Image via 03 Greedo/Wyatt Spain Winfrey/Instagram
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As president Harley Geffner would make all doggy healthcare free.
R3 is the perfect foil for Greedo – acting as the subtle, yet vicious presence that Drakeo once occupied on their collaborations. R3 is slick. His voice and bars cut like a knife through warm butter, as he insinuates that you can’t be a trophy if you’ve never been in a high speed chase with police. But Greedy’s presence is the polar opposite – massive and booming. When Greedo starts humming as R3 is wrapping up his verse, the sound crawls up your spine, eventually opening all the way up over your head as Greedo begins: “Bitch I’m on parole, but I still tote a pole.”
It’s victorious and large where R3’s hood trophy bars are incisive. As they transition from one to the other, it’s the tip of a spear morphing into a deadly sonic weapon. Greedo sounds at home on most any beat, but this one feels particularly in his wheelhouse with the frosted keys jangling behind the hollowed out bass. This is night crawling music; Greedo’s best sounding work since he became a free man.
You can feel the spirit of improvisation in this song. The little hum that turns into a hook that turns into a song, all started by a broken down tour bus on a snowy day in Wyoming. The monte booker beat is a masterpiece, fluttering overhead like a soft flurry would, but just dark enough to give it a little edge. And Smino is just having fun playing in the snow. His flows are not stagnant, but not random either – they’re smooth, funky, and get silly at times like when he interpolates half a Steve Lacy hook before subverting the expectations on the second half of the bar. It all happens so fast, there’s no time to think about it – only feel the listlessness of a tour bus full of people sick of being snowed in.
Moreno Valley’s S5 is always on-edge. His raps are twitchy, but slow and measured – like he can make life-altering decisions in a split second and still think them through. It’s an off-shoot of the type of nervous rap that Drakeo coined, but his version is slightly more melodic and he can lilt you into a daze more than the hypnotic lyric-driven bars of his predecessor.
That’s not to say that S5’s lyrics aren’t punchy – his slip you in and out of snapshots on his life. It’s little details that you catch – a knife always being visible when he visits his father, the stolen cars he and his friend learned to drive in, the focus on his hoodie when visiting enemy territory. It’s razor sharp stuff, but the flows dangling over the edges of the beat are what really catch the ear.
T9ine’s songs always give off this meditative feeling – the type that comes from a dolo sesh with a blunt to help clear your mind. His music is conversational and fluid, like a running stream of consciousness between you and your intuition. His beat selection typically matches the vibe – light, twinkly, and heady. The type of beats a sentient higher power (if you believe) would pick were they a Florida rapper. On Fly Straight, he had a specific flow in mind that couldn’t wait for studio time, and it almost sounds like he recorded this on his phone. It makes his vocals feel even more raw, as he raps about bag-getting, debates himself about whether or not his homies really love him, and sings an introspective hook about the high stakes of his rapping career.
There’s something invigorating about a big cypher with no overarching themes – just a bunch of guys throwing haymakers in every direction with their disrespectful bars. Detroit’s flows, beats, and idiosyncrasies have submerged themselves into every corner of modern rap, but the progenitors of the style still do it best. There’s too many triple entendres, out of bounds boasts, casual asides about the real shit, and flagrant disses to do the cypher justice with a blurb. It’s messy and fun, but it’s all delivered with a matter of fact type attitude that ties it all together in a clean way.