What the hell is happening in Atlanta?
With the rise of Migos and, more specifically, Young Thug, Atlanta rappers have spent the better part of the last year pushing rap styles to staccato, unhinged extremes. Thug, in particular, released some of the more inventive (and, depending on your perspective, potentially unlistenable) gangsta rap in recent memory, his breakthrough 1017 Thug mixtape serving up a careening roller coaster of off-key singing, shout-rapping, unusual imagery, mush-mouthed double time, and all manner of unpredictable noises and ad-libs (part of the joy of listening to Young Thug is wondering just what the hell is going to come out of his mouth next). Thug’s sound is an exercise in chaos, occasionally exploding into catchy pockets before spinning back out of control. It’s an acquired taste to be sure, but one that seems to be spreading not only among listeners, but young rappers as well.
It is unclear precisely how Young Thug and Atlanta’s Lil Silk are officially connected (they seem to both have some involvement with a company called Archive Entertainment), but it’s evident that the former’s unique array of flows have rubbed off on the latter. On new single “Rapper,” Silk comes across as, at once, more orthodox than Thug and, if possible, a bit more outlandish, exhibiting similarities in cadence, content, and style to two of the internet’s favorite weirdo rap innovators and punching bags, Lil B and Soulja Boy. Silk wields an absurd sense of humor and self-awareness similar to those of the Basedgod (in one particularly amusing ad-lib, Silk shouts: “that was kinda off beat!”), his lyrics comprising a familiar mixture of over-the-top threats, boasts, drugs, and plentiful references to himself in the third person.
“Rapper” isn’t going to make sense to everyone, it might not take up space on your iPod, but it’s another example of thrilling strangeness brewing in recording studios and on computers out of view of the mainstream press. Listen below.