Monday, November 19, 2007

Rich Boy eats Rap

Rich Boy is pretty much dismissed as a mediocre southern thug rapper who has luck with beats.

Nonetheless, he has managed to produce one of the best flows of the year. Specifically, his flow on the remix of MIA's 'Paper Planes' has pretty much dominated. I think it might be the single best 30 seconds of this year. It's a terrifying moment on a song that is basically about shooting people and taking there money.

What makes it work so effectively is that Rich Boy sounds direct, crazy and joyful on it. He does not moralize or express any doubt. He sounds like somebody on a rampage.

What makes Rich Boy (and Soulja Boi and other southern rappers who don't class up) so difficult for people is that he refuses to confuse or soften his work with the sort of intellectualism that is standard in West Coast/East Coast rappers and there adherents. Rich Boy lacks wordplay, metaphor, internal rhyme schemes, and doesn't gussy up his thug persona with the accoutrements of style or aestheticism- instead there's a focused aggression that, when it works is thrilling.

I don't have a problem with intellectualism, but it does by its nature make art more removed. I don't know how far Rich Boy can take it if he doesn't smarten up, but I know that the Paper Planes flow is worth it all: it's a flow that even months after hearing it still doesn't fail to shock me.

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