The Rap-Up: Week of June 17, 2024

It’s Steven Louis on Rap-Up this week, with new releases from YSL, Moneybagg Yo, LUCKI, 40ClipQ, Laila! and more.
By    June 17, 2024

Image via 40ClipQ/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.

Steven Louis raised the air conditioning.

Lil Gotit, Young Thug & Lil Keed – “Twisting Our Fingers”

As Young Thug’s defense lawyer deals with contempt of court charges and his murder trial descends into a unique strain of depravity, it’s a relief to hear some new sounds from the Young Thug multiverse. At this point, it’s a rottenness that we’ve gotten used to — or maybe other awful, loud things have been foregrounded — but one of the most exhilarating and influential artists of this generation is trapped in a Fulton County cell. He’s stuck there alongside musical collaborators, lifelong friends and family, while his lyrics and music videos are introduced as evidence of bloodthirst.

Lil Keed, one of the only foundational YSL members to avoid the carceral beast, passed in 2022 at just 24 years old. The physical world continues to degrade and destroy these men, but their music allows for liminal transcendence. Thugger hovers across the city in the peppermint patty and joyously reminds us all that he once demanded to be called SEX. Keed twinges as he looks for the re-up and shops at Staple Pigeon. His brother, Lil Gotit, pulls an all-nighter just for the sport, geeked up and tweakin’. Can you blame him? Freedom is a weapon, upped and loaded because Pierre wanted to come out here.

Moneybagg Yo – “RICH VIKING”

Why is Gary Anderson fashioning a huge Bread Gang pendant to his single-bar facemask? Did Percy Harvin really have to eat her kids’ fruit snacks after he smashed? The Memphis superstar rightfully remains something of a Southern folk hero and blue-collar, mud-drenched rap outfit, despite the insane amounts of money he’s talking on this latest album. He’s fantastic on this as the “Rich Viking,” the souped-up Chevy truck hopping off the interstate so Bagg can buy instant ramen and eat it in the gas station parking lot. Is it a waste of Baccarat cologne if you hit the blunt right after? Is the dollar sign a real Zodiac symbol? Questions like these are not for the wealthy nor the Nordic.

LUCKI – “On They Way”

LUCKI is one of the few artists his age that truly can claim he’s fathered a critical sound for contemporary rap. It’s everywhere now, but this specific blend of sedated genius and disaffected hedonism was pioneered by a 17-year-old in South Chicago, known then as Lucki Eck$. Years before it was a derivative, LUCKI made searing music by mumbling his raps — bars which tinted and blurred those lines between celebration and confession. His new full-length, GEMINI!, opens with a warmer, brisker and more soulful intro. “On They Way” is what it sounds like to feel alone in a house full of people, or to scale the mountain of incentive salience at your local strip club. LUCKI says that he’s in LA now, and moving his kid with him — as he raps here, “you did what I did, I’mma do what I do.” An ode to selfishness as self-preservation.

40ClipQ – “Come Outside”

40ClipQ is outside, somewhere in Alameda to be more exact. Ironically, not much of what’s on screen is stuff you have to go outside for; Q mostly counts money, eats snacks and bops to the beat with his homie, which he could also do in his basement. But “Come to My Basement” is for sure a worse song title, and “Come Outside” is 100 seconds of bouncy shit talk that effectively ups the mood. This is music for bringing a date you don’t even care about that much to a Michelin-star restaurant and she’s so out of her element that she can’t order. If you’re reading this and find familiarity in 40ClipQ’s description of “outside,” throw your phone into traffic and never go back in.

Laila! – “Not My Problem”

Someone must’ve heard that we needed an anthem for the empaths. “Bitches talking shit, that’s not my problem,” the Brooklyn-based chamber-popper airs out over her latest release. You know what rhymes with solitude? Guava juice, hell yeah. If LUCKI’s new drop is top-shelf disaffectedness, “Not My Problem” is heat-seeking unaffectedness. Laila’s flow is like standing under the one functioning cooling vent on the G train, everyone and everything else dissolving away into the etheral realm of None of Our Business.

JasonMartin & DJ Quik – “A QUIK MESSAGE”

A brief revisit to the Chupacabra interview that we dropped a few days ago. The singles are singling — sunshine G-funk raps with Game, Jay Worthy and Larry June cannot and will not fail around these parts — but “A Quik Message” is one of the essential new songs from Compton’s premier pick-and-roll duo. It’s jazzy and cinematic, the beat tabulating a stage and runway, as if a pivotal character is getting introduced to the movie. “XXL wanna erase me from history / what is DJ Quik, a mystery?” We don’t rap beef, as our readership is well aware, but we would be mortified at the mere idea of not including DJ Quik on our “all-time best” lists. “And like that…we’re gone.”

Emptying the Chamber

We rely on your support to keep POW alive. Please take a second to donate on Patreon!