Written by Maxwell Cavaseno
People have jobs, romances, hobbies, personal crusades and subsequently, sometimes they doesn’t see the necessity of trying to dig around Lil Silk’s Ask.FM page; finding rare freestyles of Slew Dem Mafia in a kitchen somewhere; spending an hour crying because digitaldripped.com went up to the URL heaven taking many rare YG freestyles with it. It’s a tedious, painful task that costs one’s dignity and ensures death from computer screen radiation. It’s not a wonder why so very few put themselves through the torture of endless rap nerd archeology to find something new and remarkable.
So let me to show you some of the smaller rap diamonds that have emerged from the cosmic mess of Atlanta. I’m sure plenty of you’re waiting with bated breath for the hot new Future leak or Migos remix, but these artist deserve your ears and are probably just a bit too drowned by all the blog-bait fodder types for you to have heard ‘em.
Yung LA – F.R.F.R.
Ever since the day when Leland Austin’s shrieks of “I ain’t did shit bruh!” rang out from computer speakers across America, the former Futuristic poster-boy has been a subdued presence. Last year’s “Whoooop” was a subdued return to form, but this slab of Will-A-Fool produced heat does a magma-like creep while L.A abandons his trademark voice for a post-Migos bellowing obnoxiously about how he’s “Crawling like the spider, hoe!” Maybe substituting J-Money for Quavo is a bit obvious a switch-up for a guy best known for a particular brand of cartoon trap nonsense. But he manages to sell the record with an energetic performance that gives hope for the fallen star to ascend back to prior glory.
Rich The Kid – Ghost
While everyone gravitated to “Jumping Like Jordan,” which bears the distinct ‘honor’ of being converted into a star-laden attempt at a hard-hitter (Haaaan!), Rich The Kid’s best song might be his least attention grabbing. Rich still feels slight, most of his songs lacking any defined presence, but “Ghost,” a gem from the premier guide to the current Atlanta underground Lobby Runners finds him working with a bit of extra elasticity. Nimbly ducking and dodging around a lumbering Zaytoven instrumental that feels like some re-purposed soundtrack for a Japanese video game themed around a talking woodland creature; Rich blurts out about escaping to Tennessee and women calling him master with goofy enthusiasm. It’s not an immediate banger, but the sound of someone wood-chopping away at discovering an identity, and that’s not without its own charms.
Jose Guapo – Getting Paid
While his friends in Travis Porter have now become practically inert, Jose Guapo seems to be moving too fast for anyone to pin down. “Fuck The Rap Game” was a welcome comeback hit for the Rich Kidz alumni who’d struck gold with “Guaponese,” but whose 2013 output showed exploring new styles and palling around with other southern outsiders in Young Thug and Speaker Knockerz. “Getting Paid” is yet another example of something seemingly obvious going hideously wrong. What started as a simple, serviceable rap banger starts goes awry, as Guapo bellows out “It’s my court, bitch!” while his flow starts to run off-track. And by the time he starts screeching out about sofas and loafers on the next verse, one wonders how the bright-eyed kid on “Patna Dem” got himself so twisted.
Skippa Da Flippa (feat. Migos) – Wells Fargo
Armed with a vocal tone reminiscent of Busta Rhymes with an aggressive chop, Skippa Da Flippa—formerly “Migos Skip”—serves as the first of what could be the start of Migos attempt to dominate the landscape after their lucrative 2013 run. “Wells Fargo,” yet another Lobby Runners standout, Skippa enlists his patrons to do their usual work and let him get his shine on as well. Quavo chants and storms like a town crier sweating out the bubonic plague, whilst Skippa and Takeoff’s aggressive streams of bars sound like machine guns rattling over the track. Perhaps the track’s greatest gift is that Offset cannot be heard, perhaps too busy with such difficult tasks as getting his family into more Twitter beef or buying them more weird steam-punk cosplay gear.
Johnny Cinco – No Choices
A former member of DJ Pretty Boy Tank mainstays The Hellacoppa Kids, Johnny Cinco’s been gaining some traction with his “They Gave The Wrong Nigga Money,” a slab of rambly Auto-Tuned babble that sounds like a homeless cyborg with their best Tony Montana impersonation. But “No Choices” a highlight of Cinco’s own Cinco mixtape, as well as a strange addition to various mixtapes belonging to bigger Atlanta stars, just defies logic. Like Chief Keef at his most mush-mouthed, Cinco bubbles and froths about teachers, public transport and leaving all of that in the past, as he occasionally breaches out of the codeine sea murk.