Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

Nelly & Florida Georgia Line – Lil Bit

Nelly and FGL can have lil a high scoring blurb, as a treat…


Ian Mathers: Florida Georgia Line are to Tim McGraw what this song is to “Over and Over”.

Alfred Soto: Nelly specialized in this crossover shit more than a decade ago when he shared his secrets about country grammar to Tim McGraw.  Apparently so well learned was the lesson that he disappears from subsequent collaborations despite the billing. The giant bit of “Lil Bit” is its hook, sanded by FGL into meaninglessness.  That’s the point, though, right? Eroding racial differences for the sake of collaborative blandness.

Al Varela: I’m conflicted. On concept alone the song sucks. You can tell both artists are in desperate need of another hit so they’re trying to recreate the “Cruise” phenomenon. The mere image of Florida Georgia Line trying to play in the same lane as booty-shaking rap makes my stomach turn. That said, the stomp of the percussion and the fluttering banjo make this way catchier than it deserves to be. Plus, it’s not so aggressive with its blend of hip-hop and country that it’s obnoxious or sounds like a bastardization. Still, for a song that sounds like a bad idea from the start, I’m almost disappointed that it’s not a disaster. Not quite good either, but it should be worse.

Samson Savill de Jong: Nelly and Florida Georgia Line bring out the worst in each other, yet somehow have been allowed to collaborate 3 times and go on tour together. Somebody needs to get on to Nelly’s phone and block FGL before irreparable harm is done, if it hasn’t been done already. Anyway, this song is dull, uninspired, more than a little sexist and patantly unfun, a crime in a song all about having fun. It also includes the line “I’m the black Tom Brady, I’m the GOAT” which is a trite and easy line at the best of times, but the beat drops out and Nelly laughs at himself after it!? He really wants you to notice that line, as if he’s just said something witty or clever or subversive, instead of just saying he’s good like the good American footballer (it’s not like Tom Brady is some underground pick or anything). If that’s the standout moment of the track, the rest of it doesn’t bare thinking about.

Aaron Bergstrom: I have spent far too long thinking about who the real “black Tom Brady” might be: undeniable greatness, deeply weird in an “uncanny valley” sort of way, seems wildly unpleasant to be around. (I think it might be Kawhi Leonard?) It certainly isn’t Nelly, who hasn’t had a new idea in going on twenty years and yet still seems like he’d be fun at parties.

Thomas Inskeep: In case you weren’t aware that Nelly x FGL does, in fact, equal Sam Hunt. Except that Hunt can at least sing. And has something to say.

Tim de Reuse: You could argue over whether or not “country-rap” is a good idea, but the point isn’t relevant here, because the veneer of “country” is paper-thin; if you swapped out that twangy banjo loop for some tropical bells then this could just as easily have come from any regionally-famous European pop-rapper. You could read this as a cynical grasp at crossover success, but, again, why bother? Nelly’s voice layers over itself constantly, hyping himself up from every angle, ensuring that not an instant of negative space is left for you to catch your breath: exhausting by the standards of any genre.

Edward Okulicz: It’s a rap song only nominally, because Nelly sounds like someone’s dad busting out rhymes that are simplistic and generally quite bad, as if he were a pop star who took up rapping late in life rather than being actually a rapper to begin with. It’s also not country either, or at least not country that isn’t already infused with pop. So we’ve got two hybrid genres themselves hybridising, and this is the F2 offspring: a little rap, a little country, the crossover’s baked in with a whole lot of corn. Like many hybrids, it’s sterile, but it is a low-key good time with the good-natured banjo, and a chorus you could follow along with even if you started drinking five hours ago when it was 3pm. Which is exactly how this song makes me feel. But it’s a bop anyway.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Thought experiment: What if at the opening of this track when Florida Georgia Line sing “What up, Nelly?/You ready to do another one, bruh?”, Nelly just responded “No!” and then the track just ended? 

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