No Trivia

How Big Is Your World? New Rap!


-Yelawolf “Looking For Alien Love”

Yelawolf’s a polysyllabic preacher here, rhyming and ranting over a sparkling, drum-less soundscape from Grade A Muzik (“Trap Goin’ Ham”). At first, Yela goes off about love like he’s some sixteenth century British poet (“One floats around until the signal reaches a receiver/One floats around until the love reaches a believer” ) and then about why every other rapper’s bullshit (“Don’t be so goddamn easily impressed, in 93′ you had to rap/What the fuck ever happened to that?”) and why rap sucks now, but in hyper-literate, opaque terms: “It’s like they heard the joke and took them serious though, and a bunch of people showed up with a blinged-out cereal bowl.” And when there finally is a proper beat for Yela to go off over, he raps for a moment and then just croons songs from Kindergarten and does some psychedelic scatting over Squarepusher-esque drums. Some total Soul Coughing shit really.

-Field Mob “We Byke”

Field Mob announce their return with a really spare and modest track that just kinda declares they’re back a whole bunch, makes a reference to Grand Puba’s “I Like It,” and keeps it moving. The song is creeping, low-energy Crunk–ominous skittering drums and some “hey!” shouts—but it’s subtly addictive, full of sing-rap weirdness, some fast-rap fancy stuff, that can all sneak by on the first couple listens and in that sense, is almost perverse to release in the crazy rap-blog immediacy of 2010. But an eccentric, kinda whatever return to recording fits Shawn Jay and Smoke’s folksy goofball style pretty well: “My jeans sag like your grandmomma’s titties.” After all, these are the guys that squawked that they were “sick of being lonely” and used Jazze Pha and Ciara for one of the most touching relationship rap records of the decade.

-Gucci Mane ft. Bun B & Yo Gotti “It’s Goin’ Up”

A defense of Bun B’s recent rapping is a lot harder now that he’s got this annoying-ass Twitter and he got a legacy 5-mic from The Source (which still matters if you read The Source when 5-mics meant something!!!) for the decent, peppered-with-Drake Trill O.G, but I’d like to offer something of a rebuttal to a general sentiment floating around lately, sorta calcified in Noz’s “Historic Histrionics”. Namely, Gucci’s rapping better than Bun here and Yo Gotti’s having more fun, but Bun employs his aging, booming voice here as a sane counter-point. He steps into the song like the grizzled street dude with sage, inglorious advice (“Niggas on that bullshit, sellin’ wax and dry-wall/Be careful who you scorin’ from, niggas bound to try y’all) and he does it with authority and then, steps back. If there’s a problem with this verse, it’s that it’s too concise, and too well-structured. Without Bun, this song wouldn’t be half as exhilarating.

-Slum Village ft. Little Brother “Where Do We From Here”

This song’s called “Where Do We Go From Here” and it features the recently broken-up Little Brother and T3, founding member of the crumbling before our rap nerd eyes Slum Village, but only Phonte brings his A-game, doing that disjointed, enjambed style of rapping he did on Leftback and his two, yes two features on The Roots’ How I Got Over. Fortunately, Young RJ brings some of that “ol’ Terminator shit” and musically conveys some the conflicted emotions the lyrics fail to address. Techno-tinged bump fighting with these dirge-like, the-score-to-Inception strings, it’s icey but still energetic and seems close to what members (or ex-members) of SV gotta be feeling right now. The best thing about “Where Do We Go From Here” though, is the way those strings get to play out for almost twenty seconds unadorned at the end. One a song that doesn’t even hit the three-minute mark. This is the real “Reunion Pt. 2,” you know?

-Mullyman “MULLY!”

Mullyman sprints through this beat, touching a different aspect of its construction with his rhymes every bunch of bars, steadily moving into weirder and weirder territory, getting more angular and syllable-obsessed with every couplet. He chants over the initial slam of the drums, then rides the beat properly, and mid-verse, shifts gears, doubles-up his flow and weaves his rhymes between the shrieking strings all the way up to the hook. Then, for the next two verses, he returns to the drums and employs every rhyming trick and weird vocal tic he knows: More double-time flow, references to internet memes (“C’mon son!”), silly puns, rhyming the a word with the same word, odd half-successful wordplay (“fake as the facial features of Joan Rivers”), a reggae-tinged moment of singing. It’s like Mullyman’s throwing everything that’s on Harder Than Baltimore into one big, angry introductory track, only to expound on the individual aspects of his talents on later songs.

