Sunday, April 10, 2016

Song of the Day #298 - Young Thug - Tabernacle

I'm not Gucci, burr burr, burr burr burr/That's the sound of my trunk, I got birds inside of there

I almost forgot to do this today but if I miss a day I can't synch up #300 with my birthday so here we are LOL. This is another classic off of 1017 Thug, the only mixtape where every single song is a classic. At this point, we're already 50 minutes in to the tape, and we're getting pretty used to his whole "shtick", to a point not of tiredness, but comfort and confidence, feeling sure that every track will deliver on every aspect we love about him. So when he starts this track shouting "Ho ho ho ho, bitch bitch biiiiiitches", we're shocked, but not shocked about the fact that we're shocked, because that is his shtick: every song unveils an entirely new dimension of how to have fun rapping.

I'm pretty sure the motivating premise of this song is that he's "true to his religion" and has "50 grand in the back of his britches", i.e. his True Religion jeans. But this is as close as we get to a moment of spiritual epiphany in Thugger's world, so from here he declares himself "live from the tabernacle", which is maybe the first time this word has been used in hip hop aside from a curse word in Quebecois rap (jk there was a Royce song called "Tabernacle", I just looked it up, but still). The contrast between the wailing "woah woah woah woah" and the hard clacking tightness of the word "tabernacle" is beautiful, and motivates the central rhythmic duality of the song... it feels like the part of his voice that wants to stretch out these cries is battling itself to stay on beat.

The result is some truly athletic rap, stuff that has a sort of joy of motion... I feel like I could talk endlessly about this with Young Thug, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about by now lol. But my favorite part is where it seems to crash all around him, the last lines of the second verse. I really can't explain what's going on here but I'll try. The previous lines have gotten him so frantic that he needs a sort of "calming" disjoint between "There is no comparison" and "you a real rat like Master Splinter" (btw, lmao). But then he anticipates making an even more jam-packed line, and has to connect the "-ter" of "Splinter" into the first "burr" of the next line... but it's also like he realizes that the way he said "Splinter" makes the end sound like "burr", so he has to point out that he "isn't Gucci", but despite that he keeps making the "burr" sound, and, presenting this sort of circularly-defeating argument, defying the old "if it quacks like a duck, etc etc" paradigm, points out that no, no, that's just the sound of his trunk, which is making the "burr" noises because there's birds inside of there, but of course he doesn't mean literal birds, he means he has bricks of cocaine in there, but they can't actually make any noise! So what's making the noise? It's like... he twists the meter of these lines in such an insane way to accommodate this very specific pattern that doesn't actually make sense. And it's like... what parts of this were necessary? What part came first and necessitated other parts? How is it SO GOOD? It reminds me of the last combo in this clip... actually, if you synch it up just right, so that Abu dies when he says "yeah" after "inside of there", which I just now did accidentally, it's very very satisfying. And now I'm sure I'm not making any sense and should go to bed.

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