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How Big Is Your World? Good Rap from January.


-Fabo “Put Some Gik On It”

In every corner of whatever tinny, post-Snap beat he’s not quite rapping, not quite singing on, Fabo finds enough hooks and memorable melodies for five singles. It’s always infectious and really fun, because it’s just a guy kinda going off–only Fabo’s understanding of “going off” has nothing to do with what’s expected in rap music. It’s actually out of control and unpredictable. Every song is about being stuffed so full of drugs that you’re like, rolling around on the floor and drooling and spazzing out. Fabo goes there. On “Put Some Gik In It”, listen to those “agggh!” ad-libs all over the background of the track and how a few times they morph into stunning, wordless crooning–this lurching, sorta harmonizing he’s mastered at this point. And despite all the infectious silliness, he’s got a genuinely beautiful, emotive voice (makes sense that he references James Brown and the The Temptations on this song instead of other rappers) he just uses it towards a really personal, really goofy, really somber end.
-Yelawolf “Love Is Not Enough”

“What made it come to a stop?/Had to be the money issue.” Yelawolf’s really wrapped-up in working-class concerns and to exclusively focus on his technical abilities or his deep understanding of tradition or whatever, is a bigger disservice than pumping his raps full of some context. Speaking of context and tradition: From Rick James’ “Hollywood”, to Triple Six’s “Da Summa” and Devin the Dude’s “Anythang”, and now, “Love Is Not Enough”, Yelawolf’s tagging along on some sad-sack, Southern rap classics. Unlike those songs though, Yelawolf’s still in it, so he employs his elastic rapping style towards the song’s confused, drunk off Jack, speeding down the highway emotional chaos. His voice jumps forward in the verses, speeding through all the frustrating details of the relationship (“you began to lie to your parents”, the real or imagined college graduate she’s now dating) and suddenly slows-up on the hopeless hook. And it is hopeless, because it’s beyond world of the forms stuff like “love” or having things in common, it’s hard, touchable, but unmoveable things that ended his relationship: stuff like social class and economics.

-Rich Boy ft. Yelawolf “Go Crazy”

Let’s just get a whole album of Rich Boy rapping over Jim Jonsin’s kinda awesome, kinda stupid beats. At least a mixtape. These Jonsin/Rich Boy team-ups aren’t exactly radio-ready or nothing, they’re too slow, too murky, and weird–kinda what that group jj thought they were doing to Jonsin’s “Lollipop” on their song “Ecstasy”. You can’t even throw for-the-ladies concession accusations at these songs, they’re just these bizarre, slow-burning shit-talk tracks. Rich Boy just kinda combining cool-sounding words and phrases together, digging deep into his Alabama accent and grumbling out some raps. There’s also a kinda funny thing when Yelawolf dropkicks into this one, like suddenly there’s enthusiasm and energy there, not a kind of simmering disgust with any and everything. As a result, Rich Boy’s second verse sounds a little amped by Yela’s guest spot.
-Just Blaze “Exhibit GFP”

You get a chance to hear that Just Blaze House music set? He ended his set with this jokey but actually awesome refix of “Exhibit C”. Blame Jersey Shore I guess? The set, all the way thorough, is really genius. Almost a cruel joke on his audience, as it starts with a kinda perfunctory run-through of a bunch of his hits and favorites and then suddenly, it shifts into a masterful, dance set and doesn’t let-up. And it’s a real dance music set, not the never-get-too-crazy kinds that you usually hear at places like Fool’s Gold, where it encourages people to sorta dance but not go all-out because going all-out isn’t cool. Seriously, at places like this–or your city’s low rent, but probably better version–when a chick actually busts-out and dances, unironically, with moves and shit, people get weirded out or get this “hater” attitude. Downloading the set, and having a context for this remix (it was out on the internet in late December) was a great way to begin 2010, like a joyful death knell on the genuinely destructive indie takeover over dance music that happened during the ‘aughties.

