Where You Been?: January 2020
Posted: by The Editor
Where You Been? is a monthly column where Michael Brooks highlights his favorite rap and hip hop releases. This month features new music from prolific Detroit rapper Sada Baby, viral sensation 645AR, an interview with artist Corey Purvis, and much more.
Sada Baby – Brolik
When does Sada Baby sleep? The prolific Detroit rapper has already dropped more new music in January than most rappers release in an entire year, starting things off with the excellent Brolik mixtape. Released exclusively through DatPiff, Brolik perfectly blends Sada Baby’s energetic delivery and affinity for off-the-wall pop culture references with booming production and a menacing swagger. Sada Baby appears to have no intentions on becoming a huge superstar, his singular approach to rapping won’t likely grant him any traction on the Billboard Hot 100 and the majority of his music isn’t available on streaming platforms like Spotify or Apple Music, keeping his music exactly where it’s meant to be heard, the streets.
Lil Wayne — Funeral
There was a period of time in the 2000s when Lil Wayne announced he was the best rapper alive and he was absolutely right. Unfortunately, the previous decade gave no sort of inclination that he aspired to hold on to that title. It brings me great pleasure to announce that Weezy is back (well, sort of) with the release of Funeral, Lil Wayne’s thirteenth studio album (and best in a very long time.) Sure, Funeral isn’t without its flaws, but there are very few rappers as exhilarating as Lil Wayne when he’s completely dialed in. Just listen to Wayne zig-zag his way through “Mahogany” and “Mama Mia” if you have any doubts whether or not he’s still got it.
Road Runna — “Show Me Sumn”
Road Runna is one of many talented figures from the bubbling Carolina scene, alongside artists like PG Ra and J Billz, who have been cranking out hit after hit without ever getting their proper due. “Show Me Sumn” finds him linking up once more with the Carolina’s go-to producer Jetsonmade who provides a booming, almost cartoonish sounding beat that Road Runna effortlessly glides across.
Bktherula — Love Santana
Atlanta rapper Bktherula had a minor-hit last year with the otherwordly sounding “Tweakin’ Together,” and in January she dropped her debut project Love Santana. Listening to the album is like eating a bag of Sour Patch Kids as Bktherula gleefully drifts between sinister bass-heavy bangers like “Official” and lush, ethereal half-rap, half-sung tracks like “On Me” and “UH HUH.” Bktherula’s infectious personality and Swiss Army knife of a voice are undeniable, and Love Santana is without a doubt one of the best projects of the year so far.
NNAMDÏ — “Wasted”
Fusing together a myriad of influences into something distinct and completely unrecognizable, Chicago artist NNAMDÏ is the shapeshifting architect behind some of the most forward-thinking hip hop of the last couple of years. His latest track “Wasted,” which will appear on his upcoming LP Brat, is a saccharine R&B slow-burner that sounds like it was cooked up inside of a daydream.
H2O Hadd — “Back Then”
With its auto-tuned crooning and rags to riches tale it’s easy to write off “Back Then”, the new single from rising Philadelphia rapper H2O Hadd as a Roddy Rich or Polo G ripoff. But “Back Then” is so much more than that, the track is pure bliss—an undeniably catchy earworm that you’re guaranteed to be hearing a lot more of as we inch closer to warmer weather.
ovrkast. — Try Again
Oakland rapper ovrkast., who garnered some buzz last year after producing a track on Earl Sweatshirt’s Feet of Clay, released a new project titled Try Again. With features from from Mavi, Navy Blue, and Pink Siifu the project is filled with the kind murky production and insular raps that one might expect given its cast of collaborators, but ovrkast. manages to stand out from the pack with a charming sincerity beneath his rhymes. Highlight “Face” finds him going bar for bar with Navy Blue as the two tackle themes of isolation atop a soulful vocal chop.
FullClipCash — “Back 2 The Basics”
One of the things I love about rap is its ability to perfectly encapsulate the reckless abandon of youth, case in point “Back 2 The Basics” by FullClipCash. From it’s spirited bounce to its masterclass in flexing, FullClipCash shines throughout the track like only a Florida MC can, or as he puts it “I’m in New York, that’s the North / but I came from the south.”
