Image via Verde Babii/ Instagram

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The Bay Area doesn’t sleep, and neither does Yousef Srour.

Welcome to the BAY AREA TYPE BEAT series, a recurring column in which Yousef Srour sheds light on Bay Area artists and Bay Area-adjacent artists. Each week, he handpicks five cuts that are either brand new or have been victims to the Spotify algorithm. Lo and behold, BAY AREA TYPE BEATs:

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In honor of Valentine’s Day, I present Lou Deezi’s precautionary tale of a crooked Reno love affair. Repurposing the snappy drums and the sensual string serenade from Santana’s “Maria Maria,” Lou Deezi describes a story of love at first sight. They meet at a party on the North side, they lock eyes, and she’s “as fine as fine can get.”

In the same breath that Deezi announces that they’ve officially become a couple, he cuts himself off, rapping from the perspective of a homie that he’s been telling the story to. Still under the guise of disheartened monotony, Lou Deezi reveals that they have been seeing the same girl with the same tiger tattoo on her thigh. Deezi raps are detail-oriented. His storytelling skills let you in on the tragicomedy of his life.

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Decelerated and reversed, the first few seconds of “Demons” teases a snippet of a bass boosted baritone, a glob of inaudible voices singing slowly enough to be deemed vaporwave. The moment the beat drops, the indiscernible sample transfigures into gospel. The voices separate from each other and howl, climbing the chromatic scale like rungs on a ladder to the heavens.

Those first ten seconds are the moments you fall to your knees, weak with repentance. When a thud emerges – whether that be an inaugural 808 or the sound of your body making contact with the earth below you – Ssrichh33 snatches the microphone from the rubble of his personal lows. He sharply inhales and lays stake for personal vengeance: “They done f*cked up / Why the f*ck they let the demons in.” Alongside cohorts and a cut of singers squealing like trumpets, the three Stockton rappers ward off their incubi with disdainful whispers and a newfound vigor.

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Each key on the piano sounds so delicate and so crystallized that Jaaybo might or as well be rapping against sleigh bells in the snow-white shadows of Lake Tahoe. Allegedly a leak, but still up on EBK Jaaybo’s Spotify page, “Felipe” is an exhalation of poison.

When the beat drops, dogs start barking in the distance, 808s descend into a murky flatline, and a new piano countermelody appears from the lower register. Taking advantage of the frostbitten production, Jaaybo’s lyrics turn the winter’s dusk into a playground for his nightmares. Visions of spinning the block, megalomania, and his fallen compatriot, Kasino, linger amidst Jaaybo’s breathy adlibs. We’re introduced to Felipe as a “life saver,” by the end of the song, his name solidifies itself as its own projection of fear.

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The latest song in Northern California to sample Brent Faiyaz (see: EBK Jaaybo’s “Ghetto Gospel”), Verde Babii’s flip of “ROLLING STONE” is an examination of predestined guilt. The loop is buttery, swinging and expansive like an empty ballroom with only two people taking flight on the floor. Brent’s voice is sped-up, pitched-up, and jolts into random stops, ushering in quick sci-fi phasers and murmuring 808s, kicks and snares into the Verde Babii’s verse. In sharp contrast to the elegance of the sample, Armani DePaul, Antii, and Killasiiwila manipulate Verde Babii’s already guttural voice into a stream of echos.

“Let Me Down” is intoxicating because the Stockton rapper acknowledges his flaws without ever promising to change. Verde Babii enters and exits the song as an apologetic lover that will can’t promise to stop hurting you, reiterating in the second verse: “I’m excited that I’m gaslighting” and “I’m everything and nothing at the same time.” Even listeners know that he knows better because he opens the song by declaring, “Rich as f*ck but feel like nothing / She remind me everyday that I’m something.” Until he decides to internalize that sentiment, Verde Babii hopes that you’ll accept his apologies in advance.

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Pretending to dial into a Vallejo-based radio station, DJ Coochie Cobbler introduces this record by letting his listeners know: “You are now tuned in to 707.1.” The writers here at POW Mag cannot say for certain whether or not LaRussell was directly inspired by this column, but the reference to BAY AREA TYPE BEAT is as clear as air. That being said, the shoutout is still deeply appreciated.

Momma, we made it!

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