Small men are characterized by pettiness, an inclination towards frivolity, clinging to merest slights for presumed moral supremacy. Are you a small man? More generally, to include the non-men, are you small?
ILLFIGHTYOU released their new mixtape today, a five-track EP entitled CASHINTHEBATHROOM. This is the official followup to 2013’s breakthrough debut ILLFIGHTYOU. Supported by trap ultra-banger “BANDAID” and master works like “RENEGADE” and “BROOKLYN,” the mixtape tore a gash in indie hip-hop then bought indie hip-hop a few drinks before settling down with that new gash and abandoning it before the breach of fated morning’s sun rays. What.cd user deffjaniels wrote “goddamn this slaps,” following that with “one of the top overlooked releases of the year.” Those are worthwhile comments; not only did ILLFIGHTYOU slap, it also contained a glimpse of raw talent that went largely overlooked due (at least in part) to the low-profile of the group.
How has the “rap game” changed in the past two years? Meek Mill and Lil Boosie are out of jail, but Gucci Mane is still incarcerated for the same reason he was incarcerated in 2013. Bobby Shmurda is a name receding into history, even as my roommates shout “about a week ago!” whenever someone says “about,” “week” or “ago.” The Game did a song with Drake. There have been recent mixtapes from Kevin Gates, Fat Trel and French Montana (including guest verses from the dearly missed Chinx) as people tout Every Hero Needs a Villain and Summertime ’06 as the hip-hop albums of the year. It’s been a year since I started writing for this blog, and already the rap of yesteryear is yellowing on the shelves alongside scratched Biz Markie 12″ singles.
The rap game is fucked, and I think that should take the pressure off a lot of artists. Former class clowns Main Attrakionz are now luminaries with the release of 808s & Dark Grapes III, while Waka Flocka Flame’s Flockaveli 2 remains but a glint in the rapper’s eye. ILLFIGHTYOU could release a silent mixtape and it would be a huff of fresh nitrous oxide from the bullshit currently stewing in hip-hop crockpots.
Mixtape opener “EMPTYBOTTLE” falls on the boom-bap end of the group’s spectrum, and is likely the strongest offering on the EP. Ugly Frank, taking a break from tweeting about Fruit by the Foot and his mom’s bacon burgers, drops a couple of strong verses. He’s been a favorite of mine since his entitled Bobby Hill EP dropped. He, alongside fellow ILLFIGHTYOU member’s Khris P and EverGreenOne, suffer from Odd Future Complex; they’re not hard, they weren’t tested in the proving ground of the streets and their mettle hasn’t been proven. Some rappers, like Big Lurch, Max B, South Park Mexican and C-Murder, will likely die in prison for their convictions; others, like Danny Brown and A$AP Rocky, dealt drugs before becoming famous rappers. ILLFIGHTYOU have maybe collectively sold an eighth of pot, which, at the time, was probably a big score for them. Listening to their music, you get the impression they’ve never served hard, nor served hard time.
This neither makes their music illegitimate nor reduces its quality. ILLFIGHTYOU are dope, no pecans. This entire mixtape EP bumps; “FLASH” is a dub-trap opus that assembles choice verses for its final form, while closing track “GUCCIONTHESOFA” is mixed as if to give the (tight) beat precedence over the (also tight) lyrics. In the meantime, “SMOG” and “ORACLE” offer up the sauce with hot raps (“your ho my ho for the weekend” almost misses its own irony) and cool beats. The production on this EP was exclusively handled by ILLFIGHTYOU favorites Kream Team (which might be Khris P “Kream”‘s alter-ego, although I can’t confirm this and have done zero research), and their “print it” name drop is as recognizable of those of Metro Boomin and DJ Mustard.
The longer a person waits before committing suicide, the more time they’ve wasted. God bless them. Download the new ILLFIGHTYOU mixtape here.