The Rap-Up: Week of June 12, 2023

Donald Morrison's Rap-Up returns to highlight new music from Central Cee & Dave's stellar new EP, YN Jay, Hannibal Buress under his new alias and more.
By    June 12, 2023

Image via Vayda/Instagram

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If Donald Morrison has ever met you or seen you on the TV, he loves you and hopes you have the best day ever.

Central Cee x Dave – “Sprinter” / “UK Rap”

There isn’t a single miss on the four-track Split Decision EP, a collaborative endeavor connecting two of the UK’s biggest artists, who bounce off each other’s dense wordplay like two prizefighters with funny accents attempting to knock each other out. Dave is the grizzled veteran of the two, with some of his best work being past collaborations with artists like Giggs on “Peligrino” and J Hus on “Samantha.”

Central Cee is younger and fresh off the success of last year’s “Doja,” a viral hit showing off an impressive flow while cheekily answering to allegations of homophobia in his music. Both artists can rap their asses off and the lyrics are dense enough to be rewarded with repeat listens. Dave is the better rapper of the two, reminding me of Rick Ross at his best in the way he astutely conveys a life of opulence and justified greed. “You fat fucker, made five K, it’s just me and my black cutter, these chains two kilos, should be workin’ with black butter,” he says. Central Cee may lack the maturity of Dave, but isn’t completely without perspective, saying “that girl is a ho, but I won’t judge, ’cause I’m a slag as well, spend a couple bills on Aperol Spritz up in Bagatelle.”

The short EP ends with “UK Rap,” where the two claim that women aren’t listening to UK rap anymore, unless of course it’s Dave and Central Cee. “She only listens to Rap Caviar, she in her car playing hella Americans,” Central says. There needs to be more songs reprimanding people for exclusively listening to Rap Caviar, an industry-controlled Spotify playlist named after an unaffordable brand of luxury food that no one has eaten in a half century.

YN Jay – “Devastated”

YN Jay is an artist resigned to release nearly every song he records – with some feeling like they’re just three minutes of him workshopping the perfect ad lib. He’s frequently off the cuff and fun in the way drunken freestyles can be – which is to say crude, unpredictable and borderline stupid. Yet it’s this ability to turn his mind off and really experiment that’s gotten him his success.

In an old No Jumper interview with mentors and collaborators Rio Da Yung OG and RMC Mike, they attest to how YN Jay’s early music shows an artist more interested in his ability to rap more conventionally. But it’s the goofier, more light hearted version of YN Jay that’s captured the majority of his fans. “Devastated” shows YN Jay somewhere in the middle. “Free little bro, they got him booked like he educated, bitch think I’m signed to Young Money because I’m Dedicated,” he says. YN Jay’s onslaught of songs and mixtapes does indeed remind me of mixtape-era Lil Wayne, but can he turn his irreverence and work ethic into a project as cohesive as The Carter series? This is also one of the best ENRGY beats I’ve heard in a minute, centered around a pleasant spanish-guitar riff that’s immediately forgotten by the time ENRGY’s signature tombstone bell chimes in.

That Mexican O.T. x Drodi x Paul Wall – “Johnny Dang”

Johnny Dang’s custom diamond fronts are a favorite of rappers and professional athletes for being both gaudy and tasteful. Sauce Walka made headlines recently for spending half-a-million dollars on a Cuban link chain made by Texas–based Vietnamese American jeweler.

The legend himself, Johnny Dang — the proprietor of custom jewelry and diamond grillz — makes an appearance in the music video for a song named after him by That Mexican OT, who brings along dental jewelry maven Paul Wall and up-and-comer Drodi to christen the moment. That Mexican OT is appropriately iced up for the video, where he’s seen dancing with Mr. Dang while sporting a dizzying double-time flow commemorating his love for diamonds and custom jewelry. He kind of reminds me of Maxo Kream, a Texas contemporary who similarly displays an unusually technical and breathless style of southern rapping. Perhaps That Mexican OT will follow the Maxo Kream route and end up with a deal on Roc Nation.

Vayda – “right on”

Vayda is a one-woman army on the short, sexy and self-produced “right on,” which features a looped sample that sounds both haunted and bouncy at the same time. Her DIY sound and lo-fi aesthetics remind me of Hook or even in some way, Missy Elliot, both artists who make music that could come from nowhere else, melding multiple genres into something personal and unique.

Steeped in SoundCloud pastiche and internet-drenched allure, Vayda’ slightly off-kilter flow works well with the production and showcases her star energy. I wonder what she could do with a bigger budget.

Eshue Tune (Hannibal Buress) – “Lamp Me”

The comedian Hannibal Buress has been releasing music the last few months under the name Eshu Tune and I haven’t figured out how seriously to take it. First there was “Veneers Remix” which featured Danny Brown and Paul Wall. It’s decent but felt a little gimmicky to enjoy it beyond a simple novelty listen.

However, Eshu has returned with a legitimately good and funny song that mocks UK rappers. On “Lamp Me,” produced by DJ Pain 1 and Jay Cactus, Hannibal is almost unrecognizable in voice and appearance, as he very-competently raps in the cadence of UK rappers, using terms like bloke, peppering the slang with “Peppa Pig” ad-libs, and saying he’ll paint a mural of his enemy in Brixton, London. I don’t know exactly how long this will last, but I’m officially listening.

Emptying the Chamber

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