The Rap Report: Lil Durk, IDPizzle’s contagious “Dior” remix, Little Simz, and more

The week’s best rap moments featuring Lil Durk, Little Simz, IDPIZZLE, NAV, and more.

May 08, 2020
The Rap Report: Lil Durk, IDPizzle’s contagious “Dior” remix, Little Simz, and more Photo: Mando Esteves  

Every week, The FADER's Lawrence Burney picks out the best rap songs and moments in the world right now. Here they are, in no particular order.

"Dior" Remix — IDPizzle

Drill music continues to spread in innovative and refreshing ways. The Chicago-born genre's most recent iteration is Rumba Drill, a combination of the U.K.'s interpretation of the sound and Congolese rumba. The form's self-proclaimed creator, IDPizzle, has my favorite song out right now. During the intermission of UK-based radio platform No Signal's Wizkid vs. Vybz Kartel virtual clash last weekend, the Belgian-Congolese artist's interpretation of the late Pop Smoke's "Dior" started to play. People on Twitter were collectively deciding whether or not the song was a parody, a disgrace to Pop's legacy, or a soon-to-be summer anthem. It starts with about 20 seconds of beautiful flamenco guitar play but soon after, signature U.K. drill 808s and snares start to creep in before IDPizzle interpolates lyrics and flows from Pop hits "Welcome to the Party" and "Dior." Since then, the song has been spreading through social media with people playfully spelling out its lyrics phonetically to properly capture IDPizzle's accent.

Yesterday, he tweeted that the song had reached Shazam's Top 50 — most of which probably came from people who were tuned into No Signal. What makes this song so special is that while its roots are crystal clear, it feels nothing like the original. The song's repetition and joining of two completely different forms of music within the African diaspora create a sound that lifts your spirits almost instantly. I think this is the just the very beginning of its ascent. But even if it isn't, I'm gonna be playing it for some time.

"Fabricated" — Lil Durk

Just Cause Y'all Waited 2 only dropped last night, and it's gonna take some time to fully absorb Lil Durk's new 15-track project, but there are some early standouts after a few skims. The album's closing track "Fabricated" is what has stuck with me. It finds Durk in a moment of looking inward while still speaking generally enough for it to apply to anyone listening. He offers sweet melodies about how he went from sharing clothes to designer jeans, how he doesn't care to address illegitimate rumors, and how he's dealt with betrayal.

"Dirty Fanta" feat. Odunsi The Engine — Maison2500

Maison2500 often feels like the Playboi Carti of Nigeria's alté scene, with his sparse lyrics about love, drugs, and fashion over loop-heavy production. What's interesting about an artist like Carti is seeing how his influence takes hold and manifests itself in different corners of the world, and what artists choose to keep and remove from that influence. Maison has for sure been inspired by his flow and ad libs — as many artists just within the U.S. borders have done as well — but what he adds to that already working formula is the dreaminess that comes from alté's indie pop sound. Last week he released a new, short EP titled Turnpike, which is comprised of all those sounds. But on the project's last track "Dirty Fanta," Maison and Odunsi The Engine's seamless chemistry bring forth visions of the lush set design, open road car rides, and effortless fashion moments that have become associated with the alté scene's visual presentation.

"you should call mum" — Little Simz

Little Simz's new EP wasn't supposed to come out, but after sitting with herself in isolation (as we've all been forced to do) the London-based rapper decided to put together a project comprised of the thoughts she's been having in quarantine. The five-track Drop 6 is refreshing for those reasons because as we start to settle into this new way of life, it's gonna be extremely helpful to have music that acknowledges those experiences. On the project's "you should call mum" Simz navigates thoughts of what this all means by adding some much needed perspective. On it, she suggests, "Times we living in don't seem real, but it was never a fairytale to begin with." Though small, lines like that are helpful. Over the past eight weeks, it's been easy to fall into funky moods — some of which can distract you from the fact that many of the issues that are stemming from COVID-19 are ones that were always present. Simz also takes time to acknowledge her boredom, newly irregular sleep patterns, and overall restlessness here too. And beyond her lyrical content here, she rides the beat with admirable ease.

"Gimmie Room" — Bakersteez

One thing that is certain is that if you follow Jamaican rapper Bakersteez, you're guaranteed to get at least one new banger every few months. As one of the island's foremost trap artists, Baker can feed his base without regular projects — the occasional loosie or music video usually do the trick. But he recently dropped a five-track EP exclusively streaming on Audiomack titled Ruff Kutz, presumably a collection of loose tracks that didn't fit into any larger projects. An early standout is the EP's intro "Gimmie Room." On the track, Baker urges adversaries to get out of his way bot figuratively and literally. He also gives a nod to Lila Iké, urging that his chopper can carry a tune just as sweet as the rising Jamaican singer.

"Recap" feat. Don Toliver — NAV

Thursday nights on music twitter are dedicated to first listen reactions of newly released albums, and last night's marquee discussion starter was everyone's favorite rapper to hate, NAV. Though he'd already had plenty of people waving his flag, the tide felt like it began to turn for the Canadian rapper on a larger scale when he rose to the occasion as a featured artist on both Young Thug and Lil Uzi Vert's recent albums. NAV is funny. He seems like the nerd that everyone lets hang around because they're fun to crack jokes on, but every once in a while he comes fully prepared to flame people at the next roast session. Regardless of how you may feel about his lyrical prowess or if he is deserving of the attention he gets, what NAV does have is one of rap's more unique vocal tones, which makes for some amazing melodies when he's hit a pocket. That's why "Recap" featuring Texas crooner Don Toliver hits so hard. Toliver often sounds like he was born 50 years too late and instead should have been in an Isley Brothers type of group with how throwback his voice feels. That classically smooth delivery coupled with NAV's is a home run here.

"In Hog We Trust" — Cheecho

When he's at his best D.C.'s Cheecho can make you feel like you've entered the goriest scene of a Michael Myers film, with the sinister keys that have become the calling card of his production. That's especially the case on the intro of the producer and rapper's new mixtape, In Hog We Trust. Those horror movie-esque elements make perfect sense here, with Cheecho promising his enemies that they'll meet a not-so-friendly fate. The punched in vocals, go-go inspired drums, and key play here are as *DMV Rap* as one could possibly be.

The Rap Report: Lil Durk, IDPizzle’s contagious “Dior” remix, Little Simz, and more