Welcome back, bazaarians! I hope you spent the last month booming, bapping, and beyonding. For those new to my humble Internet abode, this is my monthly series culling the finest in high-grade rap music and innovative production. It’s Shiftee’s BBBB, a.k.a. Quadruple B, mainly in homage to the great Guy Fieri and his culinary gem-finding program Diners, Drive-Ins, And Dives (“Triple D”).
Here at Quadruple B (yes, we are making this a thing), we particularly look for emerging artists. You have the Internet. You know DJ Khaled exists. So how do we determine how famous is too famous? This month only one rule made sense: has the person chopped it up with the man himself Guy Fieri? So, sorry, 6 God. You’ve been to Flavortown.
Week two, here we go! Quadruple B! Peep my picks below and listen to all ten tracks in a deep fried, donkey sauce-doused mix from yours truly:
Tate Kobang – “Ready ft. Swizz Beatz & Vashtie”
“Ready for them but them no ready for me.” Tate’s first breakout single was “Bank Rolls Remix”, an infectious love letter to his hometown Baltimore over a reworked OG Bmore classic. His latest “Ready” finds him in similar form, showcasing crazy flow over a vintage Swizz Beatz production, and even referencing his aforementioned break-out (“Took a classic and I ripped it / I ain’t lucky, I’m just gifted”).
What I love about Tate is that he has fun. There’s a joy to his music. It shows in the tracks themselves, but also in his personality. On his Instagram, you can find him gleefully dancing in elevators and at kids’ birthdays. I’m sure his forthcoming TateKo mixtape will have even more life and vibrancy.
Salva – “Fucc – Badman”
PRAY FOR SALVATION. Salva came through and dropped maybe the hottest beat-tape of the year. The 17-track epic Clips showcases a producer who has long excelled in both the worlds of rap and electronic/dance music, from the forward-thinking Complex Housing to hit festival trap remixes to the feature-packed rap mixtape Peacemaker to this latest project. On Clips, Salva not only made the beats, but also mixed and mastered everything, did the scratches, AND created all the visuals including an extensive 3D animation package. It’s really some full-on beatmaker auteur ish, creating a whole world both sonically and visually.
I could have picked a number of tunes to feature here, but went with “Fucc – Badman” because of its unique groove in the first part of the song compounded with its functionality as a DJ tool, switching halfway through into a 114 bpm, laid-back, hi-def smoker.
DJ Sliink + Skrillex + Wale – “Saint Laurent”
The human flame emoji DJ Sliink is on fire. In the last month, he’s dropped three major collaborations: “Raw”, an underground club killer with Sinjin Hawke; “Text Ur Number”, a radio smash in-the-making with freaking Fetty Wap and DJ Envy (shout out to Esentrik on co-production); and “Saint Laurent”, a high-octane rap-meets-club banger with “oh you mean Sonny” (a.k.a. Sonny Moore, a.k.a. Skrillex) and Wale (shouts to Austin Millz on co-production).
All three are crazy, and signify a moment of elevation for the Jersey Club vanguard, truly bringing Sliink’s sound to new audiences and wider platforms. Fun fact: Sliink recently played at my Brooklyn EP release party with The Cartels and came dressed as a literal flame.
Leikeli47 – “Attitude”
The masked igniter/rapper/producer Leikeli47 is a master of creating bubbly yet provocative music and imagery. From her cutting lyrics to driving wide-ranging production, the Brooklyn-based artist has a unique ability to create party music that also has a point of view. She’s recently dropped a series of singles, four in 2017 so far, and shows no signs of slowing down.
“Attitude”, fittingly, has a ton of attitude, with a hook repeating “So what I got a attitude / Bitch, I got a attitude”. The lyrics are empowering and clever, and all sit on top of a propulsive, distorted club production that would fit in in a warehouse rave. Thanks to Leikeli47, I also have a new excuse every time I’m running behind: “I was 15 minutes late because I tried to be great”.
Craig Xen – “Wassup Bro (Prod. HIGHAF & Diablo)”
For whatever reason, I never really looked into the Florida rapper XXXTentacion beyond his surprise hit “Look At Me”. Aside from controversies, Soundcloud rap think pieces, and his XXL Freshman placement, I didn’t dig deeper into his body of work. That is until this song “Wassup Bro” by Members Only crew-mate Craig Xen popped up on my feed. The song has undeniable energy. I mean dude is screaming the title of the track over and and over again.
