On paper, #ZayDidIt sounds like something plucked from my Rap Wet Dreams in 2011. A Trouble mixtape produced entirely by Zaytoven might still turn heads in 2015 if Trouble didn't spend a good portion of the tape airing out his struggles with low T*. A renaissance of scowl-rap looked inevitable in the wake of Flockaveli, but the movement came to a halt once Flocka decided he was more Electric Daisy Carnival than 171A. Hit me up to read my thinkpiece on The Death of Anger, I'm out in front of Wet Willies slangin gourds, bean pies, and edutaining literature.
Zaytoven been relevant for years, so it's only natural that he's starting to be taken for granted: vanguard turnt new orthodoxy is the ultimate symptom of success. But Zay's still got the capacity to surprise, albeit in subtler ways than the cranial realignments he and Gucci handed out like demerits in their collaborative heyday. "U Ain't Street" continues the shambling downbeat blues moves Zay explored on Future's "Peacoat" and Gucci's "Decapitated," wherein he tickles the ivories with all the languor of an alcoholic ex-prodigy resigned to playing Beale Street bars before sparse crowds of fannypackers. Zay deconstructs his signature sound to the edge of sloppiness, sloshing piano licks around like an action painter with a brush dipped in Actavis. Almost makes me forget that I can't stand the blues.
Will Zay ever gratify himself with a Donuts-style star turn? I could do without the rapping on this track, which ranges from mediocre to terrible, the nadir being B Green's audition for the role of Southern ASAP Ferg. Only true sadboys like Gucci and Future can turn Zaytoven's tears into wine.
*Not a rapper