Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

Blocboy JB ft. Drake – Look Alive

…And The Mystery Of The Misleading “ft.”


Julian Axelrod: Drake makes Blocboy sound like a feature on his own song, not through a show-stopping virtuosic verse but through basic competency and sheer personality.

Thomas Inskeep: Memphis rapper BlocBoy JB is essentially a guest on his own breakthrough single — he has the second verse, while Drake takes the entirety of the rest. But when Drake sounds this lively — he’s rapping! and not being all mush-mouthed and emo! — I can get down with that. The slightly sinister piano in the background is reminiscent of Three Six Mafia, which I also appreciate. 

Alfred Soto: “I’ve been gone since like July/niggas actin’ like I died” — oh shut up. With yet another American top ten debut, Aubrey Graham uses another up and comer to remind listeners of his right to insist. The piano hook is too perfect a complement for his hornet’s timbre. 

Stephen Eisermann: Drake steals the show here, sounding more energized and more full of conviction than he has sounded in recent memory. Too bad, then, that the song continues with Blocboy’s verse which is uninteresting and delivered poorly; not even Drake’s newfound grittiness can elevate that second verse. 

Andy Hutchins: No one trend chases (or straight up bites stylesquite like Drake. But it’s fair to say few could pull it off as adeptly: he’s chameleonic or malleable or versatile, depending on your degree of charity, and he can sound as imperial on a up-and-coming Memphis rapper’s turf and terms as he does on his own stomping grounds. Blocboy is A Thing largely because he doesn’t just play the heavy in his videos, incongruously dancing like a total goof and inadvertently inspiring what could have been Vine crazes a couple of years ago; the gun talk is his milieu, though, and so Drake is here to scoff and scowl and purloin Project Pat bars before Bloc shows him up with the simplest similes: “brown like cinnamon,” “rounds like Sugar Ray Robinson,” “spray him — like some FUH-BREEZE.” This all works, because secret weapon Tay Keith has made menace out of six or seven keys, a tea-kettle synth and a skeletal snare. (It is, though, deeply unconvincing for the man who a) made “Hold On, We’re Going Home” and b) has managed his career to the point that bragging about wearing name brands is a sea change from a time when swooshes bloomed out of nowhere to present himself as someone who could actually get pushed to the edge and taken to jail. C’mon.)

Ryo Miyauchi: Drake said “without 40, Oli, there’d be no me” on “God’s Plan,” but he actually sounds more revived over Tay Keith’s ominous piano banger. He drops enough off his chest to upgrade his feature spot as co-billing. For BlocBoy, though, this is simply just another street hit in the bag.

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