It almost feels crazy to write a ‘top 10 songs of December 2017’ after just doing a top 50 songs for the year 2017 but there’s just too much going on right now to skip it. This month had new albums from Shy Glizzy and Lil Boosie, a new mixtape from Lil Wayne that was more interesting in theory than practice, a couple new albums from some of Detroit’s lovely ladies like Molly Brazy and Cuban Doll, and was capped off with ‘The Gift’ from FMB DZ. As you can see below I’m still on my Detroit grind right now with a couple of tracks by longtime favorites making some heavy, profound music (and an unexpected rainbow-haired interloper) mixed in.
Sada Baby – Free 80’s
“Real nigga look me in my eyes, I ain’t fake at all.”
While December was an amazing month for new music with new albums from heavyweights like Shy Glizzy and Lil Boosie to Sada Baby’s fellow Detroit native FMB DZ, I don’t think I listened to any song more times on repeat this month than ‘Free 80s’. There’s just something about the swagger and veneer that Sada brings to the track that makes this song compelling, more so than any specific line or lyric. Taylor Greer of Fake Shore Drive described it best, saying “The truth is, Detroit is in a league on their own, and has been for some time. The artists and music that you hear in the city, provide a glimpse into a culture surrounded by ingenuity and preserved by the hustle. So when you hear artists like Sada Baby or 80’s spit, just know you’re not just hearing lyrics over a beat — you’re actually hearing the ingenuity of the artist’s hustle.”
I love the cameo from FMB DZ in the video when Sada Baby mentions him (making multiple appearances on this songs of the month list even when he’s not actually in the song!) supporting his fellow Plymouth Road rapper, as well as the cameo from Tee Grizzley’s chain.
The vest with no shirt under it combination does not work for most people and I certainly wouldn’t dare try to pull it off but Sada just has so much swag he’s able to pull it off and override any concerns that the average person would have when rocking that look. (Now I’m not saying I want this to spark a trend, let’s keep it to just Sada for now).
“I won’t talk about no shit that I don’t know bout. If that chopstick ain’t on me I don’t go out.”
“I’m an east side nigga with a roll on me. I can’t say none of my niggas ever told on me. They won’t ever let no other niggas roll on me. Big face (???) type of niggas never fold on me. Tooda Man gon do what’s right if you act wrong on me. He done killed a nigga if he swung on me. Know I kill a nigga if he swung on me. Bang bang close range I got blood on me. Step on the work like it’s a motherfucking rug. I can’t talk to nobody unless I’m off my drugs.” (I love the look that Tooda Man grills the camera with when he’s mentioned in the verse).
“I’m in Cali you niggas at home want to trade places? I’m just out here facing, stacking, yelling free 80s!”
“Burberry shirt cost an ounce of cookie, young Skuba Steve different type of rookie. Monkey nuts everywhere the wop look like Jumanji.”
The ‘Free 80’s’ title and chorus are in reference to Eastside 80s, an imprisoned Detroit rapper. All of the current wave of Detroit rappers go hard but Sada Baby also adds in a twist of personality and humor along with some wierd flows and wordplay to give him a style all his own. No one else besides him could pull off a red ranger Power Ranger tattoo and actually make it look kind of dope. I’m in the middle of listening to his new mixtape ‘Dat One Nigga’ right now and should have a couple of highlights from it up here soon. Sada Baby already ‘blew up’ in 2017 but I think we’re going to be seeing him everywhere in 2018.
FMB DZ – All the Smoke
I’m tempted to say that no rapper had a bigger/better 2017 than FMB DZ or burst onto the scene with more of a bang.
A perfect Yuletide gift indeed from a gun-wielding, Buffs-sporting Santa Clause…
“Nigga ain’t my man if he ain’t riding with me, I fuck with the BandGang I got Mas with me. My nigga (?) got a sleeve and a 550, I got popped I could have died I had God with me. A nigga gotta die if a nigga want beef. Free my nigga 80’s I’m good in the East. You know this bitch a classic with Ant on the beat. Niggas know that I’m gonna shoot so they pass it to me.”
“You’ve got guns I got guns we can shoot it out. I’m aiming for a nigga’s head I ain’t killing clouds. Lord forgive me always been a wild child, two FNs and two chopsticks cost me five thou. Nigga telling me I’m next bitch I’m up now, I’m in Houston making plays bitch I feel like Yao.”
“Put a nigga on your block so we can find the house, firebomb will chop y’all down while you’re running out”
I ended up lazily forgetting to put together a top 20 mixtapes/albums to go along with the top 50 tracks of 2017 that I did a couple of posts ago, but it’s safe to say FMB DZ would be on the list twice this year; once for The Gift and once for Washington DZ.
Shy Glizzy – Take Me Away
From the previous post…
The Glizzy Gang head honcho has a knack for these heavy but melodic songs like this that focus mainly on death and what people will be saying when he’s gone/what type of legacy you leave behind, i.e. this one and 2015’s ‘Funeral’, which was previously Glizzy’s finest work in my opinion. ‘Take Me Away’ is the standout track from his recent ‘Quiet Storm’ album and may challenge Funeral for his career best so far.
I love the montage setting the mood in the beginning of the video, with the random, dispassionate shots of Glizzy’s hood (the overgrown back alleys behind apartment buildings, clotheslines, staircases, the D.C. skyline off in the distance, a police helicopter circling overhead, guys posted up on the corner) interspersed with him walking in the rain and waiting in his house with police sirens outside the window. The cold, sobering beat goes perfect with it. I’m certainly no expert on this type of thing but the intro is A+ cinematography. It really feels like the calm before the storm.Even the title ‘Take Me Away’ goes perfectly with this vibe.
From a fashion perspective, I’m not sure if I’m feeling the Supreme umbrella but those Georgetown Hoyas shorts are fire. Bonus points since he’s representing DC AND because I looked for them online and couldn’t even find them so a rare gem indeed. (Another side note – Lightshow also had a song called ‘Burberry Umbrellas’ recently. What’s with these DMV-area rappers and high-end designer umbrellas?).
The chorus is simple but hits hard – ‘If the streets take me away, a real nigga I die.” He’s come to terms with the fact that he can die any day in the environment he’s in and while he’ll survive at all costs at least if he dies he feels like he never caved in or folded and no one can say he wasn’t ‘real.’ It’s a steadfast but sobering message and I would imagine this song was probably influenced by the recent death of 30 Glizzy.