The Rap-Up: Week of January 2, 2023

Starting off the New Year the only way we know how -- with Harley Geffner's favorite new tracks from Larry June, Babyface Ray, Blxst, Rx Papi and more.
By    January 2, 2023

Image via Larry June/ MIGGS/ Instagram

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Harley Geffner knows there is only one true New Year’s Resolution — hitting up our previous year-end lists to catch up on all the great music one might have missed out on.

Larry June x Babyface Ray – “Extra of Um”

Blxst x Larry June – “Keep Callin”

Larry June gets a lot of shit online for claims that he only sticks to a formula, but I see him as continuing to refine his sound. His lifestyle raps have only gotten more luxurious. The content isn’t all that much different, sure, but the sound is evolving from basic chilling vibes while he does his laundry and girls roll blunts for him to real celebrations of excess. Two recent cuts here with BLXST and Babyface Ray are demonstrations of his power to make abundance feel so regular.

With Babyface Ray, he’s Bruyce Wayne in a lambo toting things he can’t speak on, but it still sounds like he’s rapping about sipping his orange juice. With BLXST, he’s flying out to secret locations with all sorts of luxury goods. This is the type of music that makes you want to quit your passion to go work in finance so you can listen to it while looking out at the water from your Malibu home.

Rx PapiIG Live Freestyle

This feels like cheating to include in a rap up, but it’s so full of personality and life, and representative of all that makes Rx Papi so fun to listen to. In this freestyle over Chris Brown’s “Run It,” which is ripped from a longer IG Live where Rx Papi got drunk and freestyled over a bunch of beats like Alicia Keys’ “No One” and Chief Keef’s “Don’t Like,” Papi starts by dancing with his guns before launching into a tirade about them.

The drum sounds like dum dum dum dum dum and the mac sounds like Missy Elliot (huh huh huh huh huh). He says he’ll beat up his opp’s baby momma, rob him in front of his own mother, then beat up his grandma for good measure too. And to add insult to injury, he makes sure we know that his opps work 9-5. The spirit of creativity courses through him in a way that feels so natural, and though he makes great songs obviously, that spirit is never more apparent than on his IG Lives.

Central Cee – “Let Go”

Something about Central Cee’s accent singing this interpolation makes it feel very sweet, fresh and new. He’s really going through it here – hurting and missing this girl. The dead-eyed emotions he lets rip feel like stages of a real break up. He talks about still smelling her on his sheets like Dashboard Confessional screaming about his girl’s hair still being everywhere, he regrets dropping the things around him to invest in the relationship and imagining them leaving London for a rural village, and he admits to feeling like less of a man as he deals with the depression stemming from the split.

Hoodbaby Peppa – “KFM” (feat. Young Smoke, Hoodbaby Rahrah & OkBrazy)

The juxtaposition of soft vocals and threatening raps has always been an interesting one. It’s not new, but every one of the Toronto guys on KFM uses this deadly whisper flow, like grim reapers singing a night night lullaby to their enemies. The hook has its own ghostly spirit, which is brought to life by Hoodbaby Peppa, singing about letting his demons out while swaggering around luxury apartments and Toronto corner stores. A high quality crew cut.

Rio Da Yung OG – “Still Shit Talking”

It’s difficult when a rapper records a bunch of music before they leave for prison because as it’s released over time, one wonders if the currents of the rap landscape will shift beneath them. Rio is almost halfway through his 44 month sentence, and every song that comes out from his vault feels like an affirmation that he’s still on top and the throne is waiting for him upon his return. “Still Shit Talking” is a masterclass in exactly what you’d expect: shit talking. There’s too many quotables to even parse, so take this lyrical hook and dive in:

“Dawg don’t even know if thems his kids he got 5 maybes / two 9s will hit him 7 times like July 18th / bro just 19 he caught more bullets than Rashard Davis”

iLoveMakonnen – “Your Mind (Remember When You Lost That)”

I’m not sure what’s left to be said about Makonnen that I haven’t already written about his music, but he just continues to be one of the most consistent forces in the game, making weird, bubbly, and singable music. His new album is predictably awesome, and this track has a super sticky hook.

Emptying the Chamber

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