In general, it’s ill-advised to snatch a notable beat and rap over it. While it’s still par for the course in hip-hop, the sort of rote logic that says “this beat is hot, so I should hop on it before everyone else does”–while “everyone else” is thinking the same thing–has made an often meaningless shell of a previously trusty method for gaining notoriety. Worse yet, most rappers (and, if we’re being complete, singers) don’t re-imagine popular beats in the way a former mixtape hero like Lil Wayne might, grafting new choruses and concepts onto familiar sounds.
Just because something is typically ill-advised doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a go at it.
On “Anna Nicole Smith,” Chicago emcee Kami de Chukwu grabs Flying Lotus’ “Putty Boy Strut” (not exactly “A Milli” as far as beats go, but a known quantity if you’re familiar with the parties involved) and weaves his way through FlyLo’s dense soundscape with one of his most intricately elastic flows yet. Building his verses around a few refrains that contribute to a shifting sense of momentum that reacts to the beat (and even feels like it takes control at points, both mirroring FlyLo’s rhythm and seemingly hammering it into shape), Kami puts a definite imprint on a difficult foundation. Check out “Anna Nicole Smith” below.