And what YouTube channel is this on? Why, 50CentMusic, of course!…
Jonathan Bogart: Listening to this as I drove through the sleek, hot darkness of the city in summer, I found myself thinking about myths, and the way pop music creates and feeds and delivers certain myths to certain audiences. The myth delivered by this song — a very familiar one having to do with how virility, the ostentatious display of wealth, a ruthless understanding of how the world works, and black male American identity are all bound up in each other — strikes no particular resonance with me, but as a generalist I greatly admire the care with which it is constructed. Of course, the fact that I was thinking about myth instead of the song means it wasn’t grabbing me; and beyond the minimalist pitch-shifted woodblock beat, I barely remember a thing about it.
Katherine St Asaph: Is these guys’ idea of a good video rolling one cliche into another, Katamari-style? Have we really reached the point in nostalgia where we’re going to mine Soulja Boy for our beats? I am perplexed. Perplexed and absolutely repulsed.
Chuck Eddy: So, is this the first “jerk music” move by big-name rappers, or just the first one about an Italian guy named Beamo Mesobelli? Sounds cute, either way. Too bad they have to say other words.
Martin Skidmore: The spooky glockenspiely backing here sounds very Bay Area to me, rather than East Coast — I’ll be pleased to see hyphy influences spread. Lloyd is on good form too, with consistently inventive lyrics, and Juelz more or less keeps up. I think Lloyd’s been a bit undervalued, and maybe the excellent beat here will help turn that around.
Michaelangelo Matos: Enjoyed this one much more than expected, but maybe I shouldn’t be surprised: I always enjoyed “On Fire” from Banks’s ’04 debut, and this one adds just enough sugar to the hook that it brightens things without going too sweet. Like stumbling on a very good crime movie on TV at 3 a.m.
Al Shipley: Few hits this year have been more surprising than a team-up from two mid-’00s New York rap second bananas whose respective first bananas have a hard enough time getting on the radio now themselves. And while this song isn’t quite good enough to justify such an unlikely sleeper hit, it’s certainly a bit more effortless and fun than the average NYC-goes-ringtone concession.
Jonathan Bradley: Two consiglieres from New York crews that have almost entirely disintegrated unite over a love of automobiles, their bosses’ beef long forgotten. The rendezvous takes place late night in the luxury lot while eerie pings and distant sirens echo through the city that never sleeps. Banks and Juelz mutter grit-mouthed gasconades, at times at faceless women, but always at each other, mutually reinforcing the careful balance each builds between the beat’s brusqueness and the subject matter’s opulence. A remix features The-Dream cooing over “Gucci-Prada-Fendi”; but the original “Beamer” disdains that finery, even though Juelz name drops Louis Vuitton and and Ralph Lauren. Disregard the brand names; “Beamer, Benz or Bentley” is back-alley street rap, bare Gotham batter in the vein of “Crunk Muzik,” and “I Got Money,” or, if luck should strike this summer, Vado’s “Large on the Streets.” The sound of the birthplace in the post-boom-bap era.
Ian Mathers: I really love the production here, especially the drums, but it feels as if we’ve run into it before here on the Jukebox — multiple times, even. It’s so good — cavernous and ice cold, booming and twitchy — that really all you need are a few rappers willing to keep up the pace. These guys are adequate. At least Juelz is personable in his generic misogyny; Banks is just boring.
Kat Stevens: Oh god I just realised that LLOYD is a type of BANK and now I am picturing various enthusiastic branch employees in polyester blazers driving three expensive cars down a local high street while telling me about inflation-linked savings accounts.