The Rap Report: Lil Poppa’s pointillism, YUNGMORPHEUS writes in flames, and more

Plus new music from Lil Poppa, Spliffjit, and Chicken P.

November 10, 2022
The Rap Report: Lil Poppa’s pointillism, YUNGMORPHEUS writes in flames, and more Lil Poppa   Edy Perez / Press

Every week, The FADER’s Brandon Callender shares his highlights from across the rap world, from megastar artists to the deep underground.

Lil Poppa — “Double O”

Lil Poppa approaches songwriting like a pointillist. The small decisions the Jacksonville rapper makes, like where to drop a particular word, or the ones that take a bit more finesse, like how to communicate a complicated emotion in as few words as possible, give the situations he raps about a heightened sense of personal urgency. The gravity with which he presents these images gives him a subtle edge—deepening the emotion in his songs versus other rappers working in the same lane. Take “Double O” off his new album Heavy is the Head, which opens with a note to an incarcerated friend for example: “Know my nigga sitting in his cell prolly listenin’ to this/He know I can’t get him no mail so he gon’ get it through this,” he raps. It’s one of the most devastating couplets I’ve heard all year.

YUNGMORPHEUS — “Sonny’s Triangle”

There’s an ephemeral quality to YUNGMORPHEUS’ “Sonny’s Triangle” that makes it feel like watching someone spell their name with sparklers in the night sky. In his music, the Florida-raised, Los Angeles-based rapper stacks image after image on top of each other with a smooth, conversational delivery. Occasionally, they’ll just be an oddly specific detail, like the spliff he keeps tucked in his hand-me-downs, but more often they’re reflective and insightful nuggets of wisdom. His raps disintegrate as soon as they leave his mouth, leaving only the impression of what was said in DMH’s woozy production.

Spliffjit — “I’m Tieed”

On “I’m Tieed,” Spliffjit sounds like he’s rapping to you while leaning back in the driver’s seat with the radio blaring. There’s a lot on his mind, but he’s not stressed out by much. “Don’t need no lessons or advice cuz I promise I’m fine,” the Tallahassee rapper shrugs. “But when it's time just tell me, God, can you promise a sign?” The weight his bars land with makes them seem as if they’re strung together with the thinnest line of thread imaginable—the following line only popping into his mind when he’s halfway through the former. He could go on forever, but he pulls himself away from the mic after three minutes of meditative raps. It’s a brain dump in the best way.

Duwap Kaine — “Black Fit”

Not many rappers could take the phrase “All black fit, nigga like Opium” and bend, stretch, twist, and dissolve it until it becomes the foundation of a song, but then again, not many rappers can say they’re Duwap Kaine. On “Black Fit,” he’s a ghost draped in Rick Owens, eternally tied to this realm and forced to haunt the dripless. With Nine9’s chilling, crystalline beat behind him, Duwap sounds like he’s in a cutscene for a boss battle. “Black Fit” is my favorite kind of Duwap Kaine song, the ones where no bar was thought about any longer than he needed to. “Did you even brush your teeth before you hated on me?” he asks with a raised eyebrow. You don’t have to get personal to make a diss cut deep.

Chicken P — “Ksubi Jeans On”

Chicken P’s “Ksubi Jeans On” feels like a pressure cooker seconds away from bursting. The ominous chime of bells and dramatic horn stabs of TStreetz’s beat give the song the thick and humid atmosphere of a Juvenile and Mannie Fresh song, but the liquid bass and drums keep the song in the present. Chicken P’s recording with blinders on—barreling forward at full speed without braking. His dope game raps come with the type of gritty and blunt detail that you can hear in songs from Milwaukee and all over Michigan. “Turn the music up, I’m tired of hearing the ringtone,” he raps. It’s like a scene straight out of Snowfall.

The Rap Report: Lil Poppa’s pointillism, YUNGMORPHEUS writes in flames, and more