Blue Chips is a month-to-month rap column that doubles as a scouting report. Every month, SPIN selects a brand new beginning 5, a bunch of rappers who could possibly be Rookie of the 12 months candidates turned Corridor-of-Famers or forgettable flashes within the pan. Solely the passing seasons (and the variety of streams) will inform. To learn earlier columns, click on right here.
30 Deep Grimeyy – “Say Cheese”
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Did you actually take heed to “Nation Grammar?” Nelly hit the highest of the charts whereas couching the promise of a drive-by in a youngsters’s track. Within the second verse, the St. Louis native slyly lets the world know that he and the Lunatics wouldn’t hesitate to shoot up the membership.
Twenty years later, 30 Deep Grimeyy has no persistence for sugarcoating the violence in St. Louis. In 2019, CBS declared the Missouri metropolis essentially the most harmful within the U.S., citing a murder price 10 occasions the nationwide common. For those who take heed to Grimeyy’s slim catalog, you’ll have a frontline perspective from a 62 Crip. He raps fatalistic tales of retaliation with uncooked emotion, naming a lifeless homie for each gun aimed on the opposition. That is ache music, PTSD music. Lean and Percocet will not be sufficient, so music has change into remedy.
Grimeyy primarily blew up along with his first launch, Slash Brothers, which was a joint tape with NWM Cee Murdaaa. Singles “No Cap” and “Useless Goofies” racked up hundreds of thousands of views/performs, however I’d argue that “Rockstar” is essentially the most affecting track on the album. Grimeyy balances dead-eyed menace with a heavy coronary heart. Reminiscing about throwing a frisbee and taking part in Xbox shouldn’t remind you of all the chums you misplaced in your youth. For Grimeyy, although, nostalgia is short-lived.
This month, Grimeyy dropped his solo debut, Grimeyy 2 Society. It’s the most effective rap albums of 2020, a refinement of all that made Splash Brothers so charming and unhappy. Although the Lil Child-assisted “Unfastened Screw” will most likely be the most important single, “Say Cheese” stays the strongest. That is Grimeyy displaying you all sides: the violence and ache, the battle and success, the lingering chance of extra violence. The record of the departed is tattooed on Grimeyy’s pores and skin, however he’s creating wealth now: “All I discuss is cash, dropped a bag on my tooth / They drop a bag in my metropolis, you’ll be lifeless in per week.” Hopefully, at some point quickly, the murder price drops dramatically in St. Louis. Possibly then Grimeyy received’t should look over his shoulder with every new buy.
AKAI SOLO – “Nebula”
Of late, Brooklyn drill had dominated a lot of New York’s rap protection. Whereas there are numerous proficient rappers inside that scene, their shadows have generally obscured a vibrant unbiased rap neighborhood exterior of it. 24-year-old Flatbush native AKAI SOLO belongs to that camp. For those who take pleasure in Billy Woods and Earl Sweatshirt, each whom Solo has collaborated with, SOLO ought to be in your Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp assortment, and many others. These are introspective and dense stream of consciousness raps influenced by DOOM and Def Jux. Allusions to anime discover their manner into each private and societal revelations. At occasions, his voice and supply remind me of a slower, barely extra sedate RZA. The bass in his voice and the conviction therein by no means wavers.
SOLO first garnered wider consideration with 2019’s Black Sand, his wonderful collaborative album with Pink Siifu. Since then, he’s launched 4 initiatives. Eleventh Wind, an eight-song EP that runs just below 20 minutes, is the most recent and probably the most compelling. SOLO has mentioned that is his most “accessible” undertaking, and by that, I believe he means direct. Living proof: “Nebula.” Over a murky, distorted piano loop and clipping percussion, Solo vows that he “can’t say issues with out utility anymore.” It’s the final monitor on the album, and it serves as a mission assertion for him shifting ahead.
Flo Milli – “Weak”
Alabama has been bereft of a mainstream rap star for years. Wealthy Boy’s experience ran flat after “Throw Some D’s” in 2007. Yelawolf has a loyal following, however his southern outlaw narratives have by no means been crossover hits. The late Doe B was killed in 2013 at 22 simply as he was gaining recognition exterior of Montgomery. Enter Flo Milli. “Nasty and trill” from Cellular, the 20-year-old has change into one of many largest rappers of 2020 by each metric.
