This newsletter marks the latest installment of Irregular Vegetables, a weekly series of CABBAGES emails where I share links to recent writings from other hip-hop/rap/cannabis journos and critics, squeezing in my own work as I see fit.
Enjoy this week’s reads and keep scrolling for another edition of Crudites, where I recommend three recent singles/videos from hip-hop artists you may not be familiar with yet.
“I think that my strength has always been my vulnerability, but at the same time, it’s always been my weakness because that’s the thing that’s weaponized the most against me,” she says, seeing herself in Samson, the strong man who lost everything in a moment of softness. “I wanted to tell my story based on Samson because there’s been a lot of pitfalls; things that have publicly been about me that would look like a loss.” The precision and intention Chika put into this album is clear. She’s been through hell and high water to get here. Specifically, that meant bouts of mania and suicidality, public outbursts, subsequent shaming, and even allegedly having her completed album stolen by its lead producer. (Read more at Rolling Stone)
I’ve never seen a store clerk with a bigger smile on their face than the woman at the counter when Fatboi barreled into the take-out shop and announced “I told you I’d be bringing more people here!” In the time since Fatboi and Steel Tipped Dove finished recording their new album 'Decay' Fatboi has continued to come down to Brooklyn with different rap friends to keep both Steel Tipped Dove and Sharif’s new friends at the Chinese spot across the street busy. For how dark his music can get Fatboi could not be a more gregarious guy, putting a smile on everyone he encounters. When we bring our order inside the studio Steel Tip informs me that the Chinese spot is one of the few who has been in the neighborhood as long as he has. He moved from his native Poughkeepsie to Brooklyn eighteen years ago and has been in the same apartment the entire time, meaning rappers were bringing over their General Tsos to record in his in-apartment studio a half decade before they broke ground on the Barclays Center. (Read more at Grandma Sophia's Cookies)
O’Connor asked Lyte to feature on the remix to her 1988 single “I Want Your Hands (On Me).” The remix was released as two versions that both include Lyte’s contribution — a grittier “Street” mix and a “Dance” mix both mixed by Audio Two — a departure from the original version’s pretty straightforward but beautiful alt-rockish sound. “She wanted me to rap on her song and say ‘shut the fuck up,’” Lyte told Rolling Stone in 2018. “She was like, ‘Don’t leave that part out. I need you to say that part.’ And so I arranged some lyrics that said that part.” It was a bold move for an artist about to become a pop priority to enlist a rapper and have her bring her best bars and profanity. But as we learned as she rose to prominence, Sinéad O’Connor made edginess her firm handshake and wasn’t going to compromise that for superstardom. (Read more at Okayplayer)
It didn’t take long for “the coolest teen rapper in America” to hone in on his sound and cash in on success (and maybe most importantly, ease his mother’s anxieties in the process). Last November’s release of “Law & Order” shortly followed by “Back Flippin” was the one-two punch that propelled him into the mainstream, with 'My Vision' (most of which was impressively recorded in just a week)serving as the strong debut that locked things in. Tyler’s brand of low-stakes yet remarkably focused Florida street rap firmly places him next to peers like Real Boston Richey and Trapland Pat, who’ve both been rapping for twice as long.(Read more at Brick)
As with much of Scott’s work, the level of polish on Circus Maximus, and the handful of 'Utopia' tracks included, is undeniably impressive. Everything looks and sounds great, and it’s a treat to hear these songs on theatrical speakers. At times, Scott’s intense professionalism feels at odds with his wildman persona, particularly as he spends time here talking about keeping the “rage” going, and rebuking questions about whether his energy level is flagging. There has always been a dissonance between Travis Scott, the one-man billion dollar industry, and Travis Scott, the frenetic live performer who used to get arrested for inciting “riot[s]” at his early shows. Circus Maximus doesn’t do much to reconcile those two sides, opting to preserve a cryptic sense of mystery around its A-list star. (Read more at GQ)
Three new tracks for you to snack on...
Reg Mason, "Handshakes (feat. GINI)"
Sideshow & Alexander Spit, "Chapter 6: Hard 2 Kill"
Aaron Veal, "Sunshine"