Image via RealYungPhil/Instagram
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Donald Morrison spent his Friday night on the transport bus to Rikers singing the Degrassi theme song.
Cash Kidd – “Kidd Next Door”
Cash Kidd has the precocious nature of a young child who wins a spelling bee with the word “cunnilingus.” The Detroit-based artist has always leaned into a kind of youthful mischief, perhaps best exemplified by the Simpsons-themed cover art for his 2019 album, Marc My Words. The best song off that record is “Who Shot You?,” where Cash Kidd demonstrates his ability to stand apart from other Michigan shit-talkers with lyrics that are funny without being crude or shocking just for the sake of it. While Cash Kidd hasn’t had the same viral success as some of his Motor City contemporaries like Babytron or Sada Baby, his consistent releases and singular style are finally beginning to pay off.
He began 2023 by landing a feature on OhGeesy’s latest single, “GEEKALEEK,” in which Cash Kidd helps the former Shoreline Mafia lieutenant turn Petey Pablo’s “Freak-A-Leek” into an updated strip club anthem for the apocalypse. “Kidd Next Door,” the first single off his upcoming Bebe Kidd 3, serves as a melancholic ode to motherly blind spots. “My next door neighbor is a killer, my momma wonders why I’m always hanging with that n—a, because we’re just alike,” he says.
Cash Kidd is hornier than he should be on a song that evokes his mother’s name in the chorus, but he does get his point across. The beat, a mix of undertaker bells, simple keyboard riffs and a woman harmonizing, feels more stately compared to past mixtapes and likely signifies a bigger budget and crisper sound for Bebe Kidd 3.
OTM – “Beat The Blocc”
It’s no secret that Blue Pesos and Duffy are inspired by Drakeo the Ruler. He’s their biggest, and perhaps only, musical influence and they’ve taken it upon themselves to keep the truth alive and never forget to pay homage. “Beat the Blocc” shows the two rappers finding their own voice distilled from Drakeo and Ralfy The Plug’s lineage, spilling over the production in a familiar but spellbinding way. Much like Drakeo, Blue Pesos sounds as if each of his mumbled lines is delivered through an exhausted eyeroll, as if he were better than everyone and bored of it all. Duffy possesses a similar subdued nature this time around, sounding less animated than usual – but no less lethal.
RealYungPhil x BoofPaxkMooky – “You Can Have It”
RealYungPhil and BoofPaxkMooky trade verses over a beat that sounds like home screen music of a video game played underwater. Originally from Connecticut, RealYungPhil takes an untraditional approach to rapping over plugg beats that feels altogether new. He sounds like MIKE and FLEE wrapped into one. BoofPaxkMooky, drenched in auto-tune, steps up to the lo-fi plate in a more classic sense, nearly making his voice the instrument as he croons “thought it was regular, but this shit is not average.” The song was released on the Midnight Arcade Music Youtube page, a decent space to watch for consistent drops from the Surf Gang extended universe.
Larry June x The Alchemist – “60 Days”
The Alchemist has been on a tear the past few years, producing well received projects with everyone from Boldy James and Action Bronson, to Conway the Machine and Freddie Gibbs. But it’s not everyday he picks up the mic himself. On “60 Days,” Uncle Al more than holds his own with Larry June, in a verse that’s part Bronson and part Boldy: “I’m a big bowl of macaroni, know how to spot and catch a phony” and “my leather coupe is dragging’ in the dirt, I got buff from from baggaging the work.” Yet, Al is still more than just a distillation of artists he’s produced for, managing to match the unfettered lifestyle raps of Larry June, who’s easily graduated to Alchemist-tape levels of cult appreciation. This is their second collaboration, following “Breakfast in Monaco,” unless you include Larry June being featured on “Rainy Night” by Jay Worthy in 2020.
Babyface Ray x 42 Dugg – “Ron Artest”
“Ron Artest” has been on Soundcloud for more than a year by now. It was already sped up, slowed down, and had its vocals removed, before the official release hit streaming on February 8. This is why it sounds like vintage Babyface Ray: hungry, sentimental, paranoid. “I got mud in my iced tea,” he says. The languid rapping style of Ray took awhile for the masses to catch onto. But early fans of the Detroit rapper know there’s a small cache of unreleased and leaked music that he could upload to Spotify at any time and it would sound fresh and new. The song begins with a famous Ron Artest quote from a press release after the 2010 NBA Championship, where Ron Artest thanks Kobe Bryant for finally passing him the ball. It’s a good metaphor for Ray, who’s only just now beginning to get flowers he deserves.
42 Dugg, who’s currently in jail after filing a court document in which he claimed to be sovereign citizen immune from federal laws, continues to hold the crown for today’s best feature rapper. He’s already made a full tape with EST Gee, which ultimately failed to live up to its lofty expectations, and has name-making appearances on multiple Lil Baby songs. But his chemistry with Babyface Ray is perhaps the most palpable. He compliments Ray’s lackadaisical flow with a clear eyed assertiveness, bringing a much needed energy to the song.