Thursday, October 5th, 2017

iLoveMakonnen ft. Rae Sremmurd – Love

Would you settle for “weReallyLikeMakonnen?”


Crystal Leww: Call it the Lil Uzi Vert effect, but every rapper wants to be a rock star now. Okay fine, that’s never not been the case (Gucci is reportedly a big fan of Marilyn Manson), but it feels so pronounced now with influences drawing on the goofy dirtbags of my teenage years: Hoppus, Madden, and Wentz. iLoveMakonnen always existed on the edges of R&B — “Tuesday” caught on partially because it was just so different from radio R&B — and Rae Sremmurd were always going to try to be pop stars, in the same way that Drake is, by crossing into whatever genre made sense for them. This drags a little too long, probably overstuffed with one too many verses. I vote that the Slim verse is the one to go, if only because Makonnen is so sincerely sad on something so poppy and Swae gotta stay if only for the asshole-ish-ness of “Her friend is quote unquote with me.” Still, all is forgiven by that chorus which is just so much fun.

Julian Axelrod: My one complaint: I’m bummed this isn’t the theme song to a Saturday morning cartoon about Makonnen, Swae and Jxmmi playing pranks at a water park. Whenever I’m distraught about the state of the world, I’m going to whisper “iLoveMakonnen and Rae Sremmurd wrote the best Weezer song in 15 years” to remind myself life can still be beautiful.

Alfred Soto: Ooh — power chords! Portland meets Austin in this Mike WILL-produced rock plodder. Listeners have to get to the chorus to realize the title’s a joke, that “Love” responds to Beyonce’s “middle fingers up” bit in “Sorry.” The Sremmurd boys project their affected ennui convincingly, but the arrangement encourages their dead-eyed tendencies too.

Hannah Jocelyn: I would have guessed either Travie McCoy or Travis Barker was involved with this song, and it turns out the latter co-produced it and played that surf-y drum loop. The song goes on way longer than it needs to, but just hearing Makonnen and the Rae Sremmurd boys trade verses is enough to sustain the five-minute length. 

Ryo Miyauchi: While the new boys of rap turn to nu-metal to exorcise heartbreak, Makonnen and the Sremmurds borrow from the books of pop punk. The bubblegum guitars do better for Swae and Jxmmi, the latter stepping out of character, covering up sincere hurt — “now all I feel is pain” — with the beat’s gleaming sunshine. Makonnen, meanwhile, needs some space. The prickly riffs sound more intrusive to him than it should. 

Tim de Reuse: There’s casual, biting honesty all over the place, and Makonnen’s delivery is thick with enough self-pity to really sell it: “Since you ain’t around / I got my middle fingers up / Fuck love” is a perfect blend of awkward determination and punch-the-wall angst, while “I’m heartless, and I don’t need a donor” is wordplay just dumb enough to come off totally sincere. Though the lyricism is charmingly messy, its presentation is regrettably clean. The crisp handclaps, palm-muted guitar and glassy bells are polished in the direction of Michael Cera indie pop twee, and the prominent autotune on some of the less tuneful verses over-corrects blemishes that didn’t need covering up, which is a technique I’d really hoped died out years ago. A little more off-key grit would have complimented the narrative, but as it stands, it’s a cathartic love-is-bullshit rant trapped behind an overthought, glossy veneer.

Stephen Eisermann: “Love” aka trap artists playing Guitar Hero. Seriously, though, this is pretty good. The early 2000s pop-punk, Simple Plan meets Yellowcard production works well with the voice of Makonnen and Rae, even though it feels like a major juxtaposition of sounds. I’m all for exploring sounds and this feels a hell of a lot better than Lil’ Wayne’s attempt at a similar sound, some years back. The song does run a tad long, but the peppiness of the track combined with the icy, auto-tuned vocals is engaging throughout: so much so, that I find myself wanting to throw my middle fingers up and sheepishly head bang along. Middle school Stephen is all-in.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: There’s a bit of precedence here for Makonnen — his early song “All On You” and a couple tracks he’s done with Phantom Posse — but there’s something to be said about the precision of the mopey complaining on display. The chorus is a delight because these guys already sound like they’re over the heartbreak, and that they’re just having fun with the prospect of being single now. “You turned me into a stoner,” they cry, but do they really sound upset? Regardless, I genuinely don’t care if this song is good (it is) because the fact it exists makes me incredibly happy, and that’s not a statement I’d use to describe how I feel about most art.

Madeleine Lee: My personal nostalgic response to this song is for my undergrad circle of friends, alt bros who had Kanye and T.I. posters on their walls and taught me that “Molly’s Lips” is good for jam sessions because it’s only two chords. The idea that ten years later every music we loved could come together would’ve seemed strange to us, but this is about as good as we could’ve hoped for, and I wish we could sit in the living room on a hungover afternoon to listen to it. I also wish it had garage rock’s brevity, though.

Reader average: [4] (1 vote)

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One Response to “iLoveMakonnen ft. Rae Sremmurd – Love”

  1. this song made me revisit Lil B’s “California Boy”