Kodak Black – Identity Theft
Kodak with a heartfelt ode to credit card fraud. Rappers have been rapping about the dope game for probably at least 30 years so it’s about time the identity theft game got some love.
Kodak Black ft. Travis Scott, Offset – Zeze
Zeze finally came out and it had your host walking into Midwestern travel plazas and Quaker Steak & Lubes going ‘Bum bum bum bum bum’ and pretending to play the steel drums all weekend while I was on a road trip.
The song with the highly-flammable steel drum beat that Kodak has been teasing in snippets where he’s dancing in his sensibly understated lavender church sweater for the last month or so finally came out, and I’m thankful to say that not only did it live to see the light of day unlike other fire snippets that never lived to see the light of day like ones from Kevin Gates or Ya Boy Big Choo, it also lived up to the hype. The D.A. Doman beat could cure a lot of the world’s problems, you get a simple but incredibly catchy hook from Kodak, and solid verses from Kodak and Offset. An all around solid effort on all levels and certainly a song of the year contender for me. Also my favorite Kodak song I’ve heard since probably some time last year.
My only real gripe is Offset’s lazy ‘in the middle of the field like David Bekcham’ line because it just sounds dated at this point and David Beckham wasn’t even really a central midfielder in the first place, he couldn’t have said someone more current/central like N’Golo Kante or someone and rhymed soemthing with that? But hey c’est la vie.
Kodak Black – Painting Pictures
Given that the only narrative arc with as much scope to it as Kodak’s elevation of his status into both a local folk hero and a veritable cult hero a la a Gucci Mane or Boosie to his rapidly growing legion of fans is the constant specter of legal troubles that has haunted his young career so far, its fitting that rather than with lyrics or a catchy chorus, his debut album Painting Pictures begins with just a stark, minimalist medley of clips from the news of newscasters reading off headlines mentioning his indictments, house arrests, parole violations, no contest pleas, etc. “You know I’m a hot boy, but I never lose my cool, the streets on fire, that’s why I’m riding with a tool,” he raps over the understated, twinkling production from Ben Billions after this on the excellent, minimalist album intro “Day for Day”, who produced many songs on this album. He reminisces on lost friends, both to death and incarceration, like his childhood friend Cool, who he has already done a separate song about (Free Cool). You get a sense of the heaviness he has already felt on his shoulders at a young age from these losses as well as from the pressure on him that he feels (whether internal, external, or both) to succeed for those around him, “I ain’t tryna see the pen I’m tryna make it shake, neighborhood hero I’m the one who gon save the day, chosen one; my folks depend on me to make a way, I do it for my niggas locked up doing day for day.”
Kodak Black released his seminal debut album Painting Picures last Friday, and for most rappers that would have been enough for one week, but for someone who casts as long of a shadow as Kodak, it’s unsurprising that there was also a short biopic style documentary produced by World Star Hip Hop that was released leading up to the album (I will be putting up a review of this album in the coming days, I need to listen to it a couple of more times and let it really sink in before I finish my review, as it is such an impactful album). The recent and sobering news (also revealed at the end of Project Baby) that Kodak was again locked up in Florida right as his biopic and album were released was almost surreal since so much of his music has been about his trials and tribulations of going through the legal system, serving time in prison, and not just the personal struggles that have come along with this but also emerging from the setbacks stronger than ever, with his faith intact, and with a wealth of material to release. Thankfully, according to sources, this most recent run in with the law was just a violation of his probation or house arrest and he should be out free again in a few weeks.