The Guys position themselves as Chicago’s best kept secret on their debut project, IG:WeTheGuys_ (the 2014 equivalent of Mike Jones’ phone number). The duo—Fya Starta (the producer-turned-rapper responsible for Lil Durk’s wildest song to date in 2012) and brother Heavy Smelly—emerged last year with their debut single “Flee,” a skeletal, steel-drum-centric number which quickly became a favorite of the bop movement. Every move since has come completely out of left field, from “Taxes,” the best Pokemon-referencing rap song ever made, to “Still Wanna Kill Sam,” a no-frills remake of the Ice Cube classic. IG:WeTheGuys_ solidifies the fact that these dudes are Chicago’s most flexible rappers, equally capable of fun-but-fluffy party songs and intricate, thoroughly considered bars. There’s no question they can spit—holy hell, the last minute of “Blow”!—but lyricism never gets in the way of songwriting. And Fya, in particular, sure knows how to craft a song; as a producer, he’s a master of creating space, letting the beat drop out at just the right moments. But even the turn-up songs come with a wry, smirking secondary layer: take “College Towns,” which could soundtrack parties in the same money-filled suburbs The Guys take advantage of. And then there’s “Who They Shoot,” a poignant, bitter reflection on Chicago’s increasingly careless homicide epidemic—little girls dying, little boys dying too, cause niggas don’t care bout who they shoot. Considering this collection is meant to be less of a fully-realized project and more of an introductory compilation, it’s safe to say The Guys are going to be a problem.
Highlights: “Extortion,” which creeps casually along, channeling the semantic satiation of “Versace” into something much icier. “She Know It,” a steamy r&b number with an instantly nostalgic Usher sample. “Blow,” nearly five minutes of The Guy’s best rapping yet, with a finale that deserves a standing ovation.
WTF: “Jessie White” is the most definitively Chicago metaphor for wrist-whipping ever.