“Wassup Bro” led me to the Members Only Vol. 3 Mixtape from XXXTentacion and crew, which was a bit of a revelation. The vibe of the project is raw, DIY, and punk rock, but it shows lots of creativity and diversity. There are off-the-wall metal songs, more straight-ahead rap tracks, 808 ragers, and even golden-era, boom-bap-style songs. Aside from “Wassup Bro”, I especially like the songs that feature Kin$oul (“Slipknot”, “Supra”, “God Damn”, “Members Only Shit”) with their dusty piano loops and relaxed flows that would fit musically next to 90s NYC rap.
Ugly God – “Bitch!”
Ugly God is really funny. First off, his name is Ugly God. Second, his new project is called The Booty Tape, and includes a track called “Fuck Ugly God”, where he disses himself. His self-deprecating lyrics pair with a truly catchy delivery, and often sit on top of his own production.
On “Bitch!”, the Houston rapper both pokes fun at and embraces rap cliches. He opens by declaring, “No, I’m not a rapper / this the first page of the chapter / Bitch, I’m a disaster.” He goes on to highlight his student loans, “broke as fuck, 30 bands straight from FAFSA”. The beat itself is light and playful, earning bonus points with me for its inclusion of scratch sounds.
Lophiile, Moss Kena & Nick Grant – “Newno”
Lush and large, this song from Lophiile, Moss Kena, and Nick Grant answers the question “what would it sound like if Dr. Dre made future bass?” This is 100% a compliment. The track is polished and dynamic with top-notch production and arrangement from Lophiile with excellent vocal performances from Moss Kena on the hook, and Nick Grant on the verses. Cue this up for your next triumphant training montage. Yes, I’m saying you should make a movie about your life, and then use this song to soundtrack the part where you have to work hard to achieve your dreams.
A quick technology appreciation comment: I found this song on my Spotify Release Radar playlist. I hadn’t heard of any of the three artists before, and now I’m a fan IRL and on social media. Similarly, the below song from Cadre hadn’t crossed my radar until I heard it on Anna Lunoe’s Beats1 show. So thank you to computers and tastemakers for enriching my life as a fan of new music.
Cadre – “Freaks Coming Out (prod. Dugong Jr.)”
This song is more or less my Platonic ideal of a hip-hop club song, from the turn-up lyrics to the off-the-wall yet familiar beat. It’s weird and cool, but it’s not prohibitively out there, mixing familiar melodic lines and drum programming with more experimental lead sounds. I also enjoy the global collaborative aspect of this track. Melbourne’s Dugong Jr. produced a song for the Ohio-born Cadre with a distinctly West Coast feel for the LA-based Good Enuff. International rap with a universal bounce that still pushes boundaries.
Dai Burger – “Shake ‘N Bake” (prod. Saint)”
Queens in the building (and by building I mean blog)! NYC’s Dai Burger shines bright on “Shake ‘N Bake”, an energetic cut off her freshly released, bombastic Soft Serve project. Dai a.k.a. Burger Liberachi promises to deliver “fun like candy beats but still with bars for that ass.”
My favorite piece of shit talk on this song, which I will soon adapt into my own life, is: “If you think you have an idea, you don’t.” On the beat side, Saint has quickly become one of my favorite producers with his ability to bring cutting-edge club sounds to the freshest new voices in rap (e.g. Princess Nokia, Cakes Da Killa, UNIIQU3, and Dai Burger of course).
BE3K & Zora Jones – “Miss Kitty”
The future is here. Fractal Fantasy, the record label helmed by Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones, just released the most exciting compilation I’ve heard all year. Visceral Minds 2 is a tour de force of new sounds, textures, beats, vocals, and imagery. The 20-song album is simply massive and features an array of genre-bending collaborations from the likes of Sinjin, Zora, DJ Rashad (R.I.P.), DJ Spinn, Jlin, Murlo, Canblaster, Marty Bootyspoon (!), Heavee, Killa P, Swing Ting, Serocee, and many more.
There are many standout tracks (“Loud”, “Gunshotta”, “Money Hoe”, to name a few), but I went for the vogue-house-meets-Neptunes bounce of Miss Kitty. Qween Beat’s BE3K delivers an infectious performance over Zora’s production, whose work on the entire project cements her as a supreme force to be reckoned with.
Shiftee’s latest EP New Bap & Beyond is out now on Hot Mom USA.