Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

The Bangz ft. New Boyz – Found My Swag

The one in the middle is the one that’s actually in the group, btw…


Kat Stevens: Child celebrities tend to be either inane or terrifying. Soulja Boy’s lot have the former category sewn up at the moment, so I guess that means jerk kidz are about to turn around to face their parents — staring with vacant glassy pupils — to chant in unison “We know your secrets. Unless you obey our commands we will sell them to Take A Break magazine.” Their mums and dads will hear the bone-chilling choir in the background, recall the decapitation scene in The Omen with a shudder, and cough up for an Xbox.

Martin Skidmore: Actually this is just the one Bang: Sabi’s partner Ella Ann was shot last September, the day she was to record her vocals, and she can’t walk or speak yet. Sabi sounds good on this, sweet and bright over the jerking rhythms, with the poster boys of jerk guesting. It probably doesn’t have the hookiness of “You’re A Jerk”, but you can’t help wishing them luck.

Chuck Eddy: This is twice as long as should be, and the Bangz take too long (over a minute) to show up; strange, seeing how they’re supposedly the main artists and all. When they come in they’re doing uneventful R&B singing stuff instead of rapping. And when they do start rapping, it’s not all that eventful either (and neither is New Boyz’ rapping, actually. Also, I don’t give a shit about “swag.”) Though I do like the part that rhymes “astro…naut” with “really really hot.” And the martian rockit beats are cool. And eventually the chorus kicks in. And they all look super cute and spirited in the video. So I guess:

Martin Kavka: I haven’t been a fan of the New Boyz when they’ve appeared on the Jukebox earlier, but I bust out laughing at Legacy’s line “my shit outta this world like I doo-doo’ed on Saturn,” and my smile only got broader in subsequent listens. The production is more appealing here than in past anthems I’ve heard from the jerk scene, too, although Al Shipley’s remark about the scene’s overdependence on five-year-old beats does apply in this case.

Mallory O’Donnell: OK, so they definitely need to find a new beat to jack. Still, this is the very essence of hip-hop — doing a thing, doing it well, doing it over and over again. What New Boyz do well is sound youthful and insouciant without the undeserved sense of entitlement and po-faced antics of Lil’ Wayne and Young Whomever. Plus, this one’s fun for the girls as well as the boys. I mean, who doesn’t love a little light-hearted theft?

Alex Ostroff: It’s telling that even functioning at 50% capacity, there’s not much that can stop The Bangz. Sabi’s given us a hook nearly as catchy as “Boys With Tattoos”, and acquitted herself quite well on the mic — notable given that until Ella Ann was hit by a stray bullet in October, Sabi had never rapped. With an assist from the New Boyz (“nosy little kids trynna Budden like Joe”, “my iPod got The Bangz like it’s wearing a wig”), and some solid moments from Sabi (“Best they ever had/put ’em in the bag/on to the next one”), “Found My Swag” is a worthy enough successor to their debut. The little production touches, however, put this over the top: the vocal loop (of Ella?) that underpins the entire beat; the cowbell and woozy descending vocals at 2:00 — in and out in 10 seconds, but what wondrous seconds!; and that video (I mean, fuck MGMT – no one has as much fun OR as much neon as the Jerk scene).

Anthony Miccio: Smug, callow kids imitating smug, callow adults. Kept praying for Kris Kross to leap down from off-screen and blow this shit up hardcore.

Alfred Soto: Apt title — from the finger snaps to the “Killing Me Softly” sample, this is as assured and heartless as assembly line hip-hop can be, helmed by future young pros as cool as Kriss Kross. They dream about sex tapes without knowing whether they’ll ever be famous enough to make one themselves, giggle their way past silly lines, and cleverly let their female companion voice the most boastful verses. Let’s hope they got a “Warm It Up” ready to go.

Alex Macpherson: The jerk kids have mostly gained plaudits for their attitude, style and street dance sensibility, but “Found My Swag” is a reminder that you don’t get to pull something as sparse and vocal-foregrounded as this off without both lyrical distinction and dexterity, too. Though The Bangz are sadly reduced to a solo act here, Sabi holds it down for her partner in crime with her usual insouciance, taking us to space and back in Vera Wangs and mixed-race pride before casually disposing of her conquests: “Boys are like a shopping spree, I just put ’em in the bag / Or hand ’em off to Ella, let her pop a couple tags / Cuz that boy is out of style, on to the next fad!” And talking of whom, New Boyz’ Legacy comes up with a pretty convincing riposte to some earlier demands: “They be like, is you tatted? I say naw, but I’m packin’ — put out a sex tape and we both be blastin’.”

Ian Mathers: This song does a bunch of things I’m a total sucker for: that slow drum beat that punctuates the track like someone’s holding it back, the should-be-eerie backing vocals, a lot of space in the production and most importantly the feeling that all involved are having a lot of fun. In some ways it reminds me of Vistoso Bosses’ “Delirious” despite having little in common with that song sonically or lyrically; both are bursting with jubilance above and beyond their subject matter, and both only took a few listens to become completely indelible.

Matt Cibula: Jerk music seems to be controversial for some reason, but it’s fine by me. This little old DIY banger bites about 50 different things but manages to stay crispy even in the milk of this milky world. Honestly I almost gave this a 9 because it has the first “Recess” shoutout in hip-hop history, but then I got scared of my antiquity and knocked it back down again. Damn kids.

Additional Scores

Anthony Easton: [7]
Michaelangelo Matos: [8]

One Response to “The Bangz ft. New Boyz – Found My Swag”

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