#Bandcampgold-Role Model by Michael Christmas
A lot of the most profitable rappers have become quite good at positioning themselves as post-joy flat featured heavy-hangs-the-crown types. Of course it isn’t true for most of them but acting like the weight of the world is on your shoulders as you are at your sales high marker is a cooler way to react than actual excitement.
The thing is you can’t replace what excitement gives a song. 19 year old Boston MC Michael Christmas flexes the power of enthusiasm all through his new album Role Model. Conceptually the album functions around the relationship he has to his sister and the way young innocent eyes make you rethink the image you present to them and the world they are stepping into. After going over the basic rules of engagement with the world to her on the intro he slides right into These Days where he loudly chants how jacked up the world is. It is produced by Meltycanon who does four out of the fifteen songs on Role Model and most of the best ones. Girlfriend Upset and These Days are all anthemic sing-a-longs where the production is broad enough for everyone to love but odd enough (Girlfriend especially) to be tailored for Christmas. The other producer who deserves a tip of the hat is Thelonious Martin for his ill fuzzed out guitars on Growing Up and everything to do with Ball.
It was a surprise hearing Christmas is from Boston because all the Boston MC’s I know of are stone faced hoody wearing Reks/Esoteric/Slaine types who are more likely to rap about eating your intestines than about being shy in the club and erectile dysfunction (see Not For Me second verse). All the hooks on Role Model are big pretty and fun. He doubles his vocals so you can hear him giggling and repeating his “tick tick” ad lib. He might rap about pancakes and then next track hook up with G Perico & Domo Genesis for an ILL West Coast rap song (Polo Sweater). Shout out to G Perico ,by the way, who is one of my favorite rappers of the world and a definite 2017 MVP candidate for the work he put in.
The reason I keep coming back to Role Model is that it is about feeling like you’re not good enough for the new world. Watching the next generation grow up smart and emotionally savvy while fearing you’re not growing at the same pace (Christmas sees this with his sister while I’m raising a son who is clearly better than me). It is about that but it handles the conflicted heft with an earned optimism so by the time you get to track nine (Ball) you are throwing your hands in the air. When track 10 starts Tianna is listening to Ball and singing along and you feel how important his music must be to her. How much she has at stake in him, you take the trip with these characters. You feel how important these relationships are to them. It’s a refreshing perspective and the energy he leverages is contagious.
Stream or Purchase Role Model below:
#Bandcampgold-G-Worthy (G-Perico & Jay Worthy) produced by Cardo
Can I tell you what separates Cardo from his peers at the very top of hip hop production? The Neptunes make anyone sound cool from Kelis to Timberlake to Pusha and Malice to Britney Spears. Not everyone sounds cool on a Cardo beat. Cardo beats are the pure distillation of hearing Snoop and Dre for the first time, liquid metal cool forming and reforming, with the right host on the mic it sounds invincible. This is why when people don’t know who Cardo is I simply say “He built Wiz Khalifa” without the luxuriously unflappable warm sonic world of Cardo to color his incredible personality Wiz would have been another weirdo in a hip hop world full of them. If you don’t have the right personality to sail on these beats you’ll be caught faking the funk but if you match up it takes you to another level.
If you look at the cover of G-Worthy it looks like it could have come out in 1992. Jay Worthy from Compton and G Perico from South Central reassure us that while Rap destroys what it loves to be and rebuilds to the opposite direction every five years…West Coast Gangsta Rap doesn’t.
The album consists of seven songs that feel effortlessly connected without any visible seams. What has changed is the ability for a Blood like Jay Worthy to rap about B hats and his Brazy life right before G Perico raps about violence from a Crip perspective (Getting High). The music is the glue. Jay Worthy is a solid dude who recently released a full length project with Alchemist so he is used to spitting over genius production. Jay Worthy is a game machine talking pimping or gang life or just generally flossing all over the listener. On the single Never Miss he authoritatively asserts “Take a look at yourself, we getting money On the route with these dames, a little lucky.”
