The Rap-Up: Week of April 3, 2023

Donald Morrison's Rap-Up returns featuring another silly track from TisaKorean, the official release of a year-old Bandmanrill song, another engaging sample drill EP from Cash Cobain and more.
By    April 3, 2023

Image via TisaKorean/Instagram

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Cash Cobain’s evocative and nostalgic brand of sample-heavy, New York drill makes his X-rated musings feel more tasteful than they actually are. He’s the only rapper right now who can make “she said she was hungry, I fed her my cock” sound kind of sweet, using a lush palette of instantly recognizable ’90s and early 2000s R&B samples to soften the blow. On his first release of 2023, the six-track SLIZZY DAY EP, the Bronx-born producer folds his signature style in with the sounds of New Jersey club to great effect. Along the way he reworks samples from Aaliyah, Miguel, SWV and no doubt a few more I didn’t pick up on. POW contributor Abe Beame sat and watched as Cobain turned a series of random samples into NY drill songs for GQ last year, if you’re interested in the process.

Cobain is the purveyor of the only genuinely inspired drill to come out of NY since Pop Smoke died in 2019. His beats still surprise me, like when a heavy-fingered keyboard riff appears 27 seconds into “SLIZZY MANSION,” or the way he reworks Tems’ vocals from the chorus of “Essence.” The latter’s “No More Bodies” has Cobain telling his girl “you don’t need no more bodies, I’ll put a seed in your body,” which technically isn’t that far off from the sentiment expressed by Tems in the original song. It’s this type of absurdist commitment to his sexual partner that helps Cobain’s lyrics feel less threatening. He’s exceptionally horny, yes, but he’s also seemingly in love. The tape ends with “GIRL W THE TATT,” complete with some of the nastiest lyrics of his career (“and I’ma spit in your mouth, love when you swallow and don’t spit it out”).

Read a POW interview with Cash Cobain from January here.

Luh Tyler – “You Was Laughing”

There’s a smooth simplicity to Luh Tyler’s music. The 17-year-old’s debut mixtape, My Vision, has a clear-eyed cohesion that reminds me of the new Young Nudy, Gumbo, which also celebrates this sort of high stakes lifestyle. In the case of Luh Tyler, you can hear remnants of Kodak Black in how his voice trails off after certain words; you can hear bits of Michigan’s Babyface Ray and Veeze in his low-key delivery. There’s even glimpses of the humor of a teenaged Lil Wayne.

My Vision smartly ends with the prescient “You Was Laughing,” which shows Luh Tyler being driven around Malibu by a woman much older than he is, although not old enough to be his mother. The chances of a rapper who looks as young as he does having anything important to say is slim but not impossible. Some of the greatest rappers alive got their start at 17 or younger. On the song, Luh Tyler says he wasn’t even trying to make it as a rapper, that he became the biggest artist out of Tallahassee by accident. It’s quite the statement from the young man who’s currently out rapping everyone in his state, proving once and for all that he’s the real deal by releasing a project that doesn’t attempt to be anything other than what it is: a young man accidentally making one of the best rap releases of the year so far.

TisaKorean – “uHhH HuH”

It seems as if the world is finally catching on to Tisakorean, the Texas-based dance rapper who is taking Soulja Boy’s mid-2000s aesthetic to grandiose new heights. Like Soulja, he produces his own beats with a minimalist, DIY sound and choreographs his own dances to go along with them. The tracklist for the new record, Let Me Update My Status, is even outfitted with “.Mp3” tags in case you were wondering how committed to this era he really is. The songs are short but memorable and often best accompanied by an expertly crafted dance video he releases to social media. “uHhH HuH” is a fantastically absurd song that really captures the spirit of Tisa and Let Me Update My Status. The beat sounds like it could have been made on Garageband in the best way possible. It’s disorienting at first, but soon all the instruments and sounds begin to form together against the backdrop of Tisa’s chaotic vocals and adlibs.. His positive, or “silly” energy is one of the best forces in hip-hop right now.

Bandmanrill – “PSA”

You’re supposed to drop whatever it is you’re doing whenever Bandmanrill drops a public service announcement. I don’t make the rules. On “PSA” the Newark, New Jersey rapper announces his wish to take Ice Spice out on a date, throwing his hat into the ring with half a dozen other rappers currently looking to woo the new Princess of Rap. The production is New Jersey club in bpm only, with the looped guitar riff sounding more like NY drill repurposed for the occasion. This song has existed for nearly a year now, originally posted as “On The Radar Freestyle,” but it’s nice to see it get an official release, as it stands out as one of the more urgent and necessary Bandmanrill tracks in a long line of them.

Awm Quaze – “Bricks Off”

Awm Quaze received a second chance at life after he narrowly survived an assassination attempt in 2018. The incident left the Columbus, Ohio rapper paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. However, he is still an imposing figure, with the calm menace of a lazy mob boss who could stand up if he really wanted to, doling out orders to underlings and taking part in extravagant underworld feasts. On “Bricks Off,” Quaze shows that his injuries haven’t slowed down his hustle. “Hit it with an ax and hammer, selling good smack not that bammer,” he says over a beat that sounds like it could have come from JetsonMade in 2019.

Emptying the Chamber

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