summer, which featured all of the new 1017-signees, allowed Gucci to take a step back, letting a new generation set the pace. In a new series for Audiomack, the new signees are getting the chance to flip some Gucci classics to give them a different kind of look. You could play any mixtape Gucci beat and get someone to freestyle on it during a cypher a lunch. 

There’s no telling what song anyone could pick, but “Lemonade” was bound to be picked at some point. When Pooh Shiesty steps into the booth, he immediately starts imitating Gucci — even in Memphis, Gucci is King. It’s hard to imagine what the last decade of Southern rap would look like without Gucci’s influence. Every kid in the South has tacked on their own verse to a Gucci song like they’d get signed one day. “Gucci paved the way, made Lemonade / Add me that’s Lemon-Lime,” he raps, paying respect to the Trap God. It feels like Pooh Shiesty’s been preparing his whole life for this moment, from the “BRRRR” adlibs to the seemingly breathless verse he spits. Every line builds on the one right before it abruptly ending with: “Know we keep them heaters tucked, we send shots ain’t no d’in up.” Once he takes his first breath, Pooh Shiesty can’t stop rapping.


Jelly – “Slippin (feat. Chavo)”


The fact that Pi’erre Bourne has his own imprint on Interscope gets overlooked way too much. No one is paying attention to the fact that of the best young producers is dedicating most of his time to working with a group he’s curated himself. The South Carolina producer is focused on building with young, rising rappers from Queens, South Carolina, and Atlanta, even providing them with some of his best beats. 

“Slippin” features Jelly and Chavo rapping, two of the many Sosshouse members, but in the video, you’ll see other members like Sharc shrugging his shoulders background of some b-roll. With the Sosshouse rappers, you’ll find Pi’erre playing around with distorted kicks to find a different kind of groove. The pulsating melody gives this track an unstoppable forward momentum — it’s impossible to not zone out and bob your head to Jelly and Chavo’s rapping. “The roof in your Rolls don’t got stars / You got the basic package Wraithy,” Chavo taunts. If you’ve been trying to scratch an itch for Pi’erre beats, look no further. They’ve been out there this whole time. It’s been a slow rise for the Sosshouse, but with each release, it feels like they’re getting closer and closer to a breakthrough. 


Big Mali – “4,5,6 “


Big Mali could bulldoze her through any beat. As soon as the snares, she’s already talking shit. She shifts into an entirely different gear when the bass kicks in a few seconds later and doesn’t let up the gas until the song ends. Over dark keys and a speaker-rumbling bass, she comes with rapid-fire, barbed punchlines that remind me of “Elm Street” by Jimmy Wopo. “10 or 11 in this clip, we say fuck 12 cuz they the pigs,” she raps. Mali makes switching it up mid-song seem easy, when she jumps from her normal voice to a whisper that’s somehow even scarier. When Big Mali raps, it’s hard not to throw in some of your own adlibs.

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