Ohhhhhhh yeah. Stop the presses, stop the presses! We interrupt this broadcast to bring you good tidings and news of Berner’s new collaboration with Young Dolph and Gucci Mane, ‘Knuckles’. Seriously could there be any better news for an erstwhile, newly out of the closet Berner fan such as myself than news that not only does he have a new song with The King of Memphis and Wop, but that he has a whole EP coming out with Dolph? (Berner is carving out quite the niche market for himself with these ‘collaboration’ albums/mixtapes he’s got projects out with everyone from Cam’ron to The Jacka, including his most recent ‘Vibes’ project with Styles P which was a very solid release). I feel like Big Bern’s stock is at an all-time high right now. Ask the rap gods for new Berner material and ye shall receive. Honestly at this point I may need to make a new category on this blog for Just Berner. At this point it’s too early to say but Knuckles may be my favorite Berner song, and you’re talking to a man who listened to a good 4 Berner albums on a long drive last night.
According to Dirty Glove Bastard, the upcoming project with Young Dolph, entitled ‘Tracking Numbers,’ will have features from Gucci Mane, Peewee Longway, OJ Da Juiceman, Juicy J, Philthy Rich, and more. I can’t wait to hear the one with Project Pat. I loved DGB’s tepid/noncommital reaction to news of the Berner/Dolph project – “Berner & Young Dolph were probably the last 2 people you’d expect to collab for an entire project, but here we are.” You’ve got to love the ‘But here we are’ as the way to end your thoughts on something that you’re just not sure what to make of. Also, are the ‘Tracking Numbers’ referred to in the title referring to shipments from the Cookies clothing line that this hard-working fashion entrepeneur is senidng out to his customers, or to ‘cookies’ of a more illicit nature? Only time will tell when the album comes out.
I was excited enough just to see an unexpected collaboration between these 3, but the beat by TraxxFDR (who has collaborated with Berner previously and whipped up some magic with him on my previous favorite Berner song) is absolutely delicious and takes this song to a whole different level. I’m curious who made it and what the sample is from. It has me feeling like I’m at a roller rink in the 70s with Berner, Dolph and the crew just casually skating around, smoking some cookie, chatting up the roller girls. If I do a ‘beats of the year’ type article at the end of the year this one has staked a strong claim to the top of the list.
I loved Big Bern’s opening salvo “No handouts, I got here with nothing. The bezel and band on my wrist keep busting. I got birds from the Asians, guns from the Russians, VVVS’s on my chain keep dancing all custom” BUT the part of his verse that put it over the top for me and really spoke to me, as a big introvert, was Berner’s bold declaration “Fuck the club, dog. I’d rather stay in. I’ve got stacks to count, plus this batch just came in.” We definitely need more of that attitude in the rap world I’m all for it. I mean I don’t have many stacks to count when I stay in it’s more likely that I’m just eating takeout and watching Shark Week or Drugs Inc. but I’m feeling what he’s saying.
Berner’s chill, relaxed Bay Area flow goes great with Dolph’s blustery South Memphis swagger and Gucci’s unpredictable but unmistakable voice and style.
The title comes from the chorus, where Berner extols the value of hard work and implies that being broke is tough but the real challenge is climbing up out of it: “I’ve got scars on my knuckles, money and the muscle… all hundreds in my bundle, it was hard being broke but getting money is the struggle.” I can’t wait for Tracking Numbers to come out at the end of this month.