Image via MudBaby Ru/Instagram
Donald Morrison doesn’t make the rules, but sometimes the Uber to JFK is more expensive than the ticket for the cross-country flight your about to take.
Only 24 hours after being released from prison in what many assumed would be a longer bid, 42 Dugg dropped his First Day Out in “Go Again.” The Collective Music Group artist was seen literally skipping out of prison and into the hands of CMG label boss Yo Gotti, who greeted him with numerous changes of clothes and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. Lil Baby was there at one point too.
It’s hard to imagine leaving a life of excess for prison. It’s almost harder to imagine leaving prison and being immediately showered with cash, clothing and expensive jewelry. The vision of 42 Dugg leaving prison evoked in me the great Beanie Siegel lyric, “I don’t know what’s harder, when they release you or when they sentence you.” I don’t care how much money he’s greeted with, this man is surely going through something.
42 Dugg’s music feels intensely personal because he’s always rattling off names of friends and family we don’t even know. It adds a vulnerability that makes us feel as if we know him too. On “Go Again” he says “I remember being on Roxbury with TR, CeCe and AP,” after giving a long overdue shoutout to the Dominican Republic, apropos of nothing, “both the baddest b*tches I know are from the DR.” It’s 42 Dugg’s voice that’s his biggest asset, sounding like Detroit’s version of a yelling Meek Mill mixed with the animated digressions of Lil Boosie. It won’t take long for him to be the biggest artist on the already-stacked CMG if he can only continue dodging the hip-hop police.
The original “Gun Class” is so good it almost got covered by this column twice in a row last year. Mudbaby Ru’s instant classic is the type of rap single that only comes along once every few years a street anthem with a chorus built around a dance based off shooting someone that’s so good no one really seems to notice what it’s about. It’s so good, in fact, that the suits from up high decided to inject the song with fresh blood in the hopes of wringing every last drop from it.
What we’re left with is a remix slightly less potent than the original but still decent enough to write about here. Nardo Wick is a no-brainer for “Gun Class II,” having already released his own viral hit in the spirit of “Gun Class” with “Who Want Smoke??,” a song that also saw G Herbo hopping on the remix. I don’t have any complaints about the remix aside from I wish there were more Mudbaby Ru! Nardo and Herbo both did their thing, but the added verses somehow zaps out some of the magic from the original.
It seems like the triumphant beat for Doja Cat’s “Paint The Town Red” is slowly becoming the latest go-to background music for rappers looking to score a viral freestyle. Both Tyga and Remble have released verses over the Earl on the Beat, Rubin, Jean-Baptiste, and DJ Replay produced song, which samples Dionne Warwick’s “Walk On By.” Tyga performs his version on Power 106 FM and it’s merely ok. Makes you realize it’s kind of impossible to f*ck up this beat.
Remble, however, makes the song his own in a way even Doja Cat couldn’t front on. I’ll probably get flamed for saying I like Remble’s version more than the original but who cares. I love the way he’s burrowing into the subject matter that’s always worked for him, which is mostly jail and prison politics. Remble’s father has been serving a life sentence since Remble was young, so prison has always been a part of his life. Lines like “fight harder like you squabblin’ at Wayside, seen the county K10 a K9, watched a gangster referee a cage fight,” show Remble’s eye for poetic detail.
Unknown T is paying respects to those who paved the way for him and other UK Drill rappers with “Adolescence” featuring Digga D. Everything from the song’s beat to the chorus is a revamped and polished version of UK underground classic “Pain Is The Essence,” released by Dubz and Giggs 14 years ago. Unknown T and Digga D more than do justice by the two UK veterans with a song that somehow sounds vintage in 2023. Also, Unknown T’s grunts and awkward pauses are some of my favorite ad libs in hip-hop as of late.
Played this for my dad and said “trust me, this is what everything is going to sound like in two years.” AyooLii isn’t thinking too hard about what to drop and we’re all better off for it. “I Just Wanna Ball” sounds like it was made as a dare and released by accident. Something about AyooLii’s voice crooning “I just wanna ball,” keeps me returning. Play this near the end of a turn-up to see who’s still willing to party.