Allow us to reintroduce ourselves: Our name is Rec-Room Therapy. Each week, we discuss recent hip-hop tracks.
Today, Fetty Waps inspires high school students to wake-and-bake; Meyhem Lauren and Action Bronson cook up something tasty; and Post Malone flexes.
Fetty Wap: “Wake Up”
On 4/20, Fetty Wap gave the world “Wake Up”, a song “for everyone that celebrates 4/20 all year but still passes that math test.” Or said he said via an inspirational statement that accompanied the song’s release. It’s sorta motivational anthem for high school graduates. And while Fetty Wap has posted a bunch of music online lately, “Wake Up” appears to be a full-fledged single. There’s a t-shirt to prove it, too.
PHELPS: Fetty Wap basically on his Jobs/Zuckerberg here: “I ain’t really trippin’ off school.”
I’m a tepid Fetty fan but the melodies are usually undeniable, he’s likable, and there’s nothing wrong with dropping “I Missed The Bus” 25th Anniversary Edition for the kids.
Whoever is doing the piano line definitely stayed in school for at least one week of elective music.
This is one of those moments when you want to write some sort of high-minded think piece about how “devastating this is to the cause of bettering American education,” but then you realize that global warming is real and Donald Trump could be president and then you’re like”let’s get Wiz Khalifa high” instead.
Fetty’s in a good place, actually. I think we’re thinking too much about a certain subset of rap right now, and that Fetty’s in the same lane as a Young MC or Tone Loc once were, except imagine what they and Delicious Vinyl could’ve done in the hashtag clickbait Youtube era. Amazing, right? Pop-ready cadences mxing with lyrics that have both alt-to-mainstream, plus universal and timeless appeal? There’s a lot to like here.
If we have Kendrick and Oddisee on the left, we have to balance that high-minded consciousness with something. I mean, wouldn’t it be funny if instead of Rae Sremmurd or whomever else from Atlanta, it was the return of “New York rap” via Desiigner and Fetty Wap that created that lane?
Surprisingly, I’m not mad at this at all.
CLYDE: Fetty Wap preach to dem yute!
Meyhem Lauren ft. Action Bronson: “Garlic and Oil”
Meyhem Lauren has benefited a good deal from the come-up of his buddy Action Bronson. With the exception of the Saab Stories EP, the tough-talking Queens native has appeared on every Bronsolino release. He’s gotten to travel to places like Morocco for tapings of “Fuck, That’s Delicious”. He’s even freestyled with Wayne Brady on account of their friendship. And, of course, when it comes to his own music, he can count on some Bam-Bam bars. Case in point: Last year’s “Bonus Round” and the more recently released “Garlic and Oil”. Both tracks are from Meyhem Lauren’s forthcoming Piatta D’Oro album for Fool’s Gold. “Garlic and Oil” was produced by A-Villa, but also credits DJ Shadow, most likely because of the prominent sample of Shadow’s 2002 single “Six Days.” And since we are talking about Meyhem Lauren, I am bound by honor to mention the time he eviscerated a Pitchfork review.
MARCUS: Meyhem Lauren is a rap superstar and I hope that him gaining acclaim aids Action Bronson in successfully creating the culinary-inspired Wu-Tang Master Chef clan of our dreams.
It’s funny. Bronson takes grief for sounding like a Ghostface clone, but Meyhem’s in the same clique and convincingly sounds like himself, and yet he isn’t the breakout star. This says everything about the music industry in 2016.
Back on point, Lauren’s voice percolates in the mix of this track so well. His voice sounds timeless, yet still like it was ripped out of a posse cut on a Large Professor album.
“I keep my bank accounts full and my nuts empty.”
Like, I don’t think there’s a lane for that in mainstream rap, but for the wilded out world of Youtube, boutique cable TV outlets and global dance festivals, he’s a PERFECT fit. What’s more intriguing than this is that there’s probably a ton of other folks that Bronson can grab as well if he wants to make this a *thing.* Personally, I’m here for chunky dudes from the Tri-State area rocking festival stages and making TV shows where they eat rare foods. Bronson’s the entertainment rap game Ari Gold and definitely deserves an Entourage.
