Image via DB.Boutabag/Instagram
Donald Morrison is not an intellectual, but he does have intellectualistic tendencies.
DB.Boutabag – “Chris Tucker”
Rappers have long immortalized the comedic cool of Chris Tucker. After all, he was Smokey in Friday, Skip in Dead Presidents, the beleaguered Beaumont Livingston in Jackie Brown, and of course as Detective James Carter in the Rush Hour films. For a time, he was Hollywood’s most valued sidekick. While he isn’t as straightforwardly handsome as Denzel Washington, and doesn’t have the leading man qualities of a young Will Smith, he does have something far more powerful that neither of those men have: he’s silly.
Silliness can take you far. It’s added an everyman quality to the most iconic characters Tucker portrayed and when you’re watching him at his best it feels like the director just turned the camera on and told him to be himself. He exudes a natural charisma rare for the typical sidekick. Bay Area rapper DB.Boutabag is surely no sidekick, although he does seem imbued with a similarly organic charm. It’s not exactly the Tucker-strain of affable dummy, but his insistence on bragging about wearing “skater boy Nike’s” in 2023 proves he does still have a silly side.
His latest song “Chris Tucker” doesn’t appear to be about the actor at all, save for two lines, “everybody knows Money Talks, Chris Tucker,” and he claims his haters must smoke “Crys’” if they thought he was “Tuckin” his chain. Instead of being about Tucker, perhaps the song merely embodies his effortless nature. It’s one of his more immediately catchy songs I’ve heard since last year’s “Mac Dre” or his breakout hit “Fettuccine.” DB’s steller chorus-writing, mixed with his succinctly punched-in flow and offbeat humor sets him aside from his Bay Area contemporaries and puts him more in line with early stars of the area like Andre Nickatina and the aforementioned Mac Dre.
Blp Kosher – “Jew on the Canoe”
Blp Kosher – “The Nac 2”
It was only a matter of time before South Florida produced a man like Blp Kosher, I just don’t think anyone expected him to sound good. The Jewish rapper from Broward County first went viral on TikTok in 2022 for being a Jewish kid with wicks who raps. He’s since gained a cult following, appearing on comedian Druski’s Instagram Live and even getting a Know Your Meme page written about him. While I’m sure it would have been easy to go the way of the Island Boys, a pair of tattooed twins from Florida who ultimately failed miserably at turning a viral campaign into a sustainable hip-hop career, Blp Kosher seems to have started making strangely listenable music.
I don’t have much of a taste for the ephemeral gimmick rapper. Artists like Slim Jesus or Lil Dicky have always appeared to be mocking the genre as opposed to earnestly contributing to it. It’s not worth spending too much time complaining about these guys because they don’t seem to stick around for very long anyways. But more and more they do seem to stick around, and more and more I end up kind of enjoying some of them.. Like Since 99 from Michigan, a scrawny white kid rapping like a jock-version of Rio Da Yung OG. Or think BabyTron, one third of the Shitty Boyz, who’s managed to, despite his childish appearance, earn respect among rap critics and fans alike by honing into and personalizing a flow previously perfected by better artists. (BabyTron is Rio-lite and there’s nothing wrong with that.)
“Jew on the canoe” sounds more Michigan than it does Florida. Perhaps the punched-in, Flint, Michigan style of rapping is easiest for would-be-grifters to ape, or perhaps its unserious nature just makes it more accessible to anybody who feels they have 16 bars worth of jokes to let off. “Hogwash, he ain’t gone’ step without his goons, swashbuckler, they done’ let the Jew on the canoe,” he says on the chorus, before rhyming “tearing up my suit” with “tiramisu.” It’s just outrageous enough to work, however there’s no telling if Blp Kosher will amount to much more than his already-achieved viral fame. It would take a serious interrogation of what exactly makes him unique aside from just “Jewish guy who raps.”
Masego – “What You Wanna Try”
Masego released one of my favorite records from 2023 this past week, a self-titled album that succinctly melds R&B, jazz, trap and house music into one extremely potent product. The album is led by “What You Wanna Try,” a syrupy ode to the endless promise of a successful one night stand, before you’ve woken up and realized the potential error in your ways. The chorus is built around a shoutout to Baskin Robbins and the ice cream stores iconic 32 flavors, which doesn’t bother me at all. Also, on the first verse, Masego becomes the latest singer to rework “Tom’s Diner,” the instantly recognizable 80’s hit about a woman buying coffee. I’m glad he didn’t keep up this cadence for the entire song, but its inclusion in the first verse is a welcome surprise.
FrostyDaSnowMann – “Valentines Day”
There’s something immediately retro about the recent wave of FrostyDaSnowmann songs. They sound like they’ve emerged from an unearthed harddrive of circa-2016 Frosty bops, only discovered half a decade and at least one near-death shooting later. Frosty reminds me of an LA version of Keak Da Sneak, albeit slightly more intelligible than the wheelchair-bound Bay Area vet. On “Valentine’s Day,” Frosty demands head in celebration of corporate America’s favorite holiday. Here’s to hoping he reciprocates.
JDN & Harto – “DREAMNT IT”
I love the way JDN and Harto(AKA harto falion), of the Surf Gang extended universe, interpolate the word “damn” in their verses on this Evilgiane Soundcloud drop. It’s easy listening for fans of the dejected personas of artists like FLEE or Lucki. The production is the real centerpiece here, though. I could use an entire catalog of beats like this christened by a revolving door of internet rappers. Luckily for me this already exists.
Emptying the Chamber