by Cayle Hotene
I played compton ass terry on a whim – on a sweaty, late-night spiral into a soundcloud-suggested rabbit-hole – and for the first time that day, I paused, I stopped eating, and I stared at the screen. And I rewound it. I rewound it again. The production (unholy, offensively percussive) slapped me in the eye, woke me up, and the vocals – deep, clear, thunderous, almost sermon-like, left me with a bloody mouth.
‘I heard they talking tough, huh?
tell ‘em follow up
then I call your bluff *blows raspberry*
see I thought as much’
And for the first time in a barren 6 months, I found myself saying:
‘Woah. Who the fuck is this?’
Shakir Givens (snubnose frankenstein) has produced extensively for Vince Staples, raps in one of the south’s most promising groups in lousy human bastards!, and the best thing about him is his dislike of banana flavoured sweets (seriously, fuck them ’til the very end). The second best thing about him – his content – has actually flown sort of under the radar, which is all kinds of inexplicable.
There’s a quality about snubnose frankenstein that sounds established, if that makes sense – like he’s not a student, but something bordering on a graduate – which is unusual for someone that’s only dropped one solo project in ‘rapping ass nigga’ (when he was 17, mind). His production is on a par with anyone of this generation.
snubnose’s brothers at lousy human bastards! are a group of like-minded individuals, with a project 2 years old that feels like it was dropped yesterday. In an era of over-gratification, where projects are churned out ceaselessly, they take a refreshingly different tack. That’s not to say they’re not working – Jabbar’s just dropped one of the most polished ep’s of the year – it just means their quality control department is more stringent than most.
And that’s the tantalising, borderline-infuriating thing – you know there’s so much more to come, from lousy human bastards, and from this wunderkind who produces with a rich, worldly ear, and raps as well as he produces. Which is kind of like being the only kid in class with a dinosaur.
stockpiles displays his preternatural talent to create a low-energy banger, ironlung lets any biter know he’s wise to their version of King Louie’s big number, and his first verse on fight for your life betrays a literary nose for everything he writes, opening with: ‘I wear the crown upon a troubled brow.’ which is dope, and a little bit Shakespearean.
That literary knack (shout to Chance) surfaces on his best song in bakshi freestyle. There are lines on here that are among the most incisive, outrageously brilliant I’ve heard for a long time:
‘a lot of niggas only got the iron when its chic
put ’em in the can and they might just spill the beans’
I’m three days into being cognisant of snubnose frankenstein’s music and now I want more. My earlier point about appreciating the drip-feed of music has devolved into a fiendish desire for new music now. So snubnose, if you’re listening, let the people know. Let them press play, let them nod their heads, and then watch them say those precious, little heard words:
‘Woah. Who the fuck is this?’