The Rap-Up: Week of March 11, 2024

Donald Morrison delivers the latest edition of The Rap-Up – featuring the latest posse cut from Florida, Papo2oo4 channeling his inner 50 Cent, new Tony Shhnow and more.
By    March 10, 2024

Image via Wizz Havinn/Instagram

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Donald Morrison chooses Key Lime over Pumpkin, and it’s not even close.

Mistah F.A.B. – “Letter to the Jacka”

The Bay Area and larger Northern California rap scene has suffered immense tragedy throughout the years. The deaths of Mac Dre, Young Slo-Be and Bris have robbed NorCal of singular talents capable of pushing the local scene into the national conversation. Yet there’s something specifically tragic and confounding about the murder of The Jacka, an Oakland-born rapper who was killed in 2015 in what many call a “wrong place, wrong time,” scenario. A founding member of The Mob Figaz (with AP.9, Husalah, Fed-X and Rydah J. Klyde),, The Jacka was known for his breakneck consistency, lackadaisical flow and hood crooning. I like to think of him as a perfect mix between Curren$y and Max B.

Over the years, Jacka released dozens of mixtapes, both solo and with The Mob Figaz, along with ten solo albums. He has at least three classics: The Jack Artist, What Happened to the World? and of course 2009’s Tear Gas. It’s a quintessential Bay album that should be mandatory listening for anyone looking to understand the type of fun introspection the city by The Bay has become known for. An underrated West Coast classic. “Callin’ My Name” featuring Mistah F.A.B. sits in the back half of the album — in deep cut territory — and has always been to me a chill-inducing ode to addiction, and everything that comes with it.

Over a reworked production from “Callin’ My Name,” Mistah F.A.B. pays tribute to his fallen friends. In the intro to “Letter to the Jacka,” he says “I normally wouldn’t touch a classic, but I had you on my mind big bro.” The video shows a collage of old photos of the two rocking shows and also a gallery features painted portraits of The Jacka. There’s something about the tribute that feels so intensely personal and moving. I can relate to F.A.B.’s feeling of helplessness when you want to reach out and talk to a friend who’s no longer here.

Papo2oo4 – “Had 2 Ball”

Papo2oo4 is channeling his inner 50 Cent on “Had 2 Ball,” with a succinct and memorable hook that can be easily imagined on a Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ deep cut. He displays the same gruff starpower that attracted fans to Pop Smoke half a decade ago, a playful assertiveness and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sense of humor that sneaks in with lines like “fiends itching, no chicken pox.”

Production is handled by frequent collaborator Subjxct 5, who provides a hectic and booming beat that reminds me of something The Diplomats would have graced 20 years ago. Read an interview with Subjxct 5 from fellow Rap-Up writer Harley here.

Wizz Havinn – “4AM at Coffee Zone” (feat. Luh Tyler, BossMan Dlow, Loe Shimmy & C Stunna)

It’s not everyday we get a Florida posse cut of this caliber. These are five of the undisputed hottest rappers in The Sunshine State presumably unwinding in the booth after a long night at Coffee Zone, an after hours restaurant and club at the Panorama Tower in Miami. It’s hard to say who has the best verse, but I’m partial to Wizz Havinn, who opens the song with “I don’t know Curtis Jackson, walked in with a 50, new stick with me, it came with some titties.” BossMan Dlow also injects a much welcome energy in the center of the song. These artists forming like Voltron proves that Florida’s next big rap wave could be upon us.

OTM – “Certified”

Against all odds and with a commendable persistence: OTM is still here, and somehow getting better. Duffy and Blue Pesos have continued dropping mixtapes at a speed only rivaled in LA by former label boss Ralfy The Plus and extended Stinc Team. Since the two have gone out on their own, their pace hasn’t slowed and their ability to pick beats brings freshness to the now-oldish New LA sound. “Certified” sees Pesos dropping the Drakeo The Ruler-inspired whisper flow for a more enunciated verse that reminds me of the earlier OTM records. Duffy is as deadpan as usual, sneering that he could never see an opp as competition when their hoodie is from Marshalls.

Tony Shhnow – “RollAnotha1”

Tony Shhnow is riding off the release of his latest album, Out the Woods, one of the Atlanta rappers most polished releases to date. The album opens with a great speech from Atlanta legend Big Rube himself, who laments the importance of finding strength in struggle through an anecdote about a man entering the woods and coming out stronger. “RollAnotha1” is certainly about trees, which is what woods are made of, and it’s one of the more laidback songs on the album, an elegy to saying “no” pills and “yes” to weed and Casamigos. It’s perfect music for a gloomy evening in the city, when there’s nothing to do but drive around and smoke weed until hunger sets in.

Emptying the Chamber

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