-Skinny Friedman “Hundred Dollar Salad”

The brilliance of “Hundred Dollar Salad” rests on a subtle, jazzy-wazzy, sorta-Big Band clump of horns, that are teased in the song’s extended build-up—listen close, they’re a fuzzy rumble in the background nearly from the start–but still kinda come out of nowhere a little past the two-minute mark. Skinny bypasses dance music catharsis for the long haul though, handing the song over to the horns, letting them stretch and explode over and over for the duration of the song. It’s like there’s two compositions running next to one another here—one’s minimal, easy, deep-bass electro, and the other’s a patient, glitch-esque, nearly Disintegration Loops-style sample work-out shoved into the middle of a dance track. Big Band and stuff like that actually kinda goes, much of it pushing 140 BPMs and beyond, and it’s a real music nerd thing to realize that. It’s a genius DJ/producer move to do something with that realization.

further reading/viewing:
-“Love’s Play At Push-Pin” by Robert Herrick
-Yelawolf vs. Killer Mike in the Hip Hop Beer Chug Challenge
-Soul Coughing – “Miss The Girl”
-Grand Puba – “I Like It”
-Field Mob – “So What” ft. Ciara
-“Historic Histrionics” by Noz from Cocaine Blunts
-“Some Ol’ Terminator Shit” by ME
-Drexciya’s Neptune’s Lair (2010 Edition)
-“Springing A Leak” by Al Shipley for Baltimore City Paper
-Places To Purchase Skinny Friedman’s Hundred Dollar Salad EP
-William Basinski – “Disintegration Loop 1.1″
-Shaky Kane at Wikipedia

Written by Brandon

August 5th, 2010 at 5:53 pm

14 Responses to 'How Big Is Your World? New Rap!'

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  1. Defending Bun B, might not be the most popular thing right now as you said, but “Its Goin Up” and his verse on “Good to Go” with Yelawolf are pretty good. It seems that there is an idea that Bun B is just showing up on other people’s tracks yelling “Trill” and delivering some Mike Jones level raps, while Bun B does appear on too many songs at this point in time, he is not going to be bringing down someone’s song even if he does not make it too much better.

    The opening of “Looking for Alien Love” sounds like bizarre gospel piano or music from a kid’s PBS show, I am not sure which, but I like the idea of the later more, but I could be streching that a bit.


    5 Aug 10 at 7:09 pm

    Yeah, I also think Bun is basically having to start over in a sense (he’s said as much), and I think his plan to just sorta sit comfortably in support of a song is smarter than say, bursting in as he does on “Big Pimpin” and stealing the show. ‘Trill’ he had to rep for Pimp, ‘II Trill’ he had to remember the Pimp, and this is the first album where he doesn’t have that sort of “responsibility” and he sounds a bit lost, but he isn’t drowning. Hooking up with Drake is a bit too cloying and whether he knows or cares, offensive to his core fans, but you know, whatev.

    Good call on “Alien”, it does have that tone that would work on some shitty local kids show you’d fine on YouTube or maybe like a Tim and Eric skit mimicking that aesthetic. Really love that chipmunk vocal reduced to absurdity too. This song just blows me away.


    5 Aug 10 at 7:13 pm

  3. So I just wrote a bunch of shit and then I couldnt post it, but the gist of it is

    A) Whether deserved or not, I’m extremely happy about Trill OG getting 5 Mics cause is top 6 ever.

    B) When did 5 Mics lose its credibility?? Not bein funny, but was it with Naked Truth or earlier than that or ????

    C) Juiceman is getting great


    6 Aug 10 at 6:44 pm

  4. So I just wrote a bunch of shit and then I couldnt post it, but the gist of it is

    A) Whether deserved or not, I’m extremely happy about Trill OG getting 5 Mics cause Bun is top 6 ever and still that N-Word

    B) When did 5 Mics lose its credibility?? Not bein funny, but was it with Naked Truth or earlier than that or ????

    C) Juiceman is getting great


    6 Aug 10 at 6:45 pm

  5. Marcus-
    Man, why wouldn’t it let you post it?

    I’m torn about Bun’s recent success. It feels like he’s sorta got into the rap hype beast echo chamber P.R world and that’s why it’s happening and that’s a bit of a bummer.

    I think 5 mics meant something in the 90s when magazines really had pull, especially rap magazines, when that was how I/we rap nerds got our info.

    Totally agree on Juiceman!


    8 Aug 10 at 3:13 am

  6. bun’s usually about as good as his collaborators at this point, i think.


    12 Aug 10 at 7:23 pm

  7. Is Juiceman improving? That would be exciting. I enjoyed even the unimproved version. I generally disliked Mr. Zone 6, way too insular and monotonous for me, though obviously full of brilliant rapping, but I particularly disliked Bun’s verse on ‘It’s Goin’ Up.’ Bun has been lazy for a long time – for a few years now every verse has seemed like it’s been a random combination of the phrases “slab,” “wood WHEEL,” “tri-EEEL,” “SWISHahs,” “FREE. PIMP. C.” (when he wasn’t free), etc., but with his new penchant for referring to himself as THE Trill O.G., and then inferring from the fact that he’s nicknamed himself that that he’s not grippin’ on ‘em, his obsession with generic catchphrases has reached, for me, viscerally offensive levels. It’s like if Nas, in his Escobar phase (by the way, an interesting precedent for Ross’s current identity-snatching act), had instead started dubbing himself “The Thoro Gangsta.” And then built verses around saying “I am The Thoro Gangsta – so obviously I’m not doing anything that isn’t throro. Others are less thoro than me, the thoro gangsta. Holler at The Thoro Gangsta when you are short on crack. You know you can get it from me, I’m so thoro, I’m the Thoro Gangsta.” It is, outside of that, an unusually assured verse for 2010 Bun, but every time I hear those lines I wince.


    18 Aug 10 at 7:38 am

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