The Rap-Up: Week of April 10, 2023

Donald Morrison's Rap-Up returns featuring new music from Big Sad 1900, Spiffie Liciano & Drakeo the Ruler, Unknown T and more.
By    April 10, 2023

Image via Big Sad 1900/YouTube

The Rap-Up is the only weekly round-up providing you with the best rap songs you need to hear. Support real, independent music journalism by subscribing to Passion of the Weiss on Patreon.

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Big Sad 1900 – “Midnight in Seattle”

Big Sad 1900 is what you get when you mix the ultra-specific lifestyle raps of someone like Larry June with the G-Funk revivalist sounds of the late Nipsey Hussle. While Larry June is rapping about hitting up Sweetgreen in his Northface jacket, Big Sad is at the supermarket grabbing ice for his lean. But he’s not just going to the store: he’s on 23rd and Jackson Street at Catfish Corner in Seattle’s Central District. The specificity is the point.

Big Sad 1900 told me in an interview in 2021 that he had a girlfriend in Washington State and that he considers Seattle his second home. On “Midnight in Seattle,” the La Cienega Heights rapper shows love to the Emerald City and its various gangs by virtue of being familiar with the surrounding areas. “I’ve got love for Tacoma, they banging’ like the 80’s, black bitch from Spokane, she says she wants to pay me,” he says. Big Sad feels like the most competent mix of old and new styles of LA rap since G Perico. His staccato, patient flow gives way to lyrics that examine gang culture from the inside, bringing to mind the Golden Era of ‘90s gangster rap. But his beat choices always feel distinctly modern. This time the production is handled by RonRonThe Producer, who creates a beat that somehow captures the foggy and wet climate of Seattle and its exurbs. Apparently “Midnight in LA” and “Midnight in Miami” are coming soon as well.

Spiffie Luciano & Drakeo the Ruler – “I Don’t Like You”

This week saw the release of three new Drakeo The Ruler recordings, the best of which is “I Don’t Like You,” with Spiffie Luciano. I’m almost positive this song would be a regional hit if Drakeo was still alive. It’s classic Mr. Moseley in every sense: he’s paisa dancing, he’s reminding us that fights don’t matter, and most importantly, he really doesn’t like you and that’s ok. Although billed as a Spiffie song, it’s effectively Drakeo’s, with the late rapper getting two verses and the chorus. Spiffie is a skilled rapper in his own right, injecting the song with a wiley energy to offset Drakeo’s subdued villainy. But it’s Drakeo that steals the show, with lines like “how many shells dropped? I gave him Mike Jones number,” and the indicting “you’ve been broke your whole life, you’ve always been sad.”

There’s still a small treasure trove of unreleased Drakeo music slowly being trickled out. Last year we received the posthumous Keep The Truth Alive and the rapper’s brother, Ralfy The Plug, has promised a deluxe edition of the two’s collaborative album to be released sometime this year. There’s also a rumored collab album with BlueBucksClan and even a song with Quavo. There’s a shitty version of the latter on Youtube if you’re curious enough, but hopefully it gets an official release eventually.

Draeko was also featured on a new song with S3nsi Molly titled “Ughhhh,” and had his song “Pole Dancer” with JoogSZN reworked into “Way 2 Cool,” which was featured on Cash Kidd’s latest album BeBe Kidd 3.

Unknown T – “Right Hand” feat. Knucks

There’s a European elegance to how Unknown T crafts his verses. The London-born rapper’s tunes get stuck in my head for weeks, the product of dense writing and drill-seeped melodies that sound like no one else in England. “Right Hand” is an ode to Unknown’s girl, whose presence is so crucial that losing her would be like losing a body part.

“My life too road, so she don’t understand shit,” he says. “Rotate all my goodums, but my day one like ‘yo what’s the plan, Miss.” Unknown knows the life of being a traveling musician might cost him the girl he loves the most, but he’s not planning on giving her up that easily. The song is a nice change of pace for the artist known for hard-hitting songs like “Homerton B,” which became the first UK drill track to be certified Silver by the BPI.

5 Figures – “Nice 2 Meet Ya”

The Youtube page for 5 Figures says they’re a “group of 5 from Milwaukee who started a group to showcase their talents such as dancing, rapping, comedy, and etc.” The account was created in September 2022 and they’ve only released one song since. The video for that song, “Nice 2 Meet Ya,” came out in November and has slowly gained steam for its DIY quality and unique blend of regional hip-hip scenes. The beat sounds like a sped up version of “Blow The Whistle” by Too Short. The chorus sounds like Swae Lee from Rae Sremmurd. The first verse sounds almost like a younger Offset, but by this point everything is blending together to form its own secret, third thing. They’re kind of like a Milwaukee-based Brockhampton but more organic. The video is no less head-scratching, showing the group dancing with masks and wigs on, reminiscent of the Jabberwockys.

CEO Trayle – “Pardo n My Playa”

CEO Trayle has one of the best ears for production that matches his simmering intensity, a slow burning pot that threatens to, but never boils over. On “Pardon My Playa,” CEO lightly apologizes for his pimping ways over a beat that reminds me of “Xxplosive.” CEO has an unpredictable and inventive flow that’s consistently hard to predict. His latest release, The Collection Vol. 2, is another strong offering in a steady stream of mixtape releases that puts CEO’s name in the conversation for Atlanta’s current best rap export.

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