Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Pill – Trap Goin’ Ham



Michaelangelo Matos: Pies flying, trap goin’ ham, open up the store, eating right: it’s a dirty South food fight! But wouldn’t jumping like some hopscotch make you kind of sick after that Thanksgiving-like meal?

Chuck Eddy: In the great tradition of Tapper Zukie’s “A Message To Pork Eaters,” Jim Jackson’s “I Heard The Voice Of A Porkchop,” the Coasters’ “I’m A Hog For You,” Field Mob’s From The Roota To The Toota, Pigmeat Markham, Onyx (who my son Linus used to think were called “oynx”), and every comedian who ever dodged a pie. Except with space-age synth loops, and Beastie samples.

Anthony Miccio: For a rapper, Pill makes a great crack dealer. Thankfully, his presence is light enough that the keyb arpeggios and crowd hollers still earn him a spot on Now That’s What I Call TRAP!

Al Shipley: I like the weird ambiance of the vocal loops providing a constant bed of slightly unnerving background noise. But six years after Trap Muzik basically laid the blueprint for Southern rap for the rest of the decade, I’ve got trap fatigue, and it takes a little more than gritty atmosphere and food puns to make me give a shit about this kind of song anymore.

Alfred Soto: A cross between Method Man and T.I., this guy has a memorable timbre. What else?

Alex Macpherson: There’s a huge amount going on in this terrific track: it feels packed with life, hyperactive and hungry, which is brilliantly appropriate for a song seeking to depict quotidian community existence. Staccato strings race up and down the scale as though hunting for an escape; ominous synth horns lurk behind every verse; 808 bass occasionally belches at you. Meanwhile, a disorientating vocal chant rises and falls like a Mexican wave going round your brain. It’s a testament to Pill’s charisma that he not only holds our attention but captivates it; he’s a market seller peddling his wares, rising above the clamour through sheer drive as he bends slang into new shapes and drops lines like, “The trap keep a nigga fresher than a peppermint / White house got me a pocket full of presidents.”

Martin Skidmore: Dirty South hip hop with a pizzicato violin sample that I really like, over some fuzzily strong beats. I like Pill too, drawling his rhymes with style and attitude, though it could use a vocal hook as memorable as the plinking strings. I have no idea what he is on about, but I suspect he is not trying to communicate with 50-year-old Englishmen.

Anthony Easton: I like how fast his flow is, and how it tells small regional stories.

John Seroff: Pill’s self assured, braggadocio, monster-movie flow is perfectly spat over the menacing Burn One hook: sharply plucked strings and portentous brass rippling shockwaves through an endless, undulating B-Boy groan. Fans of Crime Mob, Triple Six and Clipse will find plenty to love on the excellent (and free!) mix, but on the strength of “Ham” alone, Pill makes a strong case for the Rookie of the Year shortlist.

Jonathan Bradley: Frenetic and bewildering, and that’s before you get to the dense jargon; listeners could indeed be forgiven for finding the talk of yams, flying pies and traps going “ham sanwiches” more opaque than a foreign policy position paper, and twice as surreal. The beat is half plinky Southern junkyard arpeggio and half zombie Beastie Boy lurch (that’s Licensed to Ill‘s “The New Style” moaning away in the background). “Going ham,” as your friendly neighborhood New York Times reviewer can tell you, means going nuts, and “Trap Goin’ Ham” has the bolted-together volatility and off-kilter momentum of a machine on the brink of breakdown. Even Pill’s throaty, rolling flow sounds uncontainable; this is a pot about to boil over.

16 Responses to “Pill – Trap Goin’ Ham”

  1. Ha; Ship, you probably single-handedly stopped this from the top ten!

  2. Should’ve given this the 7 I was suspecting it deserved before deciding to play safe.

  3. I was looking forward to Jordan and Rodney’s blurbs on this :(

    Second the mixtape recommendation – prob my favourite of the year, just ahead of Nicki Minaj’s Beam Me Up Scotty and Gucci Mane’s Writing’s On The Wall. “Back Outside” and “Bunkin'” are highlights, plus he handles beats from “I Got 5 On It” to “Single Ladies” with real skill.

  4. I’ve been on vacation, and while I have computer access, I haven’t had the time/inclination to write for the jukebox while I’m away.

    This is one of my top 5-10 singles of the year, though. It’s one of those raps where I catch a new quotable every listen (most recently, “Let’s say you doin’ baseball numbers/ I got a bonus on my check ’cause of base-runnin'”), and the wiriness of his flow fits the insistent beat like a glove. I kind of agree with Shipley on one level, except for the fact that Pill uncliches all that ATL trap talk and makes it exciting again.

    I also like A. Easton’s line about “small regional stories.”

  5. That is a great picture, btw, almost calculatedly unpretentious.

  6. I’ve been on vacation, and while I have computer access, I haven’t had the time/inclination to write for the jukebox while I’m away.

    ^^i gotta cop to this exact same excuse

  7. In retrospect, I underrated this. The video is WACK.

  8. pill is really a consistently great lyricist and everyone should download his mix

  9. he’s really fantastic. besides his lyrics, i love the way he enunciates – it’s nice to have a rapper drop out of nowhere (to me, at least) and do a lot of things well and minimize annoying tendencies a lot of trend-hopping ziptapers seem to fall back on.

    lex is right, too, he kills that “single ladies” beat, the beat’s a hell of a lot more versatile than i ever gave it credit for. my favorite besides this song is probably “take your medication” (which contains the lyrics “properly address a hater / leave him on a respirator / brain dead in a bed / line stay vegetative). killer mike drops a nice few bars somewhere in the middle of this tape too

  10. Obv, now we’re talking “Single Ladies” remixes, I gotta rep for Nicki Minaj’s version. “Get my chopsticks, gimme my won ton!”

  11. this thing needs a recount imho

  12. lex is that on her mixtape? gonna go download that now..

  13. It’s not on her mixtape! But I’m sure you can find it as a ~free-floating entity~ out on the interwebs. And you, and everyone, should d/l her mixtape anyway: her verse on Drake’s “Best I Ever Had” is amazing.

  14. Actually, both her mixtapes: Sucka Free from about a year ago, and this year’s Beam Me Up Scotty.

  15. Haha, Alfred. Half the blaugh hype around this song has been all, “The video capture the gritty realities of the ghetto like Juvenile’s ‘Ha’, therefor it is a Great Rap Video,” which is completely unwarrented, considering how artless Pill’s video is by comparison.

  16. Pill is the future. Nuff said.