Hook — Crashed My Car
Crashed My Car, the collaborative album between Riverside rapper Hook and producer Nedarb, is incredibly loud and in-your-face. The two work wonderfully together, Hook’s chaotic and aggressive verses sound even more feverish above Nedarb’s thunderous 808s. “Yes Man,” the duo’s prettiest and best song to date, sounds like a Pi’erre Bourne loosie played through a broken iPhone speaker, which is to say that it’s fucking awesome.
Bby Goyard — “EUROHOUSE SEANCE”
What would happen if your Sega Dreamcast accidentally took all of your MDMA? Well, you’d probably wind up with something pretty close to “EUROHOUSE SEANCE,” Bby Goyard’s noise-rap post-internet freakout. Lead by a pulsating kick drum and flickering array of blips, boops, and beeps, Bby Goyard’s serene delivery makes everything else sound even more chaotic. This track is disorienting as hell, but it’s also a lot of fun.
HOODLUM — “SCAM”
Texas rapper HOODLUM is currently one of the Lone Star State’s best kept secrets, and to find out why look no further than his most recent single “SCAM.” The woozy and ominous production harkens back to the region’s affinity for groggy tempos and brooding ambience, while HOODLUM’s calm and collected demeanor flows nicely with the tracks trunk-rattling rhythms.
645AR — “4 Da Trap”
This is the part of the column where I defend 645AR and his viral sensation “4 Da Trap.” To take him on his word, 645AR is not a provocateur, and his squeaky voice is not a gimmick. I don’t claim to understand the song and it’s many eccentricities, nor do I ever plan on trying to figure them out. I just know that every time I put the song on, I can’t stop myself from smiling, and I think that we all deserve that in this hellscape we live in.
Interview with Corey Purvis
Get Alternative: Hey! Thanks so much for being my first guest on this new column. What was the first rap album that you remember really obsessing over growing up?
Corey Purvis: As a lot of white kids in middle American can relate to, the Marshall Mathers LP was the first rap album I really obsessed over and learned inside out. I was probably like ten years old or something when I first heard it, way too young. I still think that album is incredible today though and has yet to be remotely replicated.
So when you first became interested in becoming an artist was there anything about rap, whether it be the overall aesthetic of the culture or even just the importance of grinding, that you think influenced you?
Corey: I wouldn’t say rap was an initial inspiration to my artwork in the beginning, but as I got older I only continued to get more into rap and art surrounding it which crept into my inspirations along the way. Definitely the hustle and motivation, grinding to get paid, but also the more I learned about sampling and beat production I saw parallels between that and the process for my illustration work.
I’m sure a lot of people reading this first found out about Near Mint, your label, through Modern Baseball or The Obsessives or another band along those same lines. What made you decide to start releasing rap, specifically both of the Sirius Blvck releases?
Corey: I’ve been a fan of rap and hip hop for years and I had always thought it’d be cool to press a rap release on vinyl, with cool variants and what not. This was before all sorts of rap albums were getting pressed on vinyl and more so mainstream and hip hop releases. With the Sirius Blvck releases I was waiting for the right type of situation to work out and in time it did. I suppose I didn’t want to release just any type of rap and the genre in general is different than working in the emo or DIY scene so I also think that played a role in finding the right artist to build a connection with. One of my best friends, Matt Riefler, engineers all (and produces some) of his stuff and that was basically the introduction to us teaming up.
What’s some stuff that you’ve been listening to as of late?
Corey: Pop Smoke, G Herbo, Sada Baby, WestsideGunn, Key Glock, and Nipsey Hussle.
Since we just wrapped up the 2010s, what are some of your favorite rap and hip hop releases of the previous decade?
Corey: In my opinion some of the best rap music has been made in the 2010’s so I have a handful that I not only consider the best of the decade but some of my all time favorite rap albums. Below is a list of some, not all, in no particular order:
Curren$y – Pilot Talk trilogy
Big K.R.I.T. – Return Of 4Eva
Freddie Gibbs – Shadow Of A Doubt
Nipsey Hussle – Victory Lap
Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron
Denzel Curry – Imperial
G Herbo and Southside – Swervo
Young Dolph – Rich Crack Baby
Kendrick Lamar –good kid, m.A.A.d city
Michael Brooks // @nomichaelbrooks
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