A few years ago I was all about what later got called ‘Cloud Rap’ – Main Attracktionz, Babe Rainbow, Odd Future – I saw it as the hip hop successor to witch house and an extension of IDM. I tuned out, partly because the lyrical content wasn’t there, and listening now to the more recent likes of A$AP Rocky, Lil B etc. I was correct. Dumb rap for dumb people…sadly that meant I missed Clams Casino, a producer who thankfully releases instrumentals so you can ignore the trill (True + Real = Dumb stupid gangsta) shit. If you listen to one of his most recent releases, the Pia Mia and Chance collaboration, hopefully it’s a sign that Clams is graduating from those who didn’t graduate, and onto something smarter.
I really rate Chance and Vic Mensa, and hope Clams works more with people who know that the four elements never included guns, bitches and bling. Of course hip hop is also about speaking YOUR truth, whatever it is – but I doubt most of these people live the life, especially the likes of Drake – they’d be dead in a week.
Anyway really loving the Clams sound, as Tom from Wild Beasts put it, there’s something feminine about this. Floating, beautiful…which makes it all the odd when some B-grade rapper spits hatred and dumbness over it…these tunes deserve far better. Even working with HAIM would be a step forward (they added vocals to A$AP’s LVL, one of the few redeeming features, and I’m not a big fan of HAIM…) or maybe he should work with De La Soul?
Always saddened as a hip hop fan that all this interest in psychedelics and Molly (MDMA), even the wooziness of purple drank and disorientation of chopping and screwing didn’t lead to some new DAISY age, a Third Summer of Hip Hop Love. Where intelligence or imagination can win out over hatred, tired gangsta tropes and commercial blaxploitation. I mean contrast this with the positivity of another great beatmaker, J. Dilla with the UMMAH/Native Tongues crew and De La Soul.
Thankfully De La have returned to that and released a great mixtape called Smell the DA.I.S.Y (DA Inner Soul of Yancy). It’s recommended, and really schools those cloud rap / trill rappers into where they should be going, rather than boring us with the same old dumb gangsta fantasy selling to 14 year old white middle class boys. Positivity, intelligence, still keeping it to their truth and real (NOT realness, don’t copy drag terms please!*) and not selling out their pride or integrity:
* I was at the Tate Britain last night, they had some street fashion event and they had a talk about ‘realness’ – nothing in the blurb mentioned where that phrase came from. Sad and desperate that a vogueing/drag term has been co-opted by urban fashion without spreading the love back. Boo. Go find your own terms, or respect the source. And no, like Madonna just watching Paris Is Burning once doesn’t give you the right…