It’s easy to presume that the emergence of SoundCloud-platformed rap music from the last few years is the definitive proof of the devolution of the hip-hop genre as a whole; after all, if a bunch of seemingly clueless teenagers can slap a few tracks together and get big on the Internet, it must point to the dwindling artistry that underpins this art form. Of course, this argument is based on the assumption that being young and inexperienced automatically invalidates your status as a ‘serious musician’ — and it also unfairly groups all ‘internet rap’ into under one set of standards, also suggesting that anything with a loud enough bass will get a free pass. But in reality, like all forms of qualitative art, there are levels to this shit: a perfect example can be seen by comparing the music of SoundCloud big timers Playboi Carti and Young Nudy, and more specifically, their most recent albums, Die Lit and Sli’merre. While both rely on the same producer, solely (Pi’erre Bourne, with his manically loopy beats), and find their respective artists half-mumbling ad-libs and spitting muttered refrains, there are stark differences. Carti’s monotone warble serves as a great antithesis for his wide variety of features to play off of; Nudy’s more conservative delivery renders him an unexciting bit player whenever another guest shows up. He sounds like a complete child next to Megan Thee Stallion’s commanding prowess; a less funny version of his older cousin, 21 Savage; and a stick-in-the-mud that lacks the charisma needed to outshine DaBaby’s verse-stealing swagger. To put it bluntly, Nudy is the store brand version of Carti’s entire aesthetic, proving that even the most mindless of modern trap can’t just be slapped together on a whim.
Published as part of What Would Meek Do? | Issue 9