The Rap-Up: Week of April 1, 2024

Steven Louis re-ups the Rap Up with new music from BlueBucksClan, All City Jimmy, KeepItPeezy, Lou Deezi, Maxo Kream and That Mexican OT.
By    April 1, 2024

Image via All City Jimmy/Instagram

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Steven Louis added the eephus to his pitch repertoire.

BlueBucksClan & Hit-Boy – “World Tour”

One of this correspondent’s favorite tropes in hip hop history is the overture of “I mack every single place I go.” ‘Pac and Outlawz were getting so much that they needed binoculars. Hov and Biz Markie reveled in “fried chicken, curry chicken, arroz con pollo.” Luda and Nate Dogg conjured a closed-circuit matrix of three-digit booty calls. Hit and BlueBucks just dropped the latest masterpiece steeped in that rich tradition, and here’s a series of questions, in no particular order, I have after bumping “World Tour.”

Does Marcus Mariota still get the good love when he’s in Oregon?

How good should it be to drive to Inland Empire? Is there a per diem on gas?

How good should it be to drive to Pomona? We’re not too proud to ask again: is there a per diem on gas?

Are we gifting puppies for one-nighters now? Not against this whatsoever, just need to know for sure

Is DJ’s Tacoma hookup really colder than goddamn Helen Grayco? Do we really know who that is or are we just on the “people from Tacoma” Wikipedia?

There are baddies on Venus? Is aeronautics on this???

All City Jimmy – “Never Rains”

It does indeed rain in Los Angeles. It rains quite a bit now, and that feels like some kind of premonition in shades of Octavia Butler. On his latest release, Project Blowdian All City Jimmy grooves through open-ended questions and non-sequential confessions, while rusty water pendulums atop stucco roofs. “Never Rains” finds Jimmy floating on dark clouds, with a house flow that’s straightforward but transportive. For two decades now, James McCall has been ensconced in the bleeding edges of LA’s art world – he won the freestyle rap championship Scribble Jam in 2007, turned Hellfyre Club into one of the great indie labels in 21st Century rap history, and toured all the way to Melbourne with Sudan Archives last year. If the clouding, ominous energy is to remain in our city, there are few more qualified to navigate it than Jimmy.

KeepItPeezy – “Rare is Rare”

Good friend, PoW compatriot and Bay Area cultural cartographer Yousef Srour has called Stockton an “empty void.” It’s a city that’s been abandoned yet fetishized, a vivid war zone that many have never heard of. The music is styled accordingly – hollowed-out samples and the relentless pounding of supercharged bass. You can find an endless carousel of “stockton type beats” on YouTube, and in adherence to an unassailable recipe, they’re all kinda hot. What differentiates the mass-produced from the organic stuff, of course, is how it’s rapped – hurt and hurting, soulful but freezing. Investing in Stockton’s ascendents too often ends in frustration, if not devastation, but KeepItPeezy has muscled his way onto my radar. “Been through worse shit, so it ain’t nothing to me,” he mutters. “I ain’t pop ‘cuz this real shit ain’t trendy.” It’s on all of us to prove him wrong there.

Maxo Kream & That Mexican OT – “Talkin In Screw”

My then-girlfriend winced when we looked up the address. It was my first visit to Houston, and when asked if I wanted to go anywhere in particular, the only place that came to mind was Cloverfield’s amethyst sanctuary for all things DJ Screw and Screwed Up Click. A man introduced himself as Screw’s cousin, and his warranted skepticism about my date night flipped to hilarious joy when I asked to buy a specific Screwtape (“the one with June 27th, please”). A stench of cough syrup and sweet cigarillo smoke stuck on me the rest of my trip, but the thrill of reaching a historic hyperlocality and it not being totally corny stayed with me long after.

Today’s most commercially-visible New York rappers haven’t done much, if anything at all, to honor Golden Era New York raps. Several of LA’s best new artists have admitted that they didn’t listen to much Death Row. Showing reverence for the legends is liable to get you labeled an “old head” or a “dickrider,” whatever these words mean these days. Yet in Houston, it’s both fashionable and creatively stimulating to salute the OGs. Maxo Kream and That Mexican OT pour up their double cups and marinate a slowed-and-throwed beat with candy paint coating. Robert Earl Davis Jr. glows in the purple mural. The city’s two biggest rising stars could shoot a video anywhere in America; they choose to bring the Parking Lot Pimpin’ to the consecrated grounds of 3538 W Fuqua.

Lou Deezi – “That’s That”

Anything sampling Ashanti’s “Rain on Me” needs to be graded on a heavy curve. Lou Deezi still walks out with an A+, and that’s that.

Emptying the Chamber

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