Perico is a star his voice his cadence along with the personal specificity of imagery really draw him to the forefront at all time. The best example is his verse on Ain’t Trippin which starts “Middle finger to e’rybody that’s how I do it. Got the glock in the beamer case a n__ want to act stupid.” He talks about how the police are monitoring everyone and that’s not new, that he can’t tell the visual difference between his enemies and friends cops and homies. By the end of the verse you can feel the waves washing over, the uncertainty hostility and powerlessness of this criminalized system. It’s all done economically in a short verse. He loads up and does it again with the subject of women on the beginning of the next track (Scandalous). I heard all of Perico’s work before and liked it but it is Cardo’s production that made his lyrics vivid enough for me to figure out the allure. I think Perico is the best gangsta rapper since YG and G-Worthy could easily become a group without comparison. Not only do they represent a timeless standard few would dream of comparing against but their singles, while fabulous, are just as good as the rest of their output. They shine at a slow bops pace that they could keep up without a trickle of sweat for ten years. I hope they make more money than they ever hoped as G-Worthy.
Stream or buy G-Worthy below:
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Tagged #BandcampGold, Alchemist, California, Cardo, Compton, G Perico, Gangsta rap, Jay Worthy, South Central, west coast hip hop, YG
Mixtape Review-AD & Sorry Jaynari-By The Way
Energy creates energy.
No matter how popular the grim and gritty brooding album is (for showing the wounded humanity of its narrator) to a fan base desperate to connect with dark secrets; it lives that way in contrast to energy projects and it will always need energy to contrast against.
AD is that dude. The first song on his mixtape By The Way has the perfect title-Boom. Boom is exactly what happens when AD jumps onto a song(see E-40’s new AD assisted single On One for more evidence), we are talking about Petey Pablo level energy but laced with determined frustration “…knew that I was destined, knew I wouldn’t be stressin’, knew I was that n_ studio nights at the Westin. N_ slept on me for years but I took that sh_ as a blessing, no weapon shall form against me, my dreams now manifestin’.(Boom)” None of his verses are fluff in any way shape or form.
The production is handled by Sorry Jaynari of League of Starz. League of Starz are really the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League of ratchet, keeping the excitement (finger snaps, mean bass lines) but it’s cleaner and more polished than anyone else can make it. Sorry Jaynari carries that tradition forward; no beat has a millisecond that doesn’t make sense.
G Perico, YG, E-40, Nef The Pharoah, OT Genasis, Freddie Gibbs, Mozzy, Ty Dolla Sign, IamSu, and K. Camp all show up and feel perfectly welcome amongst the clean exclamation point west coast thump. My favorite song is up for grabs, it could be Strapped which features a classic West Coast hook and old time Dj Quik groove that G Perico sounds perfect on. AD swings into the track with more swagger than shouting and it all fits perfectly. Tap In could be the best because E-40 lays a MONSTROUS hall of fame guest verse and Nef The Pharoah oozes all over the song with his exceptional crazy talk.
If you were never into the West Coast sound this project is not going to change your mind. The great thing about By The Way is that if you ever did love that sound, you’ll recognize it here but you’ll also recognize that it has changed. These aren’t hyphy songs overloaded to the point of madness; if you listen to the title track you’ll hear…the song is actually pretty sparse for something this hype. It surges forward because AD is a master of ceremony in the entertainer sense; he whips the song into a frenzy while Sorry Jaynari keeps the ship steady so it doesn’t exhaust you as a listener. The combination of unique talents working to highlight opposing strengths gives the project a real identity and listenability; By The Way is another example of the strength and depth of the West right now. AD could have an amazing future but so could any number of the guests on the project who are young lions with their own dope projects out (Ty Dolla Sign, Nef The Pharoah, Mozzy, G Perico) and that is just a sliver of all the talent bubbling.
Energy creates energy.
Stream or Download By The Way now: