Song Review-Special by Gucci Mane featuring Anuel AA produced by Murda Beatz and Cubeatz
The reasons you should think of Gucci Mane as a genius lyricist are pretty straight forward: 1. Individuality-built his style on his own not a product of anyone or any other movement (in this way I think of him as the E-40 of Atlanta). 2. Bold experimentation-he’s always folding different talents into his universe and letting them inform it (Lil Uzi Vert, Rocko, Young Scooter, etc). 3-Depth-whether it is how he strings the rhyming together, the uniqueness of the words used or the observations… if you really listen Gucci is KILLING his bars.
Gucci Mane dropped a new album called Delusions of Grandeur which at 18 tracks long gives you all the different forms of Gucci on a polished ready-for-primetime level. Production wise he incorporates Kenny Beats, Tay Keith and J.White Did It into the fold with Southside, Zaytoven, and a bunch of recognizable names. Tay Keith did Sicko Mode, J. White Bodak Yellow, and Kenny Beats took Key! And Rico Nasty to the next level on separate projects. Gucci has always been an amazing talent scout and that continues here. Even Justin Bieber is perfectly placed singing the hook on Love Thru The Computer.
In regard to depth, a line on the song Special really blew my mind. He says “Like Cinderella they think I was born with chedda.” I flinched, and was struck by it…wait Cinderella was scrubbing the floor…we know that as the audience…what is he talking about it? As I thought about it the fog lifted. We know Cinderella’s story as the reader but picture the happily ever after of her life. Any person she meets post-“It’s your slipper!”is not going to know what we know. So she will smile keep her chin up, act stately, and live up to what they think she is. The truth is not even something she has the time to explain, nor does she have the faith they would understand. This mirrors his journey. When Delusions of Grandeur broke people were tweeting things like “GUCCI IS THE GOAT!!” “GUCCI NEVER MADE A BAD ALBUM!” I will tell you that when those mixtapes broke people were calling him disgraceful and dumb BEFORE he got an ice cream come tattooed on his face. I was dismissive of him partly because the wrong white hip hop fans wanted him for their new Flavor Flav. Serious people taught me to get serious about him but I was already suspicious based on killer guest features.
That’s what Delusions of Grandeur is about. Being the best at what you do, the last one standing from a generation with no one left that really remembers how hard it was to get there. No one to stop and say “How cool is it that in 2019 Gucci threw Anuel AA on this track to do a Spanish verse.” It’s a song about being special, not just how cool it is but how bizarre it feels.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged 1017 Brick Squad, Anuel AA, Atlanta hip hop, best albums of 2019, Cubeatz, Delusions of Grandeur, Gucci Mane, J.White Did It, Kenny Beats, Murda Beatz, song reviews, Southern Hip Hop, Tay Keith, Zaytoven
Song of The Year-Threat 2 Society by 2 Chainz produced by 9th Wonder
Shout out to 9th Wonder who knows the transcendent power of the right sample. Go ahead and find The Truthettes- So Good To Be Alive and bask in how pimpish that gospel song already is. Pumping it up, speeding it up and passing it to 2 Chainz was a brilliant idea.
R.I.P. to all the 2012 white people ironically bumping 2 Chainz on some Trinidad James ish. That is all dead. 2 Chainz has legitimately put his energy determination and creativity into carrying the torch Weezy lit. Pretty Girls Love Trap Music was one of my favorite projects and to follow it with an album as great as Rap or Go To The League is fantastic. You probably heard about this album because it is executive produced by Lebron James and it does talk basketball but that’s just the beginning. This is a very personal album where he talks dead friend’s tax rates dope boy past framed next to sunny futures.
As to-the-bones groovy as this beat is nothing beats the moment when 2 Chainz vengefully spits “I’m so famous can’t even COUGH in peace.” He pulls in lessons from his coaches on jump shots and so much more. With fatherly pride he muses on the possibilities of having another child. While discussing the fact that he doesn’t get the credit he deserves he is absolutely right. The weird thing, I think only three people do. The spotlight has a terrible attention span so if you’re not Drake Kendrick or Cardi you are probably under appreciated. It might take another five or ten years for people to really start thinking about the legacy 2 Chainz has left on the game. Not just being different but being relentless. It’s that kind of willpower that pays dividends in the form of top notch music like Threat 2 Society.
