Image via Jenn Carter/Instagram
Harley Geffner says it’s crazy you have to pay to get in places to buy things.
SieteGang Yabbie’s raps don’t feel possible. The early punch-ins catch you off-guard and he fits way more syllables in every line than should be allowed. It’s real off-kilter fun, as he rolls his consonants in a way that almost sounds like he could be speaking spanish. His rapping is full of little quirks, and on “Bad Mood,” he starts off yelling “yeah” and “uhh” in as many different combinations as possible over the knocking bass. There are lots of foot references as he continues to step on things (the beat, other people, drugs, etc.) in his dangling foot chain. Yabbie is unpredictable and energized, and in a different column, I once compared him to a mix of Sada Baby and Too $hort. Now, he’s not yet in their echelon, but stylistically, it’s an intoxicating mix, and “Bad Mood” is him at some of his most fun.
Something about this song feels suspended in a state of bliss. Maybe it’s the echoes, maybe the pretty voice in the background, but there’s very little movement on the y axis here. It’s like holding your breath for 2 minutes straight. But instead of gasping for air, it’s meditative. Eastside Baby is ostensibly rapping about being cold hearted, running out of lean, and his ability to spot fiends in the dark, but it honestly doesn’t matter what he’s saying. The song feels like you’re flying and all you can hear around you are the sweet and melodic echoes of clouds whizzing by your ears.
It seems blatantly obvious that this is going to be the next beat to get a hundred remixes from every street rapper you’ve never heard of. It’s just too raunchy and powerful-feeling to be contained to one song. The jersey club / NY drill crossover beats are too tempting, and this is as sick as they come. Connie sounds like a Bronx Pop Smoke, with a burning fire deep in her chest that spits out fireballs with every bar. She makes it clear that when she’s patting her side, it’s not dancing with her hips, but ensuring she’s got the blick. And Jenn Carter sounds at home on the remix, though doesn’t add much substance. It’s still Connie’s swagger, hanging out of drop-top luxury cars, dripping in blue leather and diamonds, that gives Ghetto & Ratchet its dynamism.
1Up Tee is really a sociologist at heart. Dissecting what’s going on around him, with a scientific level of curiosity and precision, gives his music a really vibrant honesty. In “Accountability,” Tee raps back and forth with himself about his life’s direction. One piece of him is frustrated and angry with the situation, blaming love for going broke, others for his violent impulses, and God for still being stuck in a cycle of poverty. The other part of him steps in to counter each argument and call bullshit on it all. He calls it like it really is, rapping encouraging bars like “you ain’t made to make the news, you can make millions,” before landing on his thesis statement at the end: the only thing you can change is yourself.
Tron is the only one who can do these types of gimmicky songs and continue to make them sound cool. “Down, Up” has a robotic counter that recalls those gym class pacer tests, that is supposedly counting Tron doing pushups. But he uses the counter almost as a metronome, rapping about all the things that are alternately down or up. The hands are down and the blick is up, the muddy six put him down and the yerc woke him up, and when he’s feeling down the zaddie lifts him up. He’s wearing two pairs of buffs on his face at the same time, and the music video makes no sense, but it all adds up to be uniquely Tron.