Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Song of the Day #336 - Travis Scott & Jeffery - Pick Up the Phone

Birds in the trap sing Brian McKnight~

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZDinQ92OZQ (NSFW)

>hey song of the day is back!!
>song of the day disappears for like a week for no reason

I think it's cause we got off on the wrong foot last time. Bon Iver?? What was I thinking? This is a Young Thug blog. Wait, wait, no... this is a Jeffery blog. Sorry. There's a lot of tracks I want to talk about on his latest project, which has been getting some wonderful reviews across the internet. This is kinda a warmup to some of the crazier ones. I talked about how he seems to be breaking more and more out of the standard "beat + rapper" format, exploring the more "cinematic" territory of Kanye, Frank Ocean, etc, where the lines between performance and production blur... But here it's not so much, it's more just Thugger rapping to a beat with some friends.

But what a beat! And what friends! It's Travis Scott, so you know the production is just loaded with little flairs, totally filling out that mode of "aggressive cloudiness" while still leaving gaps and moments of anticipation... the simple steel drum rhythm at the start contains it all, the way there's slight arhythm of the gap, and then the way the next beat is just very slightly stuttered, almost to "fill it in", and by the time you're hypnotized by that (it really is so addictive!), he can interject all sorts of stuff like... 808 cowbells, huge staticky basslines, and, by the end, huge loopy cloudy apocalypse. And yet you're still transfixed by that original drum rhythm... it's like he somehow sneaked it in through the fog he created. So cool.

The rapping has the same sort of feeling, of that complexity sneaking up on you... everyone has a pretty straightforward verse, but little things like Jeff and Travis synced up on the hook and Travis's signature ad-libs ("Straight up!" is becoming an all-time favorite) keep you engrossed even if you feel like it's "easy". "I don't talk to no man in the middle/I don't talk to no man, I'm just kiddin" is quintessential Thug, but the following "but I did pay my sister's tuition" brings the new spirit of Jeffery.

My favorite, though, has to be Quavo's verse. It doesn't have the typical Migos memes, the insane triplet energy, or the ad-lib overload. In the absence of these things, we can really start to understand the true essence of Migos flow. There's little rhythmic moments, like umm... the hesitation between "I hate when we fight" and "She in love with the pipe", and how it contrasts with the "steadiness" of the next few lines, accumulating in the triumphant "birds in the trap sing Brian McKnight", a line so good that Travis named his whole album after it.

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