Here’s to hoping this album goes far towards making this ideal occur.
CLYDE: Fuck, that’s delicious.
I’ve always appreciated Bam Bam’s beat selection and sampling a master sampler is a meta stroke of genius here.
“I snap my fingers and there’s a cheese plate.” We should all be so lucky. PASS THE CHARCUTERIE BOARD!
PHIL: I can’t hate on Meyhem Lauren. He plays the role of a sorta lovable, tough-talking knucklehead to a T. At the same time, you can’t ignore that the dude is thoroughly an everyman talent. He’s certainly got enough charisma to steal a song with feature (see: “Falconry”, where he lays down probably the best verse on the entirety of Mr. Wonderful), but there’s just not enough to hold down an entire album or show on his own. One of the reasons Respect the Fly Shit stands as his best work is that it’s basically an extended pose cut.
There’s the right amount of Meyhem Lauren to Bam-Bam on “Garlic and Oil”, but the song never clicks. I’ve listened this it ten times and I can’t tell you a thing about it. If you’re going for this sort of breezy, unstructured production, you gotta bring more energy than this.
Post Malone: “Go Flex”
Post Malone is currently on tour with Justin Bieber, but the “White Iverson” dude has made time to release a new single. It has the wildly original title of “Go Flex”. In an interview with Zane Lowe, he said that the song is “a little bit of everything that I loved. It would start with the guitar. Then we throw the 808s over it, the little swags over it – make it pop, make it hit.”
PHELPS: This sounds like he got high and listened to those white dudes who remade “Boyz N The Hood” then woke up all “I dreamt up this dope ass melody” and recorded it blunted on Bieber’s bus. Is there an FM channel low enough on the dial showcasing this lighter than a hummingbird feather reggae-ish rip off stuff?
CLYDE: As much as I wanna hate on this little motherfucker for trying to look like a lost member from Bone Thugs n Harmony, the dude has a knack for melody and these haunting, sing-songy catchy-ass hooks, like some Nelly-Wap Frankenstein monster. Throwing that acoustic riff in there is as genius as it is cynical. I think he actually has enough talent to take him passed this trap-beat phase rap still(!) finds itself in but how can someone younger than Justin Bieber be so damn world-weary: “They help me forget that this world is so cold / I don’t even know what I’m chasing no more”
Son, it gets way harder than this.
MARCUS: Post Malone deserved to be the superstar white K-Ci Hailey that black K-Ci and Jodeci could never quite become. However, I don’t think that his A & R’s would know a Bobby Womack single NOT with The Gorillaz in tow if it bit them in the ass (or covering a Stevie Wonder ballad), and I don’t his management team has the savvy, cash or PR to create the perception that he was having a relationship with Miley Cyrus-as-Mary J. Blige.
All that being said, instead we get this dude with a Marlboro-aping logo touring with and choking out Justin Bieber. Fitting in that vein, he’s basically just Future with enunciation on “Go Flex,” which I’m not mad at, but it feels like a giant waste. There’s also this idea that he’s for the population of boring flyover state people who will never see a Future show ever come to their town, but the white guy wearing white clothes smokes the same dope and drinks the same promethazine that Future does, just less of it in order to remain appealingly coherent and suburban parent-digestible.
I mean, the idea of Post going into that Kacey Musgraves, Florida Georgia Line, Everlast and Uncle Kracker territory that leads him back to the mainstream standing next to Taylor Swift seems likely to me, and that’s sad. This guy is legitimately talented and could’ve had that lane plus grabbed tons of crossover credibility in the interim and been an artist for all people. But, we do get this song, “White Iverson” and the image of a choked out Justin Bieber instead. Is that a fair trade? Hmmm…