So you don’t have to look it up here is The Truthettes
Song of The Year-Westbrook by J.I.D. featuring A$AP FERG produced by Christo
It’s exciting when a new voice comes into full bloom for the public. In March of 2017 when J.I.D. put out his album The Never Story the underground publications sang about it and didn’t stop until the end of the year. It was that dope indy film that didn’t have the budget to be as deeply entrenched in the culture as it was. What I love most about J.I.D. is that he got that bubble up and decided his next project needed to ratchet up the effort/efficiency/entertainment value. He’s a clutch player. Dicaprio 2 is so good that at times it feels like being trapped. Despacito Too and Mounted Up have smash mouth minimal production feels so as to leave you face to face with the man mountain of syllables (feel free to spread this description of his ability). When he has help he’s superb. Whether it is Bj The Chicago Kid, 6lack or Method Man he finds enough space to sacrifice for his guest and they shine.
A single line from a single verse really messed me up. That is on my favorite song from Dicaprio 2, Westbrook. The beat chimes like Christmas then stomps your speakers as Ferg brings perfect sneering energy on the hook but at a little over halfway through the song J.I.D. says
Live life like a baby that was dead at birth
But came alive and f—ed the nurses
Throughout the verse he is chuckling to himself just plunging into the depths of his sick mind and dumping it out. I can’t lie I was very excited by how deeply inappropriate this is. This is a hip hop thing connected to the feeling NY had when Nas claimed he went to hell for snuffing Jesus. We weren’t excited to see smug old Jesus finally get his it was the discovery of a new voice, a new mind we can connect to who might be weirder than anyone we know. Similarly, no unringing this bell; this kid got Joey Bad@$$ and Meth together and wrecked it next to both of them. You can read other reviews to hear where he’s from what his social media footprint is like. I’m old and not going to waste space. I just want to pull up a chair and watch the young man spin this cadence till the whole world rings with it. Dicaprio 2 feels like being trapped in a place your body won’t let you leave.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged 6lack, A$AP Ferg, Atlanta hip hop, Bj The Chicago Kid, Christo, Dicaprio 2, Dreamville, J Cole, J.I.D., Method Man, Nas, song of the year, The Never Story
Top 5 Takeaways from 2 Future Albums in 2 Weeks
Future just released back to back #1 albums (Future and HNDRXX). I wanted to provide five things to think about as you digest this mass of content. Are these in order of importance?
Don’t be a nerd. No one cares.
- Who is Dre Moon?
Dre Moon is 3 for 3 on HNDRXX (Solo, Incredible, and Hallucinating) with some of my absolute favorite songs. I clicked on his Wikipedia page and it says he wrote Drunk In Love and produced a bunch of beloved Drake songs (off Nothing Was The Same). He also produced I Be U, I’ll Be Yours, and Side Effects off Future’s Honest album(which I think is underrated). I am very glad Future has a relationship with Dre Moon and apparently more people should. He provides a rich sound, a large musical world that never seems crowded.
2. Nothing Future Does is haphazard
Future puts out a lot of music. Even Young Thug told him he should slow down. At times, Future has released bad albums and tastemakers have pronounced his run over only to be embarrassed by the success that followed. Future is like Gucci Mane in that he will release a ton of content and 70% of it is great but that thirty percent is still a lot of bad music and in this fickle age it always seems like he is close to falling off.
3.You can be like Future but you cannot be Future
Future just released 34 songs in two weeks and both albums went number one. Be careful about going big picture and turning to your friends with a simple “this is how things are now,” explanation. This is not how things are for Kendrick or Wale etc etc. Future works better loose and in a zone. If you think it’s easy and your just going to autotune your voice and shout “Content! Content! Content!” you won’t be Future. Desiigner is promising but he is not Future. Future is not mumble rap. Future is really vividly articulating his emotional state of mind like a blockbuster movie. On HNDRXX especially you can hear every word he says.
