The UTM writers pick a handful of the most lit and intriguing tracks from the past 30(ish) days.
Big Shaq – Mans Not Hot
Well this escalated quickly, didn’t it? From a YouTube web series via a quick Fire in the Booth, Michael Dapaah’s Big Shaq character has taken the world by storm.
It was expected to be a big hit in the U.K. because everyone knows that one guy who spits ridiculous bars off the top of his head for laughs (s/o UTM contributor Mark Palmer), so it’s #relatableAF. Take a look at the video for ‘Mans Not Hot’ and you’ll see the likes of DJ Khaled and Lil Yachty embracing Big Shaq like he’s been about for years, which seems crazy looking at it from this side of the pond.
The familiarity (and consequent success) of Dapaah’s Big Shaq character knows no bounds, and it lends to the fuzzy feeling you get seeing an underdog succeed, even if it is only for a brief moment.
Future & Young Thug – Patek Water (ft. Offset)
‘Patek Water’ is the most obvious banger of choice from Super Slimey – the sneaky collaborative project from Future and Young Thug, two veterans when it comes to making sometimes incomprehensible, autotune-drenched rap music and pissing off old hip hop heads. Unlike their previous joint effort to revive pop-R&B duets circa 2009 with ‘Relationship’, the DY/Rex Kudo/Southside production sees them in more familiar territory – and they excel all the more for it.
Future’s at peak performance when it comes to his hook game, so much so that we’d be tempted to forgive him for the majority of his self-titled slogfest earlier this year. Most importantly, however, it’s got Thugga paying homage to one of rap’s greatest adlibbers. No, it’s not the Migos, although Offset guests on the track and provides us with the wondrous mental image of him wearing actual baguettes around his neck. It’s clearly a tribute to Luigi of Super Mario and dabbing fame, with his iconic “OH YEAH” catchphrase popping up thrice every chorus. Thugga takes the L for that one – and the L stands for ‘winner’.
Yaeji – Drink I’m Sippin On
Our continued crush on 88Rising sees us turn our attention to Yaeji this month. Yaeji is already getting attention as a rising house artist, but it’s way too early to box her into a genre, given that ‘Drink I’m Spiin On’ reveals that she has a far wider musical scope.
You don’t need to be proficient in Korean to be constantly repeating it’s airy hook – “geugae aniya“ – after listening to the track, proving the addictiveness of Yaeji’s vocals that meet somewhere between singing and rap. Equally alluring is the instrumental, bass beat bounces and synth swirls are things we’ve all heard before, but rarely in this way, as it feels super warm and instantly memorable.
BADBADNOTGOOD – I Don’t Know (Feat. Samuel T. Herring)
BBNG have made lounge music cool again with the help of Future Islands’ Samuel T. Herring. ‘I Don’t Know’ is a sultry, glamour-faded affair that glides around the remnants of the Rat Pack era, carrying Herring’s mellifluous voice all the way there and back to the present day.
Herring brings the classic lyrical themes along with him, miring in lost love, friends and family, but it’s really the instrumentation from the BBNG boys that capture the feeling of those lost golden days. This from a band who started out covering Odd Future, it really goes to show that they have a wonderful breadth of musical influences – far more than any old-hat Rat Pack lover might want to give them credit for.
Antwon – Shawty Wanna
As is typical for a mixtape, Antwon’s Sunnyvale Gardens is a loose mix of ideas that opposes cohesion, given the mixed quality status of the mixtape, the highlights are even more obvious, especially its opener ‘Shwaty Wanna’.
Amongst skittish hi hats and ominous sounds that occasionally allows room for a cute squeal, Antwon drops hilarious bars that focus in on his nerdier side, from the outset he mentions anime Sailor Moon and we’re instantly on board. But the biggest chuckle is reserved for the pure imagery of this line “She a elven princess, she slay bitches/We cosplay too, ’cause I look like Grimace.”
Ro Ransom – ‘Friends With Benefits’
Have you ever tried to coordinate phone sex with somebody who lives in Australia? Ro Ransom claims its pretty difficult on ‘Friends With Benefits’, a slick cut from his new mixtape Momentum – and with a 15 hour time difference between the country and his home turf of New York it’s not hard to see why. What’s also evident, however, is that he clearly doesn’t struggle as much when it comes to cruising through an icy R&B banger with finesse.
Besides from the obvious sexual implications of the phrase, Ransom also spins the term ‘friends with benefits’ to air his grievances at those who only want to be chummy with him whilst he’s on the come-up. Gliding over a hazy beat that’s constantly shifting moods and adding textures, he oozes so much elegance that even when he’s telling you to do one it’s sophisticated – with the line “fuck you for life with a ribbon tied to the sentiment” serving up the perfect mix of confrontational and classy.