Rec-Room #155: Red Rugs
Rec Room Therapy | Jul 25, 2016 | 12:30PM |

Allow us to reintroduce ourselves: Our name is Rec-Room Therapy. Each week, we discuss recent hip-hop tracks.

Today, Metro Boomin and Future give 21 Savage a boost; De La Soul don royalty capes; and we hear Kacy Hill roar.

Our distinguished panel consists of Getting Over’s Marcus Dowling, Hip Hop Hooray’s Leah Manners, Joshua Phelps, Austin Mic Exchange’s Aaron Miller, and Phil R.

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21 Savage & Metro Boomin ft. Future: “X”

Last week, Atlanta street rapper 21 Savage (aka Shayaa Joseph) paired with producer (and fellow Georgian) Metro Boomin to release the nine-song EP Savage Mode. Like most of 21 Savage’s output, it’s filled with fairly grim, violent stuff. There are no guests, except for the track “X”, which features Future. Unsurprisingly, it is the lead single.

PHELPS: I would probably have to be on a lot of drugs to enjoy this hellscape at a party, but when basking in the glowing embers of a week’s worth of hateful rhetoric meant to incinerate any modicum of progress our country has made in 150 years, this ain’t so bad!

I’m not always a fan of laconic, talking-type rap – didn’t really dive deep into any Awful stuff – but here I have to consider the source. 21 Savage has suffered more than enough brutalism to deliver on this collection of bleak bedtime stories.

Future tones it down accordingly, and I can never get enough of Metro’s lullabies for the paralyzed (sorry, Josh Homme).

AARON: This is the most basic track of 2016 so far.

LEAH: Narcissist misogynists around the world rejoice! You’ve got an anthem!

MARCUS: Again with these “law of diminishing returns” raps.

We’re at this point where I think it’s safe to say that these next wave Atlanta trappers are all rappers who didn’t come into the industry with any sort of plan for, well, being really good at their craft or being in any way sustainable doing this.

This is like “terrible 1981 Italo disco” of the disco era of modern rap. Beyond making hits for Donna Summer, it’s entirely possible that there’s an Italian female singer who was on the level of 21 Savage that got some heat from Giorgio Moroder so he could make a check.

Happy for Metro Boomin, sad for the universe.

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De La Soul: “Royalty Capes”

De La Soul have a new record out in a month. It is called and the Anonymous Nobody… You may recall that the trio used Kickstarter to fund the effort, and they surpassed their goal of $110,000 in under ten hours. That influx of cash may held explain (in part) the line-up of guests set to appear on the record:  David Byrne, Damon Albarn, Snoop Dogg, Usher, Little Dragon, Estelle, Pete Rock, 2 Chainz, and Jill Scott. Their latest single, “Royalty Cap” is straight De La, though.

AARON: This album is going to rule.

These dudes still put a needle sharp point on the hip-hop ethos.

Why are you here? Are you doing it right? Where is your catalogue? Does it hold up?

These questions are pretty much the backbone of De La’s writing style and they carry mad weight. Plus, they have a smooth-ass delivery like that one uncle with the good job who can magically keep his white sneakers clean as fuck for an unreasonably long time. Like, years. He doesn’t clean them so much as he never gets dirt on them.

This song is good. De La even does dated better than most. The spoken word adornments seem corny until the message sinks in. Well played.

There is composition vs. production right here. I feel like there is a lot of music going on in this mellow little joint. All of these little overlapping melodies behind the “Spartacus” horns. Solid.

Every time a rap track like this gets pushed to the bottom in favor of Trap Lords, I wonder if the Shadowy Conspiracy Against Hip-Hop is true.

Name me a single group in hip hop that has at least three perfect albums, five more that are varying degrees of pretty good and only really fail by standards they set for themselves, and one on the way that looks to be a career defining closer for the ages.

Is there anybody even working right now that has nine quality albums?

Kanye ain’t got nine albums.

Hov? Barely.

Is there any group out there that almost no other rappers talk shit about.

How long will Big Sean have to struggle rap to get where these guys were at in 1996?

LEAH: I’m so stoked for this album.

This track feels comfortable. The voices of Pos and Dave are familiar, expansive, and relaxed.

Their trademark sideways references suit the sax loop perfectly. I’m hyped to hear what they do with the features. Just how much better can they get?

MARCUS: In speaking with Oddisee and Black Milk in the past six months, I can assuredly tell you that they’re both believing that this record is going to make them step up their games.

What’s crazy is that I don’t necessarily think that De La really, like, tried all that hard here. That’s not to say they’re, like… bad… or something; it’s just more like, “Punch in the clock, another day of waking up and being that dope.”

God, hearing Pos and Dave again. God. So good. So so so good.

I don’t necessarily know if De La can raise $110k again, but wow. Maybe I’d there’s some sort of old rap dude tribunal that can get very, very dope rappers to part rap fans with their money on a yearly basis. Like, I know that’s kinda Mass Appeal’s business plan, but… something more indie, maybe?

Gosh, is this just so good. Playing again…

AARON: Dude, I think they got like $600k. It’s on.

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Kacy Hill: “Lion”

There are a number of people of Kanye’s “G.O.O.D. Music” that do not rap. Kacy Hill is one of such people. The 21-year-old, L.A.-via-Arizona singer met ‘Ye as a performance artist and dancer on the Yeezus tour, and was subsequently signed. You may remember her from “90210” off her labelmate Travis Scott’s Rodeo. She just released a new single called “Lion”, which is slated to appear on a forthcoming full-length debut later this year.

LEAH: She’s got a great voice, and her role on “90210” was key, but maybe I’m too hardened for her solo work. I’m seeing raves from fans, but it sounds like EDM Enya to me.

AARON: Sappy songs about positive things are not my motherfucking jam, OK?

This is straight milktoast.

A plush toy lion being snuggled by a little-too-old kid with crippling social anxiety.

Instantly forgettable.

And am I weird for being mildly offended at the hokey fake Japanese/Asian/Eastern melody that drives the verses? It’s hacky stuff.

The lyrics read like barely there gibberish. The song has two verses…four and five lines long and a meaningless bridge.

The whole thing is an incredibly strained analogy. A song about strength (?) that comes off as whiny, selfish, and somehow codependent about I don’t even know what.

If I was twenty years old and coming down off molly and running late work at the mall, this song might make me feel something.

Out.

MARCUS: Kanye loves shit more in theory than in execution. I mean, do we all remember his fascination with Mr. Hudson?

It’s even worse when you know what Kanye was kinda going for but, like, his team isn’t plugged in enough. Or people think he’s not cool enough to work with on something that won’t make them the money that an actual Kanye song would when he reaches out to them.

Kanye loves Bjork and Sia.

Kanye loves Fatma Al-Qadiri.

Kanye got some random girl from Arizona to approximate the venn diagram space between Bjork, Sia and Fatima Al-Qadiri because I’m fairly certain that all three of them aren’t going to work with Yeezus without it being something that’s specifically a Kanye song.

God, this is really really bad.

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