4. Previously Future’s beef with Ciara has been ugly but now that ugly is terrifying
The Future mixtape Project E.T. made me unhappy. As good as anything on there was that Juice song Future did about killing Ciara was no Bueno. This isn’t a double racial standard. I didn’t like it when Marshall Mathers did the killing my ex songs. HNDRXX takes the anguish Future feels about the relationship and takes it to new emotional heights. Testify never comes right out and declares her as subject matter but it’s mad creepy. As he sings “Anything we go through is a test of times. Can you be the one who loves me all the time?” my hairs stood up on end and then the song ends with him hauntingly repeating “confess your love for me…testify” as his voice fades out. The scariest Ciara moment is CLEARLY My Collection. A superbly disturbing analysis of the mind state a man has after a broken relationship. If you’re looking for TMI moments they are plentiful from crooning “this codeine ain’t got nothin’ to do with my little child!” “She told me she was an angel, she F*&#ed two rappers and three sangers.” The hook is paralyzingly gross without any swearing “…even if I hit you once you part of my collection.” The diseased mind that holds these women in some sort of mental art museum is something Future consciously wanted to observe. It’s clear that part of this is in him and part of this is an artist analyzing the emotions that could happen if he doesn’t let go. The complexity of his anger is so marvelously rendered you can’t be mad. It’s terrifying but the beautiful kind.
5. Future is bigger than trap
Think of it the same way we do Mike Will Made It. When Trap was at its white hottest he was lacing Gucci Mane and giving the genre definition (Metro Boomin certainly took the baton and ran) and now you see his production credits in The Grammys Song of The Year category because he produced Beyoncé’s biggest hit off her new album Lemonade. Future still makes rough and tumble Trap, just listen to Scrape or Draco on the self-titled album, but he smashes pop songs as well. Selfish is the duet with Rihanna which comes to mind first but Incredible is a friendly radio hit. Aside from pop songs HNDRXX has one song with vocals from Mayer Hawthorne and production by Jake One (Lookin’ Exotic). Anyone predict that collaboration? He works with DJ Mustard and Detail for that finger snapping ratchet movement and he knocks it all out of the park. This is what Mike Will taught us about the process. Just because Future started in Trap and elevated it, doesn’t mean that is his limitation. He’s incredibly durable and bubbling over creatively.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Atlanta hip hop, best albums of 2017, Ciara, Codeine, Detail, DJ Mustard, Drake, Dre Moon, Freeband Gang, future, Future album, Gucci Mane, HNDRXX, Lemonade, mike will made it, Rihanna, Trap
Song of The Year-Like A Rockstar by Kodie Shane featuring Saucy Longwe produced by Matty P, Stonii Tha Melody God & D. Clax
Kodie Shane’s new mixtape is called Big Trouble Little Jupiter and it is a great example of why Atlanta WINS. Atlanta is the epicenter of weird (in my opinion the Bay Area is right up there as well). If Kodie Shane dropped a slamming anthem like this in NY the media would start debating whether it stacked up to old EPMD singles or whether this is even rap. What is real hip hop? Yuck.
This hook is fantastic, the beat pounds and leads into a guitar solo. Big Trouble Little Jupiter has 10 songs and they are all experiments. Your Side ventures into that 90’s R &B sound, Be With or Without is a lush break up song over a tough as jerky trap beat. Big Trouble Little Jupiter will look right at your preconceptions and shout WHO CARES. It is rap, it is singing, it is gorgeous, it is ugly.