Following the TikTok success of “Beef FloMix,” Flo Milli’s remix of Ethereal and Playboi Carti’s “Beef,” she launched a collection of more and more promising singles (e.g., “Within the Get together,” “Not Pleasant”). Most of them seem on her debut undertaking, this month’s Ho, why is you right here? Flo Milli raps like a hybrid of Nicki Minaj and Rico Nasty—each admitted influences—however that stylistic center floor between Barbie and Bratz doll is exclusive to her alone. On each track, she raps with Regina George ranges of swagger and sass. Each line comes with an eye-roll, a glare, or an inscrutable wink. She doesn’t endure fools, broke males, or hating girls gladly.
“Weak” is the most recent track from Ho, why is you right here? with one other impressed music video. Right here, Flo Milli inverts the historically male-lead entice narrative: she is the boss, and shirtless males depend each greenback. With or with out the video, “Weak” can also be one of many strongest songs on the undertaking. For these pining for the chipmunk soul of The Heatmakerz and “the previous Kanye,” the beat from J White Did It affords a superb trap-leaning replace. In each verses, Flo Milli dismisses potential romantic companions for every thing from mansplaining to being “in [their] emotions” with nonchalance and borderline disgust. Nevertheless, “Weak” succeeds most due to the hook, the place Flo Milli appears to rock from one line to the following: “They’ve been textin’ me all week / Simply let me be (Let me go) / Blowin’ me up, I’m tryna sleep / I ain’t your freak.” One take heed to “Weak,” and there’s no query why Flo Milli’s right here.
Lil Weirdo – “On My Line”
For some households, rap music is a ceremony of passage, the household enterprise. Such was the case with Lil Weirdo. His father produced for San Diego rappers all through Weirdo’s childhood. (In keeping with ModernRaps, his dad helped produce Damu’s “Hold It Actual”.) Regardless of solely rapping since 2017, Weirdo raps with the peace of mind of extra practiced friends. Just lately, it’s as if he’s tapped into the abilities of each rapper he heard in his father’s studio. His stream is relaxed however athletic, bolstered by the bass of his SoCal accent. He’s making a few of the greatest avenue rap from Linda Vista, the San Diego neighborhood patrolled by Rollin 60s Crips and LV13. Each single since December 2019’s “No Cosign,” which has over one million views, has been higher than the final.
“On My Line” is the most recent Lil Weirdo monitor to pop on YouTube, with practically 350Okay views since mid-June. It’s an amalgam of various eras of West Coast rap, a slap with the deep, woozy bass of Mobb Music, the ominous melodies of recent L.A., and the crushing, virtually hydraulic percussion of G-funk. It’s additionally the proper soundtrack for Weirdo’s cold-hearted rhymes. For him, enterprise and defending the enterprise takes precedent of all romance. He doesn’t wish to maintain palms or gradual dance. All through, Weirdo switches cadences at whim with out dropping the beat. He’s a “Pure.” If labels aren’t on his line but, they are going to be quickly.
Lojii – “Endurance”
Within the day-to-day trenches of grownup life, there’s a skinny line between the easy and profound. Typically, they’re one and the identical. Easy truths change into mantras, shields towards seemingly countless private and financial adversities. Some artists have a present for rendering these truths in phrases that resonate as a substitute of ringing hole. lojii is one among them.
The 30-year-old Philadelphia native has spent his temporary profession distilling the trials of maturity and unbiased rap life into easy but profound songs. His voice, low and deep and barely raspy, offers better weight to every syllable. His 2017 album Due Hire with producer Swarvy stays an affecting portrait of 99% life, an aural screenshot of detrimental checking account balances scored by manufacturing that splits the distinction between hip-hop and neo-soul. Even when roaches scale his empty pockets, although, lojii finds hope for a future the place rap pays the payments.
lojii’s 2020 album lo&behold doubles down on that hope as he realizes the import of persistence. In every track, he works on his psychological well being in real-time, forges a brand new defend towards the socioeconomic stresses of Black life in America, and the gradual ascent to rap stardom. “persistence” is the primary lo&behold track to obtain a video and the core of the album. Like the most effective lojii songs, no line is wasted. Every one confirms that “all it takes is persistence” to make it by means of every day and write one other verse.
To see our working record of the highest 100 biggest guitarists of all time, click on right here.
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