This song is one of my favorite Hus tracks — the way it starts off so straightforwardly, & almost underwhelming before picking up momentum, then the pause, then it picks up again, “i got a gorgeous face / but tell me whats the use of a gorgeous face when my heart is crying the blues,” building to a manic intensity — ‘in the truck in something stupid dumb disgusting cousin’ etc internal rhymes. Jazz-like in the way it makes an organized structure, the general outline of his verse, feel like it finds its shape naturally, free-flowing. The rap is written as if you’re actually following an internal monologue, the way he says “I don’t know which way to go,” then pauses in his verse, as if he’s not sure which way to go philosophically, or maybe with his life, or how to deal w/ the stresses of the situation hes in.
His style is like this blend of Raekwon’s abstract but dense lyrics, Ghost’s strained holler of a delivery. But most key to his appeal is this subtle touch of ODB-style mania, this uncertainty about where his raps are going to end up on a continuum of controlled skill vs. crazy character, his persona irreverent towards his craft, the muscular effortless way he drops lines like “focus on ya fedi hope ya ready man the cops is comin / slappin on ya stop ya runnin twistin out the box is thumpin / otha niggas kissin and humpin im whippin and dumpin / to ya uncle and ya cousin for bucks im hustlin / in the truck in something stupid dumb disgustin cousin,” while hinting at a chaotic nonsensical undercurrent that gives it energy, threatening to just push him totally over the edge at any moment. Its this tension more than anything else, this feeling that hes a live wire threatening to explode instantaneously, that gives his persona and songs so much power and significance. Theres this feeling of torrential chaos that just surrounds this all, the kind of thing (although obviously many levels of significance removed) that you would get from the sense of Pac’s uncontrolled motion towards death. It’s the same kind of on-edge embrace of the dark side that made Gucci such a magnetic figure the past few years.
I also feel the way individual lines give you such a powerful idea of the kind of person Husalah “is” (meaning Husalah the rap icon, not Husalah the person who records as Husalah the rap icon…although thats an entirely diff blurry line here) Its this artful sense of saying something without being all fucking explicit about what message you’re trying to drop. I know this is like art appreciation 101, but for some reason this kind of shit is still super-underrated by rap fans today who conflate ‘values’ with ‘sounds like UGK.’ Its the way Hus’ craziness feels real & lived in that helps confuse meaning — to what degree is he being ironic when he says his heart is crying the blues (such a heavyhanded cliche in anyone else’s hands!).
“it aint the first time that ive appeared in the physical / my father was a genius characterized as a criminal / my rhymes is subliminal, inspired by my coke dreams / my life seem bright but its as dark as a dope fiends” [gunshot]
Interesting, I agree in part that it’s Husalah’s real sense of urgency in the songs he recorded leading up to his jail time that really made him stand out. From what I’ve heard it sounds like he hasn’t lost his edge since getting released from prison and that is a very very good thing.
been agreed on