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Kodak Black – Ran Up A Check

I don’t know what the sample used in this song is from but there’s something instantly familiar about the funky and bouncy riff that makes it the perfect song to bump on a nice spring or summer day; it reminds me of a skating rink or a block party. Something about it just screams Florida even if you didn’t know that Kodak is from Pompano Beach. Indeed, a young Kodak here is fully aware of this jam’s summery appeal as he commands listeners, ‘Y’all slide this til school start back’.

Kodak’s buzz reached a fever pitch while the young Florida rapper was imprisoned last year, and since he has been released, it has been a tall order to keep track of all the new work he has been putting out, with everyone from the Bronx’s A-Boogie to Memphis’ Blac Youngsta to… the girl from the ‘Cash Me Outside’ memes?? In any case, while still compelling, a lot of his new music since the release and even before then, has (understandably) taken on a bit of a heavier and darker tone, so it’s fun to go back to a more carefree Kodak that was barely old enough to drive and whose main concerns seemed to be not returning to school that autumn and freeing his friends Trap Boy and Cool from jail, although I guess in a way this also hinted of some of the troubles that would come his way. (You know it’s from a different era of Kodak because he doesn’t have his trademark dreads or the new pony tail for lack of a better word that he’s sporting now after surprisingly cutting the dreads off).

My favorite two lines of this were ‘Free Trap Boy, free Cool, I’m going hard I ain’t going back to school’ and ‘Summertime, niggas on the grind with the slabs/overtime nigga finna ride til ya crash,’ while neither was anything crazy they’re both just so memorable and delivered with the cool, casual defiance that I think is a big part of what makes Kodak a star.

Really, my only gripe with this song is that clocking in at an already too short 2:30, Kodak really only raps for about the first minute and a half and the rest is mostly just the beat and some filler/him talking, so the joy the song brings is very fleeting; it’s over almost as soon as it starts, although that’s also part of what makes it such a repeatable track. Gun to my head, if I had to guess, I would say that this was probably my most frequently played track of the past year. One other thing I wanted to mention about Kodak is that it seems like he’s almost attained a mythical, folk hero stature in Florida, whether its hanging out with Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, having the CVS in his town display ‘Free Kodak’ on its LED board, or having legions of diehard fans screaming Free Kodak everywhere they go including presidential rallies. I haven’t heard all of Kodak’s new work yet since there is a lot to keep up with, I’ve loved some of what I’ve heard, some of it I’ve already forgotten about, but I really hope that as he continues his ascent to folk hero status he has a couple more summery, fun songs like this up his sleeve that he’s planning on unleashing on the public soon.

*Update – With the surprising news that apparently his new and official album ‘Painting Pictures’ is being released tomorrow, along with a documentary about himself entitled ‘Project Baby’ it feels good to go back and watch one of the classic Kodak songs like this from before he truly became a larger than life figure. It will be interesting to see what direction he goes in with this new project.

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