PCP: Freshmen

Monotony Monday #9 – Moronoic, Maybe Not

Kodak Black & 21 Savage: Freshmen Track Stars

The short of it: Once the backpack comes off, these two young stars have more to offer than their outlandish behavior and reputation.

Aight, I gotta start this off by saying I’m not a backpacker. Sure, maybe I used to be more on the side of suburban white kid rap (horrorcore and the spirituallyricalmiracle), but then I realized how much good music there was once you stopped reflexively hating on anything outside your box. I came to realize that artists like Hopsin are more of a failure of potential rather than a guidepost of good hip-hop. And I found out artists like Future can put out some of my favorite tracks and projects (Monster is Future’s greatest work, @ me son).

So the XXL Freshmen are always fun for me to see– I can get behind veterans of the scene sneaking in, and I’m interested in seeing what talent I didn’t know about made it in.

G Herbo, finally. Denzel Curry, Dave East, good for them. Desiigner, aw hell yeah, got a weird soft spot for him. Dicky probably deserves it for his honesty and virality. Yachty and Uzi Vert been shakin’ up the game, aight, and .Paak is blowing up.

That leaves Kodak and 21, two artists that have long left a bitter taste in my mouth. Kodak for his history of dumb crimes and violence, 21 for his overly deadpan expression and “issaknife” debacle.

Two songs cycled up on Pandora recently, and I begrudgingly started to warm up to these two.

Kodak’s feature with A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie (who I also don’t dig, partially because of the obtrusiveness of his name, partially out of loyalty to Boogie) got me. ABWDH’s melodies lured me in, and Kodak’s grizzled pronunciation sealed the deal.

Something about his tight lipped delivery worked with the production to even let me look past his terrible “I’m the shit, I’m fartin'” line to appreciate one of my favorite closers to a verse this year:

She call me daddy / But I ain’t her muh’fuckin’ father

Meanwhile, 21 Savage won me with his song “X” with Future. In the track, 21 says with a straight tone, no inflection or slowing:

Hit her with no condom / had to make her eat a Plan B

Childish Gambino has a similar line, but he offers this deep shame along with the admission:

“There any breakage in that Trojan?” / She see what she wanna see / So I make her take Plan B in front of me

Now, this isn’t a direct comparison between the two or some criticism about how hard or soft they seem. It’s a matter of approach– and 21’s is, well, savage. It’s flat, cold, straight. It’s a delivery that could be either completely untrained or terrifyingly trained. It’s a feral dog that wants blood or a trained dog coming for the jugular. Either way, it’s got me barking for more.



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