The Rap-Up: Week of July 1, 2024

Donald Morrison delivers the latest edition of The Rap-Up to highlight new heat from X4, 03 Greedo, Rio Da Yung OG and more.
By    July 1, 2024

Image via IamB4/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.

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

X4 – “Trophy Flow”

There were a few notable absences from The Pop Out: Ken & Friends show. You know, the one that supposedly unified all the gangs in Los Angeles while simultaneously ending Drake’s career? Chief among those absences were 03 Greedo, who had his reasons, Ralfy The Plug, Big Sad 1900, the Baby Stone Gorillas and of course, X4. My mentioning their exclusion isn’t a dig at Kendrick Lamar, it’s more so a reflection of just how vast the Los Angeles rap ecosystem is, and how much talent goes unaccounted for in a media and blog landscape incredibly biased towards the East Coast.

When I think of contemporary LA street rap, I think of the unadulterated flexing of X4, a Rollin 40’s crip who’s sound sort of picks up where Problem left off more than a decade ago. He raps over hyphy and Nervous Music-nfluenced production that’s almost all bass and piano. His no-nonsense flow and deep voice are among my favorite in rap right now.

On “Trophy Flow,” X4 exercises his unique start-stop cadences that first gained him fans last year, while also doubling down in intensity as the beat builds towards the end. A few months ago, it seemed that X4 may have squandered his buzz by getting arrested. Since getting out, he’s done everything to cement his name in the LA scene aside from a Kendrick Lamar co-sign. But I don’t think he needs it.

Benji Blue Bills – “1942”

It always sounds like Benji Blue Bills is just rapping over Playboi Carti leftovers. It’s not that the beats are bad per se, just very similar, and Benji isn’t quite as versatile an artist as Carti is. Nevertheless, I genuinely enjoy “1942,” which sees Benji turning down his energy just a tad for something akin to a ladies song, although it’s not really that either. It’ll be interesting to see if Benji can evolve his sound to hold the listener’s attention for an entire album. I enjoy most of his singles but don’t find myself returning to them after a month or so. Maybe “1942” will be different.

03 Greedo – “Bless Your Soul”

“Bless Your Soul” retains the casual and effortless beauty of 03 Greedo’s early R&B hybridities. The Wolf of Grape Street has so many unreleased songs and such a timeless sound that I truly can’t tell if this was recorded six years ago or last month. This might be his best post-prison release yet: offering four different flows in just over three minutes to create something that channels the L.A. renaissance of 2018.

IamB4 – “She Go” (Summer Version)

IamB4 channels Sage The Gemini for his latest seasonal banger, “She Go,” which is sure to be played at house parties across LA this summer. The young rapper also borrows from the self-proclaimed Coochie Scout, YN Jay, saying “coochie something like a gun, it busts back, coochie fire, hit it once then run it back.” The song is almost entirely dedicated to twerking, and I won’t be surprised if it finds its way to Tik-Tok by the end of the week. This also may be the first hanging microphone video I’ve seen on the beach.

Rio Da Yung OG – “Da Ghetto”

This has to be the third time Rio Da Yung OG has rapped on this BeatsbySav beat, and yet it somehow keeps getting better. It’s also the first full length video we’ve gotten from French animator Gallery Provence since he released visuals for “Worst” by Veeze in January. Gallery is one of the most exciting animators and directors working in rap today. He cut his teeth making album artwork for underground street rappers in Detroit, LA, and Atlanta. I can imagine the demand for his highly-stylized and quickly-paced animated videos is sky high right now. In “Da Ghetto,” everything happens so fast you have to watch it at least twice to get it. “If you ain’t ever caught a body, I hate you,” Rio says with his usual deadpan wit. My favorite scene is when Rio is laying on a stack of money like Heull in Breaking Bad.

Emptying the Chamber

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