Thursday, March 14th, 2019

Blueface ft. Cardi B – Thotiana (Remix)

How much Blueface is enough?


Joshua Minsoo Kim: The problem with all these “Thotiana” remixes is that the featured artists water down the thrill of the original with 1) longer runtimes and 2) more traditional rapping. Cardi B’s energy is magnetic and her verse is relentlessly pornographic to fit the song’s themes, but it’s a net loss with all things considered.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: The original “Thotiana” was a perfect candidate for fluke rap hit of the year: its beat, a candy-encrusted LA facsimile, was undeniable, its hook deeply memeable, and Blueface’s verses on the right side of amateurish. Yet the song’s remix, which brings in Cardi B to double down on the cartoonish sex rap of the original, improves on the formula simply by having less Blueface except where absolutely necessary. Where he played lines like “I’m every woman’s fantasy” with a half wink, unsure whether to come off like an actual sex god or a meme of one, Cardi fully commits to the horniness of her verse, taking lines that I’m not sure I can quote without sounding deranged and giving them such a confidence that they come off as normal boasts. On “Thotiana,” Blueface sets out the original outrageous claim, but it’s Cardi that does the work of shifting the Overton window right into it.

Crystal Leww: The original is easily a [8], if only for it’s weird, off-beat (literally) energy. The song’s concept has been done to death, from Juvenille to Sage the Gemini, and Blueface adds his own, completely serviceable entry to the mix. A remix with a Cardi B verse to add a big name is wholly unnecessary and slightly worse than the original. Still good though, if only because of Blueface’s weird charm. 

Jonathan Bradley: One reason I enjoy Blueface so much is that, at a time in which many of rap’s most popular figures are using melody to push their flow into new places, his deliberately akimbo delivery turns his words into abrasive protruberances. There’s a transgressive pleasure in hearing something so ugly. The “Thotiana” remix has a lot of Cardi B, whose Bronx vowels make her stand out in a different way, which means it has less Blueface: a loss, to be sure. It still has his percussive hook, however, which he likely repeats so often because it’s really fun to say. It’s paired with a drifting and addictively simple piano line that gives the song a hazy, late-night feel; it belongs on the freeway home as much as it does to the strip club. The combination of theme and beat is a malleable one, and I’d be happy to hear a dozen rappers over it. Bring back the posse cut — and then bring back Blueface.

Iris Xie: If disorganization is the destination, “Thotiana” works, with the way the compressed slings of the rhyme work with the tinny piano, the bass, the hazy bells, and that it goes against the beat. But with the vocal tracks on top, it gets more confusing: Blueface sounds like he’s weaving and drifting through the track — either with ease or he’s hella faded? Cardi B pumps the track with charisma and conviction, as usual, solidifying her reliability as a stamp of approval, but she sounds like she’s tripping a bit towards the last few bars of her section. But honestly, I think this song is probably best enjoyed with a slower cognition, either from being high or from sleep deprivation, to smooth it all out into coherence and to take in properly how the beats step up and down. 

David Moore: “Thotiana” is shaping up to be this year’s “Slide,” the song where every iteration after the original improves it in some new way, leading to an embarrassment of riches from unexpected corners and viewpoints and reinterpretations. Except this one’s not quite embarrassing yet, as the riches aren’t breaking free from the original, which itself isn’t as provocative as FBG Duck’s “Slide” was as a foundation and also has way too much Blueface left in it (which is one reason why Nicki’s and Young M.A.’s versions are more interesting). Here Cardi strides commandingly through another leg of her featured credit imperial phase without breaking a sweat.

Thomas Inskeep: In case you’re not sure just how bad a rapper Blueface is, listen to him vs guest Cardi B on this remix of “Thotiana” — he’s just half-talking, mumbling his way over the track, while she rides its rhythm with flair. If this were just Blueface’s record I’d give it a [1], but at least Cardi’s parts are listenable. Trash this and listen to “Please Me” another time.

Maxwell Cavaseno: Is there some way that I can explain to whomever of the half-dozen labels that Blueface is supposedly contracted to that we liked the clips from the viral songs that Twitter boosted, not his flat and lifeless radio singles? Already on it’s 2nd remix, “Thotiana” isn’t even the most exciting club record in the (admittedly sparse) Blueface catalog, let alone out of LA in the last couple years, but it’s apparently worth flogging to death in spite of the generic quality of the beat and the generally underperforming Blueface verse. Cardi, to her credit, is a significant boost for the record, but even that can’t float this dead weight.

Will Rivitz: A slightly better “Look Alive,” where the high-profile feature is so domineering that the track suffers because of it. I can forgive Drake, because he’s so thoroughly unable to not be Drake that his verse on Blocboy JB’s sleeper hit is unremarkable, but Cardi, who has demonstrated her exceptional malleability time and time again, should have been able to play off Blueface’s immutable Bluefaceness in a more interesting manner. The Cali rapper’s original is tight, goofy, and syntactically stellar, a cute Fiat chugging along the highway; Cardi’s Maserati diminishes its charm.

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