On “Hardest Out,” they pull in Detroit staple Allstar Jr to form a trio. The song features Michigan-style drums laid over the same Bobby Glenn sample used on JAY-Z’s “Song Cry.” Together, Curt and A.T dream of solving their problems with fast money. “I’m really in my bag, I’m bout my bucks like that Giannis nigga/I’m tryna touch a M to pay the feds if they find us nigga,” raps Curt before she quickly passes the baton to A.T, who adds, “I was raised to get it, if I did put my mans on,” with a jolt of energy that makes even familiar boasts memorable. They’re a duo to look out for.
Four ways Lil Baby may have gotten the nickname The Hero
To sing the praises of his own success, Lil Baby has labeled himself The Hero. It’s a nickname that he relentlessly tries to jam through on his joint album with Lil Durk, called Voice of the Heroes (Durk, by the way, is The Voice). “Durk The Voice ’cause he know just what to say/I’m The Hero, I come through, save the day,” Baby coos on “Hats Off”—it’s like the theme song of a ’90s cartoon.
But The Hero is not the type of nickname you can just start calling yourself—it feels like it should be given to you. The only possible explanation for it is that the success of Baby’s protest song “The Bigger Picture” has made him assume that he is now on some divine journey to save the everyday person. It’s the type of self-mythologizing that will probably work: Don’t be surprised if, two years from now, Lil Baby starts getting lifetime achievement awards at random award shows, where he will be introduced as “The Hero aka Lil Baby.” If you’re popular enough you can really do whatever you want and nobody cares that much.
To make it all a little more tolerable, I tried to come up with a few more interesting ways Lil Baby could have gotten the nickname.
- Lil Baby was backstage at a Foo Fighters show and thought they were singing about him.
- Lil Baby is a fan of Air Force commercials.
- One time Gunna got a new kitten and it got stuck in a tree. Lil Baby climbed the tree, ripping his Amiris on the way down. But he saved the cat. Gunna looked him in the eye and said, “You’re The Hero.”
- Kevin Feige told Lil Baby he will be a part of Marvel’s Phase Four.
Mulah Mitch’s “Reloaded” could have premiered on a Smack DVD. The Boston rapper is so East Coast that I’m surprised he’s not trying to reignite the coastal wars. “I grew up broke, grabbed the pack, I won’t be broke again/Bro an inspiration he make me want to go legit/Grab the rental then we treat it like a stolen whip/I got a gun, I got a pack, bitch I’m on my shit,” he raps. Though you can feel the relentlessness of Flamers-era Meek and the intensity of late-2000s NYC mixtape rap, it doesn’t completely feel like a throwback. The song’s sharp punchlines, evocative street tales, and charismatic flows are suited for any era.
Nivel Codiciado snippets continue to make me excited about the rise of trapcorridos
BabyTron: “Just in Case”
Though the popular style in Detroit has slowly swung away from over-the-top humor and back to reality rap, it hasn’t stopped BabyTron from dropping Luka Troncic, a 24-track mixtape full of witty punchlines and arcade game beats that proves he can name more NBA players than Shaq. “Granddad was scoring in the city back with Bob Lanier,” he raps on “Where They At,” casually dropping in a ’70s Pistons reference. “Just in Case” is the mixtape’s early standout. The bonkers beat (by in-house engineer Mark Anthony) begins with a sped-up version of Jaheim’s “Just in Case,” then dissolves into what sounds like someone repeatedly sitting on a whoopie cushion. Over this wicked blend, Tron’s breezy flow has no trouble catching the pocket, and he delivers an onslaught of quips (“Bro like Thor ridin’ around clutchin’ on the hammer”) and, of course, hoops talk (“Fast break, if it’s two-on-one I’ma lob it up”).
Every 4L Javi song takes place after the sun has gone down. Maybe he’s at a function trying to see if anyone wants to go home with him. Or maybe he leaves the bar early so he can hop in an Uber and head to his ex’s crib. Or maybe he’s drunk and slouched on a couch, scrolling his Instagram and overthinking every post. On “Magic,” the Riverside, California singer and rapper sets the time and mood with the opening line: “I turn 23 in two hours,” he croons over a beat with heavy finger snaps, making it clear he’s inspired by years of Cali house party rap. His fickle R&B might also bring to mind early PARTYNEXTDOOR, and similar to that Toronto star, Javi’s life feels like a blur of complicated sex, way-too-strong cocktails, and regret.