Album of the Week: Chris Crack – Good Cops Don’t Exist
Chicago MC Chris Crack never approaches an album with limited prose. His wisecracking sensibilities (“Post-Nut Clarity”) can quickly morph into piercing imagery (“White Lies Cost Black Lives”) on the drop of a dime. He neglects any semblance of a traditional album rollout, opting instead for three to four projects a year filled with social commentary, offbeat humor and technical wizardry. Sure, his raps play out in an Earl-like stream-of-consciousness, but unlike Mr. Sweatshirt, Crack shies away from theoretical existentialism. Rather, he walks a fine line between emotionally-driven vignettes and brutally honest pragmatism.
His newest album Good Cops Don’t Exist continues this streak of conscious wit and metaphorical realism. The production feels organically charismatic, which bodes well next too Crack’s animated delivery. Every song sounds poetically caustic and artistically boundless. The cover art and song titles are just as fascinating as Crack’s lyrical prowess, sometimes even surpassing the latter in blunt intensity. “Go Where Your Prioritized” is a powerful combination of titular brilliance, memorable storytelling, and intermittent zaniness with regards to love (“Never been a kisser/Only roll papers in the swisher/Henny right here but I’mma miss her, used to take pictures”). The overarching theme involves surrounding yourself with the right people, but love’s fleeting temptations can sometimes stand in the way of that.
Not all albums have to contain some type of consistent thread of concept and sound. Oftentimes, the most exciting projects are the unpredictable ones. Crack never ceases to amaze, which is why his transparent self-awareness is so mesmerizing. The obvious soulfulness is apparent throughout every one of his endeavors, but Crack’s monumental scriptures are what bring these frames to life. His personality is far from monolithic, as evidenced on multiple songs, though never more apparent then on “I Know a Place.” Crack flips a juvenile infatuation for a girl (“She do the D like a running back in a pumpkin patch/them kitties look like saddlebags”) into a broader message on misogyny (“God will turn a whole mess into a message/I’m just saying, let’s be less sexist”). It’s certainly not the most nuanced way of approaching the societal problem, but Crack’s stark firmness and honesty makes for a genuine sentiment. He’s a lot like early Danny Brown, but less hedonistic and more revelatory (both styles are great in their own way).
Most music traditionalists would probably prefer a more conventional way of album rollouts, or at the very least, room to breathe before the next release. I totally understand this viewpoint, especially since Lil Uzi has essentially guaranteed a deluxe edition for every subsequent mainstream rap album. However, I do think there’s something admirable about Crack’s ceaseless output. The one to two minute songs are less about grandiosity and more about raw emotion. There’s an obvious thread of timely concepts, but he never feels the need to completely adhere to them. He’s fine going on tangents about other personal experiences.
With everything that’s currently going on, I’m not surprised Crack wants to say as much as possible about whatever the hell comes to his mind. At the end of the day, everyone has some type of chip on their shoulder, or some type of message to get across. It’s just a matter of how you want to express yourself, and channel that drive. Crack lets it out through wholehearted confessionals and one-of-a-kind storytelling.
RMC Mike, Lil Yachty, YN Jay, and Louie Ray – “Flintana”
Have you ever watched a show or a movie on TV that, every once in awhile, would insert little tidbits of information about what went into the production of said movie or show? It’s usually featured at the top or bottom of the screen if you haven’t. Normally, the information ranges from what went on behind-the-scenes, to original script ideas, to something as small as actor idiosyncrasies.
This Flint posse cut (and Lil Yachty) is exactly like any Marvel movie that gave you small information about Robert Downey’s rigorous training before Iron Man, or how Chris Evans’ ass became “America’s Ass” (okay, I don’t think TV would offer something like this, but The Ringer did). Trading these fantastical superheroes for real Michigan rappers isn’t much of a far-fetched substitute. In fact, Michigan may feature a tighter squad of Avengers. Artists like RMC Mike and Rio Da Yung OG have never let differing personalities and internal brotherly conflict tear them apart. If anything, their talents have brought them closer.
Instead of searching for power, Mike, YN Jay, Yachty, and Louie Ray are in pursuit of wildly creative barbs. This song is structurally no different from any Michigan posse cut. On the surface, it’s just four guys spitting verses in relay-like fashion over a jittery beat. It’s the little subtitles that really make this particular video stand out. We’ve heard about Mike’s drug dealing before, as well as Yachty’s love of diamond carats. But I’ve never officially learned about how bright those carats are (I still don’t get the vernacular, but I’m interested), or where Louie keeps his weed. I’m also interested in why YN Jay hilariously couldn’t remember his lyrics before shooting this video. These tidbits of information offer much-needed clarity. They’re also why I love Michigan’s rap scene so much.
ComptonAss TG, Nef the Pharaoh and Teeezy – “Compton 2 Da Bay”
Th eery composure of Nef paired with Compton and Teeezy’s gruff regional frankness makes for a worthwhile bridge between Compton and the Bay Area. The video’s color scheme is equal parts grimy and vibrant, as evidenced by the graffiti art plastered on the run-down warehouse. Funny how much you could learn about a specific environment in short three-minute music videos. Nef’s been virtually unavoidable this year, which is a great thing to witness. He has a knack for combining grittiness with melody, kind of like RBE’s Yhung T.O.
Jiles – “Stones” (feat. Big Super)
Jiles raps with a sneer on his face at all times, and channels his own realities through burly confessionals and creative hooks (“Ring around the rosie, pocket full of stones”). His new EP It’s Not Much, But It’s Mine finds the Brockton spitter approaching his art without pressure. His writing is meticulous, but functions without regard for outsiders who don’t give a shit. “Stones” sounds urgent yet reflective of Jiles’ personal circumstances. He’s bound to catch people’s attention outside of Massachusetts.
BBY Goyard – “I Swear They Hate U”
I need a BBY Goyard and 100 gecs collaboration. Then I’ll be happy.