A panic is erupting in the rap world about Blueface, a profane, whimpering upstart that has sent high schoolers across the country into a frenzy with lyrics like “I put the pussy in debt, bitch take this Uncle Tom” and “I’m two coccy (too cocky) baby, because I got two coccs.” I think he’s hilarious, and am pretty unbothered by him for one key reason: He’s not a rapper – at least not in the classical sense. Rappers rap to a beat. Blueface does not miss the beat so much as he actively avoids it; he gleefully spits in the face of the very concept. The beat is merely a suggestion over which he emits spillages of syllables.
His irreverence for musical structures mean he’s playing a fundamentally different game from everyone else — he’s a spoken word poet who happens to be reciting over trap beats. So as long as I don’t have to think about him in the same category as Pusha T or Earl, he’s fine by me.
I’ve griped about the SoundCloud generation’s lack of rhythm before, with lil Yachty and Famous Dex particularly notable offenders: they haggardly rush over every line. (The fact that Yachty can almost rap in time now is a testament to the fact that his earlier sloppiness was a lack of skill and experience, not an aesthetic choice.)
But other rappers actually go too far in the opposite direction, delivering their lines with the mechanical precision of a clock, so as to strip the music of some of its human quality. Rich Brian, in particular, is infallible in his timing; sometimes I wish he would swing syllables or linger over them. There’s a middle ground where rappers can veer slightly off the beat because they want to imbue the music with suspense and flair. YG and Rich the Kid are masters at this, in particular.
The rappers on this playlist span two key spectrums: time and melody. Dave East for example is 10/10 time and 1/10 melody, whereas Sheck Wes is 4/10 time and 8/10 melody. Once I learn how to use PowerPoint I’ll make a whole graph of my scientific findings.
Anyway here’s the playlist. Apple Music here. Spotify here and below. happy cuffing

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