-Araab Muzik “Death By Electric Shock”

This is audio ripped from the MPC performance of Dipset producer Araab Muzik, which you can watch here. When it was on YouTube, it was labelled “Death By Electric Shock” and that’s a cool title so I’m keeping it as that. Free of the very awesome video though, you start to realize how bizarre this song is and it shows that Araab’s almost bass-less, treble-filled beats on Crime Pays, Boss of All Bosses 2 and many other places, are not the result of a guy who doesn’t know how to mix or is on a budget, but a guy developing a weird, very new aesthetic. The drum and bass in the intro, the DJ Shadow homage, dude is looking at hip-hop from a very expansive and not all that popular right now perspective. His ears are open. If he were British and 12 other twits were doing this to diminishing returns along with him, it’d get covered in magazines. He should do live performances. He could open for Xiu Xiu or something. He could tour with The Knife. He should release an instrumental version of Boss of All Bosses 2.
-No Gang Colors “Killer Season”

Half of No Gang Colors is Joseph of Geek Down but that doesn’t matter, no playing favorites here, this is the weirdest, angriest, open-minded extreme music I’ve heard since Strength & Vision by Slavia. A focused, determined aesthetic fighting with a kitchen-sink approach to genre and expectation. Like all the songs listed above, these releases not only give me hope that something’s shifting in how people vomit out their post-iPod/Google Blog Search influences but that all the mash-up, po-mo cleverness, sell-out, genre-hopping is over and we’re just gonna have awesome weirdos doing whatever they like–and doing it right. Was this Burzum-y punch of guitar and drums scored to Cam’ron’s sideways motivational speech from Killa Season? Like everything on No Gang Colors’ EP This Is Your God–the hilarious/sad Mike Tyson sample, a screech of vocals, all the sounds sent into one speaker and then the other, the occasional growl of vocals, a dose of screw music–it feels purposeful, inspired, and assured. Seven songs in eleven minutes assured.

further reading/viewing:

-Billy Madison Clip

-DJ Burnone on Fabo

-Rick James performs “Hollywood” on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert

-jj “Ecstasy” track review by Marc Hogan for Pitchfork


-AraabMuzik (Dipset Producer) [In Studio Performance]

-Go get No Gang Colors’ EP This Is Your God

-Sean Murphy (artist)

Written by Brandon

January 28th, 2010 at 4:04 pm

7 Responses to 'How Big Is Your World? Good Rap from January.'

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  1. you probably could have written "rich boy ft. adam yauch" and gotten away with it for a good minute.
    good call on jj's brick wall.
    Have you heard this other rich boy ibitha reach-out?

    Adam Katzman

    29 Jan 10 at 3:41 am

  2. Adam-
    That's one of the things I left out to keep it brief, but it's great how Yela begins with this very Beasties flow and ends up somewhere else by the end.

    Also, could be stretching, but I wonder if it isn't some suggestion that somehow Jonsin is the new Rubin–rock-oriented guy making rap beats. Don't laugh, these Jonsin beats are great.


    29 Jan 10 at 4:05 pm

  3. Fabo is a fucking lunatic!! That whole mixtape is crazy. I was totally expecting it to be on some boring ass soft "futuristic swag" bullshit like Young Dro's been doing lately, and yeah, there is a bit of that on there, but a solid half of it is pure wild ass ecstasy insanity. He makes a song called "I Just Gotta Dance" sound like he's OBSESSED with escaping from reality. "Pills are the new crack" indeed, fucking hell.

    For the record though, I don't fuck with D4L. "Scotty" was just about the only song I REALLY liked on their album, and I was just so psyched that Fabo's tape is 100% in the same vein.

    mark p.

    29 Jan 10 at 8:15 pm

  4. mark-
    Yeah, the whole tape rules. For me, Fabo's stuff being so good and interesting was vindication for me because the d4l album when it came out, was something I was really into. This shit is way better, but it's cool to be like "oh yeah I wasn't crazy".

    This was you know 2005 or so, so the internet rap blog world wasn't what it is now…so one was way more lost in one's own head and opinions.


    31 Jan 10 at 7:50 pm

  5. Fabo: yeah but it isn't all fun n games on the tape, it has its dark moments too. I'm impressed with the whole thing, listened to it in its entirity on first listen, a rare occurence these days.

    Jonsin/yela/rich: Jonsin = one of the most interesting producers doing rap/RnB right now. rap-geek-fantasy: Jim Jonsin and Young L makin a beat togheter.

    Aarab: missed this, thanks for pointing it out for me. I also agree with you pointing out the weirdness of this, but I'm not sold on his "aestethic" being "very new". In my pov the guy is pretty much settled in the house Heatmakerz built, but yeah, he is making new and interesting things in there.


    1 Feb 10 at 1:04 pm

  6. I’m glad to see someone else who likes Sonny with a chance as much as I do, GradyZora is my favorite character on the show. Thanks for this post, I enjoyed reading it!

    Ignacia Mcilwraith

    18 Mar 10 at 3:50 am

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