Pitchfork’s weekly rap column covers songs, mixtapes, albums, Instagram freestyles, memes, dances, weird tweets, fashion trends—and anything else that catches our attention in the world of hip-hop.
The mixtape DJ still matters
Now that rappers are often first discovered through playlists, social media, and algorithms, mixtape DJs have become less appreciated. But listen to a classic DJ Clue, Drama, or Kay Slay tape, and it’s clear that, when done well, such curation is invaluable. Following in their footsteps is New Jersey’s DJ Phat, who has made his name by having a sharp ear for regional movements—most infamously during his time with Tay-K, the viral teenage fugitive who was found guilty of murder last year.
Phat’s new mixtape, The Block is Hot Vol. 3, doesn’t stray far from those underground roots. On the tape, standout moments come from DMV rappers like Goonew, Lil Dude, and Kayvo, as well as Carolina staples like Ronsocold and NGeeYL, though I personally gravitated to the Queens-based rap sprinkled throughout. Flee gives us yet another anti-summer-love anthem with “Lyfe”: “Only two girls in my life/Sister and my mom, never had a wife.” Pasto Flocco croons about sour relationships over a sparkly Surf Gang beat on “Side Niggaz.” And Dee Aura rides a vocal sample on “Blame It on the Glizzy” that sounds like it could have come out of a mid-2000s French, Max, and Dame Grease studio session. No algorithm could have put this together.
Rod Wave songs even make high school basketball highlight videos sad
Having no feelings about Kanye West
When Kanye was wearing a MAGA hat and crying that slavery was a choice, I still cared enough to be both angry and annoyed, but now I feel nothing. After months of silence, Kanye is once again in need of attention. A few songs, a bullshit clothing line reveal, and an even more bullshit announcement to run for president later, and it’s clear that he now stands for absolutely nothing. His words are meaningless. He is so obsessed with keeping close ties to major institutions and brands and the 1 percent that little else matters to him. It’s beyond the point of me even wanting to lament on my past relationship to his music. If an old Kanye record were to come on, it’s fine; if it doesn’t, it won’t cross my mind. Complete apathy.
Flo Milli: “Weak”
SWV’s 1993 hit “Weak” is about love sapping the strength of a crew. “I be so weak in the knees, I can hardly speak/I lose all control and something takes over me,” the group sings gloomily on the hook. But Mobile, Alabama’s Flo Milli is not with that soft shit. On a flip of the track by J White Did It, who produced both Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” and Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage,” Flo Milli treats her men like puppets. “These niggas weak (eww)/They’ve been textin’ me all week/Just let me be/Blowin’ me up, I’m tryna sleep,” she raps on the chorus. The 20-year-old even evaluates her roster with the critical eye of a NBA scout: Dennis is boring, Maleek doesn’t listen, and Eric has a girlfriend. It’s not 1993 anymore.
Five ways to afford Mach-Hommy’s new $444 album
Follow the steps in a City Girls song
Become an extra in a Gunna music video and pocket the money you find on the ground in between scenes
Invest in Ray J’s earbud conglomerate Raycon Global Inc.
Spend years dropping mixtapes in the underground rap scene until you earn Mach’s respect, and he sends you the album for free
Have dinner with JAY-Z
The 4PF stamp of approval
Who exactly is in Lil Baby’s 4 Pockets Full clique? Is it everyone the Atlanta rapper enjoys playing high-stakes dice games with? Everyone he blesses with a 4PF chain? And are the rappers he plays dice with the only ones with 4PF chains? What we do know is that the major rap world is beginning to revolve around whatever is happening with the rising label: Whether it be the outsized cultural impact of Lil Baby’s My Turn or signee 42 Dugg’s rumored ex-girlfriend blowing up the rap tabloids with a must-see rant about how Dugg’s butt is so big that she could “sit a cup” on it. With the push of 4PF over the last few months, Dugg has arrived at the brink of stardom, and another rumored labelmate, Rylo Rodriguez, hopes to be in a similar position once his anticipated mixtape arrives. But the biggest mystery is G Five, an elusive figure Baby has been name dropping for years.
This spring, G Five emerged from the shadows with a debut song called “First Day Out.” Regardless of the clichéd title, it’s a great song: G Five is a fully formed rapper with a steady melody and an ability to deliver punchlines with the coolness of Baby. “First Day Out” proves that the 4PF stamp approval means something, like GOOD Music or TDE before it. Lil Baby is building hip-hop’s first rapper-lead super-label of the new decade.
DaeMoney: “Slae Money”
The youngest crew in Detroit is World Tour Mafia, and their movement is picking up steam. On “Slae Money,” the fast-emerging group member WTM DaeMoney is seconds away from dozing off—his flow is so lethargic that by the end of the song you’ll wonder if he’s being propped up à la Weekend at Bernie’s. Over chilling production from Midwest staple Topside, DaeMoney carries himself with the nonchalance of your friend trying to talk their shit at 4 o’clock in the morning after a night out. He compares himself to Michigan State basketball prodigy Rocket Watts, tells you that he has a Palm Angels jacket that goes for more than your braces, and that his socks cost a pretty penny ($300 to be exact). Everything sounds profound when it’s this carefree.
Sometimes the song is mid
On “Celebration,” Sacramento’s DB.Boutabag has so much disrespectful shit to get off of his chest that he’s still rapping when the beat begins to fade. Like many of Cali’s finest street storytellers, Boutabag has a bounce even when he’s busy demoralizing others. “Soon as niggas get to losing and then they start praying/Nigga keep it real with yourself, you will not make it,” he raps, hardly taking a breath. Being spiteful has never sounded like so much fun.
The return of fashion
Tazzo B: “And 1”
Things are moving fast in Brooklyn drill; newcomer Coach Da Ghost went from dropping a mildly viral diss track to signing with Gucci Mane’s revamped 1017 imprint in the span of two months. In light of these overnight successes, the steady rise of Central Brooklyn’s Tazzo B has been refreshing to witness. He’s shown improvement on a run of singles, and he even released a mixtape—a rarity in the scene. On “And 1,” his aggressive, rapidfire flow is raw, yet he’s still in full control, catching every pocket of the pounding A Lau and Falsecut beat. He’s only getting better.
Originally Appeared on Pitchfork