Southern Rap is Awesome

I was going to use today’s entry to talk about more great first half 2007 albums, but I’ve decided to put that off to talk about something near and dear to my heart: southern rap music. More importantly, southern rap music about shooting things and flipping bricks. Although I can shoot things, chances are I will never sling a single O, so southern rap let’s me live vicariously through its colorful metaphors and massive beats. Actually, no, it isn’t even really about that either. It comes down to one thing…

Southern rap is really fucking fun to listen to.

While some people like to sing the praises of so-called “intelligent” rap acts such as Common (YAWN) or Lupe Fiasco (Zzzz), I prefer to champion the quick wits and endless drive of guys like Lil’ Wayne. The man known as Weezy F. Baby is hugely entertaining and seemingly has a new mixtape in circulation every week. His basic subjects aren’t anything you haven’t heard about before– guns, money, clothes, coke, women– but it’s his level of charisma and cunning lyrical barbs that make him such a joy to listen to. On the best mixtape I’ve heard so far in 2007, Weezy’s Da Drought 3, he spits nothing but pure flame. On “Upgrade,” which takes a beat that was going to waste on the Beyonce track, “Upgrade You,” Wayne kills it with some particularly nasty bars:

“It’s a new game and I’m the coach like Avery
Leave it to the flow we gettin’ dough like the bakery
I don’t really want to but these niggas makin’ me
Put a mothafucker on ice like the Male Leafs
And that’s a hockey team
And I ain’t on no hockey team
But I’m a champion
Where’s the fuckin’ Rocky theme?
Damn, rest in peace Apollo Creed
I’m a monster
Everyday is Halloween”

Nothing deep, just typical gangsta rapper bravado, right? Right. But it’s how Wayne says it, and the means by which he conveys it that makes it so goddamn good. Shit, on “Ride for My Niggas” Wayne cranks out “When I was five my favorite movie was the Gremlins/ I know that ain’t got shit to do with this but I thought that I should mention.” That is brilliance, people. It’s those type of utterly bizarre non-sequitur moments that only help to lift Wayne above the glut of rappers down south. Wayne isn’t the most talented rapper I’ve ever heard, but his ridiculous work ethic is highly admirable. His music has a fucking ton of replay value, and there is almost no o I’d rather listen to when hanging out having a few drinks.

The only southern rapper that I love as much as Wayne is the Snowman, Young Jeezy. This man has an extraordinarily lazy flow, limited lyrical subjects, and he’s kind of a chunky gomer. Although Jeezy has all of this going against him, he has something that most rappers will never have– charisma. An ungodly amount of it. Oh, and he has amazing production behind him. And ad libs. An endless supply of ad libs.

Jeezy and his cohorts Blood Raw and Slick Pulla are part of collective known as USDA, or the United Streets and Dopeboys of America. Thanks to this group, I can no longer look at a steak in the grocery store without laughing and spouting off an ad lib like “JEAH” or “HA HAAA.” Their 2007 mixtape, Cold Summer has sold like a trillion copies, despite the fact that Pitchfork Media tells me it sucks. Indeed it does sport some limited production and Jeezy’s partners are not great emcees– but this shit is so hot. It’s brainless fun that is a blast to listen to while driving around. I’ve been hooked on this mixtape ever since it hit the shelves.

But there is more to Cold Summer than boisterous jams and ad libs! This mixtape is inspirational! And educational! On “Focus,” USDA tells us to… well… focus. That is invaluable advice to anyone out there trying to get things done, whether it be at work or in their personal life. On “Get it Up” we are told of the value of a hard days work. On “Throw This Money” we learn of the importance of demeaning women by telling them to shake their ass while we make it rain money on them. And on sex jams “Pam” and “Quickie” I truly came to learn the importance of having a fuck buddy that’s into having sex in a pinch. One that will even let me leave my Nikes on and run trains on her. But perhaps most important of all, Blood Raw and Slick Pulla taught me how to stay jumpin’ off the dresser like Ric Flair and stretch dames out like Big John Stud.

Okay, so yeah, this shit is party rap through and through. But that doesn’t make it any less significant than backpack rap or the “socially aware” shit that so many hip hop nerds like to tout while looking down on other forms of rap. It’s a variation on a genre. One that is necessary. It’s a fucked up world out there and we need to have fun. That is why southern rap is awesome. Hey, a guy can’t listen to Wolf Eyes all day.



~ by theoberlander on July 26, 2007.

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