Since its release in February, Rocko’s woozy single “U.O.E.N.O.” has taken on a life far beyond whatever ambitions the Atlantan emcee may have had for the song.
On one side, its guest artists—current chorus king Future and Rick Ross—and its catchy chorus, an effective combination of repetition and memorably unusual word choice, made it a slow burning gainer on Atlanta radio and on the web, a quirkier single than core fans may have expected of the journeyman emcee. Each week it expands its radio reach, maintains a solid foothold online, and sells more copies, inching slowly towards becoming a legitimate hit.
More prominently, “U.O.E.N.O.” sparked controversy when Rick Ross’s lyric, “Put molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it/I took her home and enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it” drew attention as a casual, unapologetic reference to date rape. While “U.O.E.N.O.” grew in popularity, outrage about the line led Reebok to end its deal with Ross.
The heat around Ross’ feature comes at a time when rap has fallen under particular, well-trodden controversy concerning misogynistic lyrics and behavior, with rappers Lil Wayne and Danny Brown both garnering negative national press, the former losing his high profile deal with Mountain Dew. This mounting perfect storm has spurred “U.O.E.N.O” to become an unlikely hit on the rise as summer approaches. A shrewd official remix campaign has maintained the song’s musical relevance while pulling a bit of spotlight away from the Ross-driven turmoil, trotting out Wiz Khalifa, 2 Chainz, and A$AP Rocky, with rumors of Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West waiting in the wings.
At the heart of it all, the bed rock of “U.O.E.N.O.” is that beat, instantly recognizable with its infectiously oozy, distorted synth melody, menacing like a creeping fog and reminiscent of the burping, otherworldly sounds Three 6 Mafia used to employ to fantastic effect.
Major’s signature sound is a sort of accessibly dark, borderline psychedelic production that sounds like little else in the current sonic landscape.
Behind the beat is South Carolina born Atlanta transplant Childish Major. Though his catalog is not as extensive as some of his peers, the young producer has already carved a recognizable niche for himself. While he’s capable of flexing a number of styles that bear the diverse influences of country rap tunes, DJ Toomp, and the updated jazz-hop TDE often employs, Major’s signature sound is a sort of accessibly dark, borderline psychedelic production that sounds like little else in the current sonic landscape. An easy comparison would link it to the sound A$AP Rocky popularized over the last few years, but it’s far cleaner and often more idiosyncratic than the non-Clams Casino beats the Harlem emcee has rapped over during his ascent. Major’s work on songs like Curtis Williams’ “Automatic” and “Bare Essentials” and Juicy J’s “Ain’t No Comin’ Down” points to those aforementioned Three Six similarities without the grime-soaked lo-fi mixes that Rocky and company seemed so clearly enamored of in their work with former collaborator Space Ghost Purrp.
“U.O.E.N.O.” opened doors for Major, providing an early cult hit, entry onto a new playing field, and a stylistic calling card. His sound is of the moment without pandering to trends, a quality that will likely serve him in good stead as he continues to build his body of work.
Check out a few non-”U.O.E.N.O” highlights below.