The Rap-Up: Week of February 19, 2024

In the latest edition of The Rap-Up, Harley Geffner rounds up the hottest new street rap from ATL via Lil Meat & Baby Kia, the latest from RXKNephew, the captivating melodies of Dina Ayada and more.
By    February 19, 2024

Image via Dina Ayada/Instagram

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.

This Rap-Up is brought to you by Harley Geffner.

Lil Meat – “Belt to Ahh”

Out of Zone 3, Atlanta’s Lil Meat digs deep into the Blair Witch visual vibe for this scorching track. He pulls out the 2SDxrt3all style filtered echoes, making it feel like there’s a maniac trying to scratch and claw his way out from inside his mind. His accent drags each syllable, but his flow tugs on them, alternately stretching and compressing until each word feels like you’re looking at it through three layers of caricature. It adds to the surrealness of it when you see he looks like a little teen, but raps with a chaotic vision of wiping his opps and those “guilt by assoc’n” off the map. With a name like Lil Meat, how can he fail?

Baby Kia – “Sticks”

This song scared the shit out of my girlfriend. When Baby Kia said he was going to skin somebody and wear them as a fit, she started questioning my sanity for listening in the first place. Totally fair. But besides the demonic super-villain stuff (which is actually hard), here is another ATL teenager who screams his ad-libs like paint splatters over his initial recording. It’s a whole new style of ATL drill that’s developing, and these kids are finding weirder and weirder pockets to tuck those splatters in.

Baby Kia races the beat here, trying to outpace it with each line sounding like those pops you hear from an accelerating motor. One Redditor called him epileptic Mystikal and another called him grown Cartman and I can’t unhear either of those descriptions.

RXKNephew – “Gunroe County”

After honing his craft rapping over every ridiculous beat sent to a public gmail, it’s no surprise RXKNephew rips seamlessly through a 1994 Underwater Donkey Kong theme song. It’s also a sound that has recently gotten popular in cat meme IG Reels, if it sounds familiar for that reason. Neph doesn’t bend himself around any beat, but forces it to conform to his style, absorbing the droopy synths into his cynical worldview. They go from a mystical underwater world to weeping over the pain of Neph’s generational trauma.

Neph opens with a coda about his dad pulling a gun on his mother, and subsequently not claiming him as a father. Then he gets deeper into the world that raised him – a failing household that couldn’t afford happy meals, a home health aide with booty shorts, family court, a grandma that stabbed “like three of her husbands,” and Neph having to sleep on her floor for over five years.

Perhaps Neph’s best trait is his versatility, but his ability to needle deep to the beating heart of the American condition is what makes him an icon. This is the music of the neglected – from the government not properly monitoring for lead in the projects to his own family neglecting the kids’ needs. It shows on his face, it reflects in his words, and it’s melted into the core of his music just as his beats melt around his psyche.

Dina Ayada – “Love Me”

Dina Ayada is a 20 year old from Morocco who grew up in Belgium and now resides in LA. She sounds like a mix of a young Travis Scott with hints of Tunnel Vision Kodak and Justin Bieber. If you can’t imagine that combo coming to life, neither could I until I started bopping to “Love Me.” She has the voice, melodic instincts, and swag of a star in the making. In some of her other joints, I’ve heard her slip easily into Arabic, French, and Spanish, dipping for a second or two before bringing it back. Her arsenal is deep but she keeps the formula tight and simple.

“Love Me,” is just an easy song to listen to, and if she keeps cranking out nice melodic cuts like this, I’m sure we’ll all be sick of hearing her so much on the radio soon.

Tapri Grams – “B4AM”

Would it really be a POW rap up without at least one LA street cut? Tapri Grams’ new tape, B4AM bleeds blood red and drips with the kind of slurry autotune and piano snapping beats that should make it an instant LA street niche-classic. It’s Bino Rideaux sexy sludge, with a growling sandpaper-smooth voice that somehow sounds like a lullaby even though half the tape is Tapri recounting his most mischievous sexual and violent encounters.

With features from LA heavy hitters Rucci, Greedo, 1takejay, Lil Vada, ASM Da Bopster, and more, B4AM is an aggressively luxurious ode to the lifestyle and a project that captures the general mood of the city’s rap scene better than almost anything else out right now.

Emptying the Chamber

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