Image via Maxo Kream/Instagram
Donald Morrison is going to tell his kids that this new Cash Kidd x Bfb Da Packman track is Biggie and Tupac.
When Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem released song-of-the-summer contender “The Hillbillies,” music critics around the globe came together to declare that Kendrick was “having fun again.” The critics were responding to the video showing Kendrick prancing around the Dodger Stadium parking lot experiencing the joys of youth vicariously through his younger cousin and latest muse. Kendrick is hanging out again, they said, and it’s all for the better. I don’t really care if Kendrick Lamar is having fun and I think his music probably suffers the more fun he has. He’s too painstaking to be merry, too much of a perfectionist to really deliver what I like to call… a good hang.
But since we’re talking about fun, It’s hard to imagine two rappers having more of it than Cash Kidd and Bfb Da Packman trading punchlines over a riff on Ben E. King’s classic “Stand By Me.” An entire article could be devoted to ranking the bars in this song. Cash Kidd sounds as if he’s delivering his lines through a permanent mischievous grin, always one second away from laughing at the absurdity of his own words. “Ain’t gotta look for no glocks because we fly with them, dripped in water, now they wanna hang like some icicles,” he says, before comparing his safe to a gumball machine.
In the video, BFB prepares for his verse by sparring in the background with a pair of black boxing gloves, finally coming to the mic to rap about cooking fentanyl in his grandma’s house. Both artists can time their punchlines like well-trained comedians, managing to use their levity to turn the absurdity of their writing into something morbidly funny as opposed to predictably and needlessly shocking.
There’s a 42 Dugg-sized hole in the rap game and it doesn’t appear to be filling up anytime soon. Even with the rapper’s incarceration, he still managed to release one of the best verses of the year with Babyface Ray on “Ron Artest,” which was recorded long before he got locked up. His label boss, Yo Gotti, released a Dugg loosie this past week on the CMG compilation tape, which unsurprisingly stole the show on a record that never fully takes off.
There’s too many boilerplate Moneybagg Yo verses for the album to ever really find a groove. “Bae” by Dugg is an easy standout, with the Detroit rapper showcasing an effortless hook-writing ability that hasn’t been seen since 50 cent in the early aughts.
The former lean kingpin of Los Angeles turned fashion impresario-turned-rapper, Desto Dubb, is having one of the best years of his life. His brand, That’s An Awful Lotta Cough Syrup is practically unavoidable in the hip-hop space these days, with pop-ups appearing at Rolling Loud and all over Los Angeles. Desto has even landed himself a somewhat regular slot on one of NoJumper’s numerous video podcasts with Adam22. Out of all his money-making ventures perhaps rapping and making music is what Desto is LEAST known for at this point.
However, he’s trying to change that with his latest angle, “Dead Homies,” which opens with Veeze saying he’s got a Percocet 20 on his back like Manu Ginóbili. The beat, handled by Thank You Fizzle, sounds like something Drakeo The Ruler would have been rapping over if he was still alive. Desto sounds just as hungry and inspired as he did back when he was smoking roaches and living on couches.
Big Sad 1900 seems like the LA artist most likely to make it past the regional limits set on most Southern California rappers. You can see it with crews like the Stinc Team and the Baby Stone Gorillas, two camps with huge local success but only a little bit of momentum outside of the 213. Big Sad is almost a more palatable mix of those aforementioned groups. He has the consistency of the Stinc Team’s Ralfy The Plug, releasing new music weekly and often locking in with one producer for a single project. He also flexes his gang ties but isn’t quite as insular about it as Baby Stone Gorillas are. Big Sad makes no excuses for his lifestyle and seems to welcome whatever doomed future awaits him. Ignore the X-Rated video for “I Be Wit Drug Dealers,” and it’s easily one of the best tracks out of LA in months. The beat is what driving through LA in the summer sounds like and Big Sad effortlessly does his thing, ad libs and all.
Maxo Kream over a plugg beat is exactly what I needed this fall. His breathless, double-time flow has always managed to crack the pleasure censor in my brain. I can still remember the first time I heard “Grannies” from 2017, another song where Maxo breaks down his trauma over a plugg beat collaboratively produced by MexikoDro & Stoopidxool. The Maxo and plugg collabs are extremely underrated and the crew could easily carry an entire album worth of material. As much as I love Luh Tyler, I do wish Maxo would have kept this one for himself. Tyler by no means ruins the song, but I love Maxo’s flow so much that it feels a little interrupted whenever Tyler comes on. This is a small complaint though and Maxo’s laissez faire way of saying “Luh Tyler only 17, drinking 1942” makes it all worth it.