Gotti, Zoe, Boosie, etc.

Cocaine Music 2

Yo Gotti’s always been a sort of nomadic soul amongst pseudo-underground Southern rappers. Despite being from Memphis he never really got entrenched with the major rap forces there (someone else could probably fill in the background better than I) and he never really felt right at TVT, where he released two albums this decade but never fell in with the crunk era there. In the past year or so he started showing up pretty frequently on songs alongside Gucci (most notably on “Bricks”) and I started to wonder if he would see any boost in popularity while Gucci was away in jail. As far as I can tell that didn’t happen— if anything that boost went to OJ, who had an actual promo push and a single and shit.

In any event I still have no idea what’s going on with him because Cocaine Music is basically an album of songs that, based at least on the amount of “Free Gucci” chants, probably have been laying around for a bit, and in the first song he says that he isn’t signed. It’s a really good bunch of songs, too. I haven’t seen production credits but everything sounds like Zaytoven or FATBOI.

“Shoot Off”

Sometimes I feel like Gotti can seem a little detached, like he’s a little too comfortable playing the raspy stoner. “Shoot Off” has a really quick-moving beat so it forces Gotti to ratchet up his urgency and he raps for basically four minutes straight about deals he’s done and whatever, but it stands out for two reasons. One, he’s earned the cynical veteran role that he assumes here, and the indignant and simmering tone he raps in sets the tone for the tape as a whole. Secondly, it’s a surprisingly detailed and varied track as far as these things go with Gotti rapping at Gucci about his incarceration (my interpretation, at least) and about why he didn’t join a gang and about moving coke in Toshibas.

“Sold Out”

“Sold Out” is about selling all your drugs, and so Gotti tries his hand at Jeezy’s kingpin swagger-rap, and it actually works really well in the same way “Welcome Back” did, with the caveat that no one can really replicate the way Jeezy turns into Godzilla on some tracks. But this is still impressive, from the way it makes an overdone ploy— “Showtime, mic check, 1, 2/ *girl screams “I love you Gotti”*/ I love you, too”— exciting to the way its chorus, like the one on “Make the Trap Say Aye”, is almost like an original playground chant.

“Drum Play” (ft. All-Star)

This one flips the gun play conceit pretty coolly: “Gun play, gun play, you don’t want no gun play/ hit em with that chopper, make it sound like a drum play”. Then the first verse: “Drum play, drum play, bitch I got a hundred rounds/ shoot that bitch a hundred times I bet you make a hundred sounds/ Tommy Gun, Mac 11, we can make a drumline/ Hit his ass with one shot, I bet he pray a hundred times”. It goes on pretty much like that, and never gets tiring.

Gorilla Zoe’s disco AutoTune album

“I Got It” (ft. Big Block)

The one thing I’m taking away from the truly weird Don’t Feed Da Animals is something that I kind of suspected ever since “Hood Nigga”, and that’s that Gorilla Zoe has a pretty good and pretty unexpected ear for a catchy melody. A lot of the songs, like “I Got It”, have Zoe sing-rapping in this loopy lullaby cadence, and it’s not exactly always a great look but it makes for an interesting quasi-pop album I think, especially when Zoe is singing all nonchalantly about you “leaking red plasma”. Makes me wonder what his “inspiration” was, and if there’s anything to it beyond trend-hopping, and if it was just him getting caught up in the AutoTune Era, I wonder if he just lucked into these often great tracks or what. There’s a song called “Shit on Em” that’s a pretty graphic song about shitting on dudes but it’s pretty melodic. I guess lots of people hate the album but personally it leaves me with lots of interesting questions. Lots of them are about weed.

Superbad

“Sunshine” (ft. Webbie)

Mad late on this one I know but Boosie basically leaked his album right? I can’t recall ever seeing anything about T-Pain or Bobby V collabos, and Superbad had been floating around for a while as the name of his album. I sort of talked about this in my last Boosie post, but there is basically no trace of “Wipe Me Down” in the guy’s music anymore. Everything is either super-aggressive like the T-Pain joint that leads off the tape (“If you ain’t down with Boosie Boo/ Fuck y’all”) or the pensive, bluesy shit like on Da Beginning that’s like the best rap music around. “Sunshine” is a song about clothes, watches etc. but it’s still restrained, if not somber, and it gives the song a really earned feeling. Webbie, by the way, is an incredible rapper.

Streets Made Me

With the recession looking like rap’s new AutoTune, the game straight-up needs Boosie. His rap is basically blues music at this point, and I don’t think there’s anyone cutting through bullshit quite like him right now. His sad, mournful tracks— “Dirty World” from last year’s Da Beginning or “Life of Crime,” which Noz posted a few days ago— are pretty gut-wrenching, so much so that I wonder if dude’s actually doing alright. His songs about girls, cars, money, killing etc. sound to me to be borne out of so much anger and pain, like Boosie really wants to make a dude who can’t rock as much Coogi as him feel like the biggest pile of shit because of it.

This Streets Made Me tape isn’t as strong as Da Beginning (what mixtape is though, right??) but it has some really really serious tracks. I don’t have production credits on these, sorry.

“So Tired”

The back half of the tape really leans on his depressive shit, and “So Tired” is the most immediately arresting of these. To me, Boosie’s biggest strength is how soulful he is, and when he raps softly and calmly like he does on “So Tired” his voice sounds so weathered and emotive. When he starts singing he could almost be mistaken for a classic Delta blues singer, which really puts the AutoTuned emotion of Wayne and Kanye and Zoe (endeavors which i support, btw) into perspective. The beat here is this really dreary organ thing, just perfect.

“Got Something Fast”

For all everyone says about Boosie’s voice, I’ve never really heard anyone mention how versatile it is. If he could only rap in a seething rasp it would kind of dull the effect, and on “Got Something Eat” he kind of strikes a balance between the laconic drawl of songs like “So Tired” and the fire-spit of songs like “Wipe Me Down”. Backed by this sad, jazzy horn sample Boosie talks about shit that happens when you’re running around as a kid.

“Out Da Way”

There’s a line here that maybe goes along way towards explaining what’s going on with Boosie: “Niggas talkin shit but I just lost my grandma/ Bout to introduce you bitch-ass niggas to Rambo”. When this leaked a few weeks ago I was struck by how angry he sounds— “Thugged out and I love it, dawg/ Fuck around, Boosie turn your face to a Chuckie doll”. Gotta say as well that these reggae songs really vibe well with him.

“Please”
Apocalyptic is probably an overused adjective, but Boosie’s violent tracks really have that feeling to me. It’s hard to listen to them and not get this feeling like they’re fighting for their life down there (which I guess might be true)— when Boosie raps about violence he makes it sound like a necessity not a luxury.