Jason Molina—Songs: Ohia, Magnolia Electric Co.—passed away last weekend. It’s pretty devastating. I took a shot at writing about what his music means to me for Backtrack, my weekly Stereogum column.
Kevin Gates, “What’s Understood” (prod. by Jahlil Beats) The Luca Brasi Story 2013
“Saturday. A few missed calls while the TV on but I’m not watching
My brother reading car magazines, really into cars like rim shopping
Obama just been re-elected who gives a fuck when the coke dry
dope how I’m getting less for shows, gotta branch off into different markets…”
Kevin Gates is a great rapper. Able to mold his baritone to these twinkly, screwed down rave beats effortlessly. He often loses the plot a bit midway through, but “What’s Understood” is perfect. Gates is great at writing ominous boredom. He has a way of capturing mundane details so specific that you’d think they shouldn’t matter.
Alley Boy f. Trouble, B. Green & Scragg Lee, “Up & Running” (prod. by Grade A Muzik) Definition of Fuck Shit Pt. 2 2011
“Up & Running” wasn’t really talked about much when it came out, and that’s no surprise because it features absolutely nothing that was popular in rap at the time. Mostly it’s just dead-eyed, off-kilter verses about running drugs all over the country, it’s kinda sorta also about living dangerously, but Grade A Muzik’s beat brings to mind cruising dusty highways in unbearable heat. Alley Boy’s made a name for himself as being perpetually tough talking, never really willing to break character on record, same with Trouble—admittedly I don’t know much about B Green and Scragg Lee—but this song proves that there’s a lot of room to move around within that style.