If you read The Fader article about her it will not surprise you to hear that Shane is aligned with Yachty and the manager of The Migos. Those are all smart oddballs and it is quite apparent listening to Like A Rockstar that Kodie knows how to throw her voice where it is best needed. In this case it is tense and brazen in other places it is smooth and goes down like hot cocoa on a sore throat (how is this my reference? I am so old. So very old.). It is refreshing that we live in a hip hop culture that nurtures an artist like Kodie Shane because I shudder to think how many my generation left behind keeping the sound “pure”.
stream or download Big Trouble Little Jupiter:
Mixtape Review-1017 Vs. The World by Gucci Mane & Lil Uzi Vert
Gucci Mane is the Hunter S Thompson of hip hop. While I love Hunter I have never done drugs so I have very few people I can actually share that love with. People get swept up in the drugs and the Ice Cream Cone and forget about Gucci’s craft. Ever since Gucci was released the end of May, he has been laser sharp and out to prove a point. It’s a credit to Lil Uzi Vert that he is able to reach the bar Gucci sets on 1017 Vs. The World.
You know that no one is sleepwalking from the first song. Changed My Phone is audacious and loud and brash. Lil Uzi handles the chorus with intent for you to sing along while Gucci threatens to bury Nas at the bottom of the ocean with the manatees. C Note is the man behind the first two songs and they fit the classically melodic follow the bouncing ball flow but at least they are snarling and bass driven enough to be fun. Too much trap ends up a depressed drug stupor.
The reason I had a hard time getting into Lil Uzi Vert’s career ascension was that his melodic flow is so natural I missed the fact that he was still spitting with impressive technique. While Gucci drops the most rewindable verse of the mixtape on Blonde Brigitte featuring “My ex keep going down memory lane like Minnie Rip-er-ton ho!” Uzi throws down two minutes and twenty seconds in. His confidence level and sensational ability to make everything singable give him a rightful place wherever he wants. I am by no means framing this as a passing-the-torch thing Uzi is not the next Gucci but he very well could be the next Young Scooter.
The knock on 1017 Vs The World is the same on all top tier trap related mixtapes. While a top tier rapper can take risks when he gets enough power (see Kanye West, Kendrick, etc) top tier trap rappers are beholden to the same stable of producers. The same way I can’t eat nothing but pizza or I’ll die I can’t listen to toxic levels of Zaytoven(good thing this project is only 7 songs 2 by Zaytoven).Threesome is a paint by numbers Zaytoven beat. This is the kind of minimal off-key stuff he has gigabytes of hanging around. I yearn for something to change (this is probably why Mike Will Made It is doing more pop stuff to challenge himself).
The best beat is In ’04 by DP Beatz which drops out and charges back in to accentuate Vert’s best performance. Now that Gucci is out he has a rumored album with everyone but Kanye is the one I want for Gucci. I want this, semi-cleaned up, wild eyed wordsmith over the lavish sonic tapestry of Ye’s universe. Listen to 1017 Vs. The World and I think you’ll agree.
Stream or download 1017 Vs. The World below:
Song of The Year-Winner$ by Scotty ATL featuring Cyhi The Prince produced by Toomp
If someone asked me (no one ever asks me questions this specific) who the next hip hop mega-star from Atlanta will be I would answer Scotty ATL. I’m not saying he’s going to be a name; he’s already a name for people who love hip hop (hasn’t released a subpar project in YEARS). I think he’s heading for “my grandmother knows who he is” status. Winner$ is a great example of why he is that name for me. He just doesn’t ever waste an opportunity.
Here he gets a beat from the production architect of the trap sound (Toomp is so damn slept on) and a fire breathing game changer of a guest verse from the rap machine Cyhi The Prince (If you like what Kanye has been doing just grab as much Cyhi as you can get) and the two forge an incredible melody they never break out of with a hook so gorgeous you could just put the song on repeat.
This comes off of Scotty ATL’s mixtape EP Home Sick which is absolutely great. In five songs he shows that he can do the languid mumble hop that dominates the radio (Let’s Go Swim) give you classic trap(Plug on The Low featuring OJ Da Juiceman) and strip all that away to give you his heart in a show stopping way (My Mind Lately).
Winner$ is a great example of why Scotty wins. He always gets the very best out of his collaborators without giving the outward impression that he is trying to sink their battleship. He’s able to ramp up his sound while maintaining its earnestness. Home Sick is stadium rap but it’s still just Scotty with no pretentious genre-shifting airs or faux depression. I’d rather listen to Winner$ than Ultralight Beam but I like my sh_t mean any-damn-way.