Friday, March 4, 2016
WE CAN'T HELP IT IF WE'RE FROM FLORIDA
Miami is rap's Potemkin village. Every year Urban Beach Week grabs dubious headlines. Ocean Avenue and the MacArthur Causeway make good backdrops in music videos. But outside of some middlemen and clubland hustlers, there aren't a lot of real moves being made. In The Book Of Luke, Luther Campbell credits himself with creating the infrastructure of Southern rap; true or not, everyone knows Atlanta has long eclipsed Miami as the beating heart and production center of the South. These days Miami is really just a playground for rap's ruling class.
Broward County, Miami's neighbor to the north, has produced the two most promising talents of late: 1WayFrank and the folk hero known as Kodak Black. Hailing from Pompano Beach, Gank Gaank practices the rap&bullshit robot soul we've heard recently from Skooly and YFN Lucci, and which T-Pain doesn't get enough credit for pioneering. Vocally he most resembles Ralo. I'm happy that rappers are now singing their hearts out, because as I grow older, I realize hot bars can't warm my cold heart. This shit got me crying tattooed tears of pain and love.
People think Miami is a tropical wastehole of Brazilian buttlifts and face cannibals, but those are insulting stereotypes. There's also Sabado Gigante and occasional rap music. Carol City Mafia, who released one of my favorite songs of last year (presumably also one of Denzel Curry's favorites), have followed up with Heart Of The Streets, now at a whopping 87 plays on DatPiff. It's street-rap of unexpectedly polished songwriting, with mannerisms ranging from earthbound Goodie spiritualism to melodrama and the obligatory ride-out music. The group has compelling presence on mic—most importantly, they actually rap like they're from Miami—but suffer from an unfortunate affinity for strained similes and corny metaphors (And we comin with them tools / No screwdriver / Leave a nigga wet, now he a scuba diver). The best track might be "Woolin," a posse cut featuring Gula Woo flowing inna Kingpin Skinny Pimp style. More contemplative souls might like "Fell In Love With It." Hit the booty club, now I love strippers: now them's lyrics I can relate to.
Sped-up and fast raps over classic breaks never get old, especially if they are about butts. DJ Smooth continues in the Miami Bass tradition, enlisting the legend DJ Chipman for "Put Your Weight Down," a song that pays homage to butts large and small. DJ Smooth seems partial to Team Little Booty, and while I don't necessarily agree, I respect a man who is willing to buck mainstream convention.
This is RAP MUSIC HYSTERIA! broadcasting live from a melting beach chair. Over and out.