Every week, The FADER’s Brandon Callender shares his highlights from across the rap world, from megastar artists to the deep underground.
OTR Chaz feat. Roddy Rackzz – “Breathe”
OTR Chaz and Roddy Rackzz just might be Baltimore’s best unofficial duo. Chaz and Roddy, both from West Baltimore, are part of a new crop of rappers that are carving out a lane for melodic street storytelling from the city. On “Breathe,” they rapping like they have a chip on their shoulders. Here, they split time between self-medicating to ease their woes and chest-puffing braggadocio. “I’m so true to me that I can’t try fakin’,” Chaz sighs over the rumbling beat. Admittedly, it’s not the freshest style: a few years ago, it felt like there was a new troubadour popping up in New York just about every week. The rawness of Chaz and Roddy’s voices have me hooked though.
Pi’erre Bourne – “Love Drill”
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Pi’erre Bourne’s a little in his feelings on his new album Good Movie. With his The Life of Pi’erre series, the South Carolina rapper/producer worked with bright synths and soft electronic whirrs, building a home for his lovesick crooning and bubblegum lyricism (take “4U,” a long-awaited leak that was officially released last year where he sweetly sings “Like my PlayStation, girl let me console you.”) “Love Drill” is crushing in its simplicity; it’s like watching a relationship fall apart in slow motion. There’s still the same cheesy Pi’erre you’re used to—”All my hoes sharp like a pencil,” he raps—but it stings a little harder hearing someone as goofy and easygoing as Pi’erre talk about heartbreak.
Ghetto Baby Boom – “Stand On Business”
Everything about Ghetto Baby Boom’s “Stand On Business” is chaotic. As soon the racing keys and church bells kick in, there’s no use in trying to tame the Detroit rapper’s temper. Ghetto Baby Boom isn’t as colorful or slick as other Michigan rappers when it comes to punchlines; his blunt raps are more in line with the likes of GMO Stax or Jugg Harden. “Grown man business, this right here ain’t for no lil niggas,” he sneers. Even though you can imagine him angrily underlining every word he says his delivery is ultimately calm and measured, making everything he says sound all the more sinister.
THF G Baby – “Fresh Out The Box”
If someone asked me to describe what rap sounded like in 2022, I might think of someone like Chicago’s THF G Baby. The lightly melodic flows and rowdy beats he prefers gesture toward Atlanta, but his voice and the fuck-em-all attitude in his music are undeniably midwestern. All across the country you can hear these slight mutations on regional sounds and styles. On “Fresh Out The Box,” the Chicago in him sounds a lot more prominent, especially when he sings and sounds like a gruffer Polo G. It’s a synthesis of a bunch of current styles that makes it feel a bit new.
Lerado & Osyris Israel – "FWD"
Listening to Lerado’s “FWD” feels like trying to write down everything all that happened in a fuzzy dream. The St. Paul, Minnesota rapper drags behind the beat, letting his gravelly deadpan drift away in the emptiness of Osyris Israel’s gauzy production. “I got too tired of Earth / Gotta fly,” Lerado shrugs. It’s easy to imagine that line sounding dissatisfied and frustrated, but Osyris’ hypnotic and open production makes Lerado sound like he’s chasing after new highs. Lerado and Osyris Israel never go where you expect them.