My Case for The Most Improved Artist of 2012
I wrote one of the most unkind reviews I’ve ever done about GLC’s I Know Who You Pimped Last Summer 2011 mixtape. Music is not mathematics where the components combined will always equal the same thing, so I have no problem stating GLC is the most improved artist of 2012.
Over the span of 2012 he put out three memorable projects, Cathedral (a full mixtape with production team Blended Babies), The Anti-Simp, and The Silence of the Lames. Part of his impressive come up has to do with the world spotlighting Chicago’s drill scene. The bouncy melodic Young Chop production style of the drill scene fits his swaying deep voice punch line meter like a glove. Whether it was Dae Dae, Omen, or SK the bounce created a fun tempo he took advantage of. The knock on the drill scene is that it’s full of beats that extend far beyond the rappers doing little more than an impressive snarl or a mumbled hook over them. GLC took his pimp brags to the next level on songs like EmptyTown on Cathedral where he promises “When I’m gone my shorties will inherit hoes.”He’s got a lot of great jokes,“Declare that I’m a mack…declare I’m a player. Star Wars ISM…where your princess? I’m a lay her.”
Some stars of the drill scene haven’t proven to be much in terms of creative voice, track lists are full of songs about bands and all gargling auto tune chorus. The absence of this is part of what makes The Anti-Simp my favorite drill tape of the year. Sure, after listening to GLC in 2011 I didn’t know what the heck ISM meant and he never explained it. Heck I’ve read recent interviews where he tries to define it and IT STILL MAKES NO SENSE TO ME. The Anti-Simp is the creative height of the GLC persona, On the song Whisper in The Summer’s Ear he is literally seducing the summer. I think he calls himself the street Fred Savage as well. To give you a better idea of how this goes here is part of a verse “Yeah summer you my downest ho, the wintertime over, glad I found this ho. It was cold as h#ll just a while ago. Shorty heating up melting down the snow.” The humor in GLC creates a lot of good will; he never comes off as cold or heartless. At the same time he’s very conscious of the death in Chicago streets and the discussion of it. His song about Jordan’s acknowledges the street fight that ensures when J’s hit the stores “In the Chi man we stood in line for em gangsters did time did crimes just to shine from em(Black 3’s).”He’s never preachy even when he’s touting love, honor, and respect or mowing down snakes hiding in the grass. GLC is certainly paranoid throughout “I think this N#$% here is the police, on a cell phone why the F#$% he quotin’ me? Insulting my intelligence with pettty sh#t(Marshall Faulk).” Bogus Set Up with its big horns and Marshall Faulk with its tense one two tempo give the perfect sound bed to call out lames with partial hearts and look over your shoulder for the law.
Cathedral puts GLC in a different world. Blended Babies don’t feed him smooth pimpish Cardo style beats or Dae Dae/Young Chop drill. These beats move at an 80’s dance songs fist pumping pace like on Pimp You, or they crawl on a sleek horn sample like EmptyTown. The songs are fantastic and none of the beats, as rock infused as they get, challenge GLC. In 2012 he rapped over every beat with every guest you could imagine and never tripped up. Cathedral is sharp thoughtful lush and not nearly as fun as the Anti-Simp(but a great companion to it).
Silence of the Lames is a bit of a compilation, with songs from Cathedral and guest stars packing every track. Its supreme moment is the last track, Everything, a song with Nan and Really Doe produced by B Eazy. It’s as soulful as anything this year with tense verses full of desperation, its narrators finding comfort in the Chicago skyline. It’s the last song on the last mixtape of GLC’s 2012 and his verse asks god for forgiveness as he blazes blunts down Lakeshore drive and wakes up in a prison cell. He’s a joker, a pimp, a street captain and someone you could count on in 2012 like the clockwork gear in a rolex. It’s something to be thankful for.
The link for streaming or downloading the mixtapes mentioned is below: