Project of the week: NMNN Tuka – Mind of a Gudda Boy
The cover of NMNN Tuka’s new album Mind Of a Gudda Boy perfectly encapsulates the polyrhythmic lifestyle of Gudda Gang’s talented centerpiece. The young spitter makes placid threats at a mind boggling rate with the husky composure of a G Herbo (I would say more subtle in his movements though).
The Little Rock, Ark. collective has predicated much of their style to Detroit’s breakneck BPM wizardry over the past couple of years, and now Tuka is living within those confines for a 9-song masterclass of menace and intimidation. There’s moments of brief reverie like on the intro “Taco,” where Tuka takes one or two puffs of whatever he’s smoking on before re-entering the ring for nonstop brutality. He makes his enemies swerve as if they’re avoiding a pothole and warns them of his presence. If they ever come around his way, then their very existence may lead to irreversible pain.
The consistent presence of frightening piano keys allows Tuka to strike the production like a lightning bolt hitting a tree during a thunderstorm. For such a short project, Tuka finds a healthy balance of ricocheting quips and melodic storytelling. He still proves to be at his best when rapping with one of Gudda Gang’s finest like 727 Fatboy, who’s featured twice on here. His second appearance on “Heartaches” is the best song on the album. Tuka establishes his most personal narrative, telling a vivd story of a daily escapade drenched in violence and paranoia (“Woke up out my sleep grabbing my heater I’m reaching for my neck..got no regrets my T-shirt full of sweat/Call my mama, I don’t feel right, lost Marcus feeling like that I’m next”). Fatboy plays off the anecdote well with his own daily travels involving a stark loss of innocence. The beat’s chipmunk vocal line paints a pretty landscape. This is a dichotomy we rarely see in the world of Gudda Gang, but it works as comfortless changeup and a riveting finale. Keep an eye out for these guys.
BigbabyGucci – Dead After Teen Spirit
The transparency found within the day-and-night imagery of BigBabyGucci’s two projects in 2020 thoroughly epitomizes the lost hope riddled throughout the start of this godawful decade. The Forever World Records signee released Teen Spirit earlier this year, a mixtape that featured a vocal onslaught of catchiness and veteran command. The cover art of Dead After Teen Spirit acts as a formidable antithesis to the candy-coated elation of Teen Spirit, but this short EP carries a similar infectious energy similar to a YungManny or BabyXSosa. Even “Rest in Peace Miss Rose” is a deceivingly optimistic song about his countless diamonds and racks stuffed in his jeans.
One of BBG’s greatest strengths as an artist is his ability to flip well-known instrumentals into slightly different pulpits for unbridled intensity. On the finale of Teen Spirit, BBG sampled Bon Iver’s “iMi,” and on “Rest In Peace Miss Rose,” the talented vocalist provides a more eccentric version of Kanye’s ‘I Thought About Killing You.” He has an ear for all types of genres, making him one of the more exciting artists to come from the underground. His music can brighten your day on the drop of a dime.
Gogo – “Danger”
This is a pretty piece of music from Cambridge, MA native Gogo. His most recent album Energy Vol.1 was dedicated to a wider club scene filled with neon lights and carefree dance numbers, but this new single works perfect within the bounds of solidarity and personal longing. Having been an offspring of the Grammy-winning jazz bassist Ron Carter, Gogo already has a rich history in genre-defying music making, as shown through the solemn horn that weaves through the mix as seamlessly as a wave calmly crashing into the shore. Most artists translate their feelings into passionate songwriting filled with raw emotion. Gogo does the opposite. He’s still in search of feeling, particularly in the context of a romantic relationship. He appears numb to the pain found in desolation, but is also cautious to find what he’s searching for. It’s a mindset he wants to avoid, and ‘Danger” is the first step in that process.
Feezy (feat. 11) – “Mulholland Drive”
It’s dope to see a Western Massachusetts label go worldwide. Feezy is a mercurial talent who works well in the context of atmospheric cloud rap. Dark World Records continues to cultivate talent from a grassroots level, and it clearly seems to be working. The two rappers showcase a wide range of versatility, especially when they effortlessly switch between two different languages (and somehow rhyme perfectly in the process). Love how captivating everything is, from the neon backdrop to the heavenly vocals.
An excellent re-imagining of BKTheRula’s “Uh Huh.” This is the type of song that forces you to stare at the ceiling at 3AM while contemplating life’s weirdest twists and turns.
Max Kream & 30 Deep Grimeyy – “Handicap Crippin”
Here’s your weekly shot of adrenaline from King Maxo himself. Love how he continues to use his growing platform to put other underground rappers on the map. First OMB Bloodbath; now this.