Image via Giggs/Instagram
Donald Morrison doesn’t skip the Entourage theme song in his house.
Drakeo The Ruler – “I’m The Reason”
Drakeo The Ruler and RonRonTheProducer are the reason a lot of Los Angeles-based rappers sound and look the way they do: the lingo, the celebration of nervousness, the Awful Lot of Cough Syrup socks, and Gallery Dept. tees. To be a true trendsetter is to be ahead of your time, and most rappers in LA are still riding the wave Drakeo and the extended Stinc Team caught in 2016. It’s the reason why his brother, Ralfy The Plug, can release new Drakeo music more than a year and half after his death and it still sounds brand new – as if Drakeo himself were still alive, pouring fours into cream soda and going live on Instagram during marathon studio sessions that are now the stuff of legend.
“I’m The Reason” is the first official Drakeo single to be released since last year’s Keep The Truth Alive, which stood as a rare example of an effective posthumous release cobbled together with care by Ralfy and a few of Drakeo’s most prized producers. Notably missing from that tape was production from RonRon, who crafted some of Drakeo and Shoreline Mafia’s most uneasy music. It’s RonRon’s eerie take on DJ Mustard’s ratchet beats that first helped Drakeo find his signature nervous music sound, with the two forming together to create the most inventive music out of Los Angeles since Kendrick Lamar.
RonRon laces “I’m The Reason” with his signature head-bobbing menace, leaving Drakeo to find new ways to humiliate his opps. “We just made him do the robo dance, that’s for pulling up in Cholo’ pants,” he says with almost no emotion. Elsewhere, Drakeo chides his contemporaries for even bringing a Mercedes Benz C-Class in his presence. The song wouldn’t be complete without Drakeo spending a minute mumbling to his enemies and shaking his diamond chains into the microphone. Ralfy said on Twitter that he plans on releasing a new Drakeo tape every year until he’s out of music. This could be the first single from this year’s release and I’m glad RonRon is a part of it.
Chito Rana$ – “Really Wit It”
Chito Rana$ is quietly becoming the biggest Latin rapper in California. The Sacramento-raised artist has gained a loyal following despite a series of incarcerations that have momentarily set back his career. Perhaps fans are drawn to Chito because he’s the real deal: a once in a generation talent caught between music, prison and the streets, who’s freedom hangs in the balance between being a gangster and being a gangsta rapper.
Chito was one of 51 defendants picked up in “Operation Frog Legs,” a three-year investigation that ended in 2016 run by the Drug Enforcement Agency, and local authorities, attempting to bring down the Canta Ranas gang in Santa Fe – a street gang allegedly controlled by the Mexican Mafia. According to a DEA press release, authorities seized 51 firearms and nearly one pound of methamphetamine during the execution of search warrants.
Chito was released from FCI Lompoc in May of this year. He immediately recorded a dizzying amount of new music, releasing a new album, Dead or Alive, on August 1. It’s an impressive project considering Chito was in federal prison just months ago. The tape opens with “Really Wit It,” produced by Cypress Moreno, showing an invigorated Chito declaring that he’s not like these other internet rappers, that he’s really living what he raps about. “Everywhere I go I gotta keep a .45,” he says.
Chito was re-arrested last month in Los Angeles for carrying a pistol. It’s a frustrating setback for a young rapper with this much promise. It’s also a stark example of the Catch-22 many artists find themselves in: either carry a gun to protect yourself and risk arrest, or don’t carry a gun and risk being killed by one of any number of enemies.
MoneySign Suede – “Outside” (feat. 03 Greedo)
The Los Angeles rap scene has endured an unthinkable amount of tragedy in the past few years. It’s a scene being attacked from both the inside and the outside, a never-ending carousel of early deaths and lengthy incarcerations. Just months after 03 Greedo left a federal prison in Texas, Moneysign Suede was stabbed to death while taking a shower in a Northern California correctional center. He was 22 years old.
“Outside” is the first collaboration between 03 Greedo and Suede. If the latter was still alive I’m sure it wouldn’t be the last. The two artists complement each other well, with Suede’s raspy voice matching up to Greedo’s woozy vocals. One of my favorite aspects of the song is Greedo entering his verse with pitched-up vocals, perhaps signaling that he’s further experimenting with his already chameleonic sound. Suede always had an incredible ear for picking beats that bring out the best in him, and “Outside” is no different. This is usually where I would say it’s bittersweet that Suede isn’t here to enjoy the success of this song being released, but, to be honest, I’m long past feeling bittersweet. I’m downright angry that the most promising artists on the West Coast are being killed in such brutal fashion.
Giggs – “Mandem” (feat. Diddy)
Diddy saying “Black, Kings, Gods,” at the end of’ “Mandem” by Giggs feels more powerful than both Black Panther films combined. It’s a shame it’s taken this long for Diddy to grace a Giggs track, where he even shows up in the music video to dance like it’s the mid-90s again. Something about this song just makes me feel good, maybe it’s Giggs’ start-stop flow, or the haunting production that could easily fit itself into the score of an A24 horror movie. “Mandem” succeeds at being a big budget single for Giggs new album (Zero Tolerance, out August 18) without pandering to the masses.
Sauce Walka – “ONLY FANS”
I wasn’t aware Sauce Walka had an OnlyFans and I certainly wasn’t aware he was making millions of dollars from it. Sauce posted screenshots last week indicating that he’s made over $3 million from f*cking on OnlyFans. I haven’t done the research to find out exactly what’s going on with his page (it’s $30 a month, or $288 for the full year), but the song he’s made to celebrate his success is unequivocally hard. The aptly-titled “OnlyFans” features Sauce with his usual intensity, beginning the track with “bent her ass over in a rented Slingshot, FN on me and that bitch got green dots.” It’s always impressive how Sauce can morph his flow with different kinds of production. “OnlyFans” succeeds as a song suitable for both the strip club and the Polaris Slingshot.
Emptying the Chamber