Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

Kris Wu, Rich Brian, Trippie Redd, Joji & Baauer – 18

More like 18 feature credits am I right??? (No.)


Claire Biddles: Increasingly these cast-of-thousands tracks have me thinking that just because you can invite everyone in your WhatsApp group to contribute doesn’t mean you should, you know?

John Seroff: “18’s” overstuffed video — a CGI Choose Your Own Adventure set in a Sailor Moon Trapper Keeper — is an appropriately eye-watering match to an overstuffed track. I’m all for maximalist pop, but this sounds more like a late-night conference call brainstorming session than a single.

Ryo Miyauchi: Kris Wu does overt Travis Scott cosplay, Rich Brian flexes his best Takeoff, and Joji sings a mournful bridge cribbed from Lil Peep. While they’re each competent at their respective styles, if they want to transcend their references is another thing entirely. Wu and Rich Brian sound pleased to stick to their lanes for a little longer, and really, there’s not much life in being dependent upon how well they dress themselves into some hot style.

Thomas Inskeep: I find Kris Wu and Rich Brian interesting as ideas more than as rappers, Joji brings the whole track down with his mopey Post Malone-isms, and Trippie Redd is a nothingburger of a rapper. Baauer’s track, meanwhile, is a long way from “Harlem Shake” — suffice it to say, this one won’t be hitting #1. 

Will Adams: Adequate swagger rap for the first two minutes from Kris Wu and Rich Brian, after which the song stops dead in its tracks so Joji can continue to indulge his James Blake self-insert. From there it’s a slog to the finish, with Trippie Redd trying to enliven Baauer’s tame production. It’s a song of two halves, neither of which reach any sort of purpose.

Stephen Eisermann: The song feels like two entirely different songs cut and pasted together by a SoundCloud producer, but I’m not sure which is worse. The beginning feels more like a high school talent show freestyle rap, but the end is boring and hard to understand. Imitation is supposed to be flattering, but I’m not sure that any modern rapper should be flattered by this take.

Katherine St Asaph: Joji, “better” known as Filthy Frank, is now attempting to go “serious,” which means we’re roughly six years away from a fawning New Yorker profile. He, former collaborator Baauer and a meme team of rappers with varying seriousness and good faith manage an OK imitation of rap: aspiring to SoundCloud, residing on YouTube.

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