Monday, December 16th, 2013

Rocko ft. Future & Rick Ross – U.O.E.N.O.

Next, direct from Conor: “The best Future hook of the year is stuck in a song mired in controversy. (suspense! drama! intrigue! THINK OF THE BLURBS.)”

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: “U.O.E.N.O.” is a time capsule of a year in hip-hop. Let’s look and see! [1] Rick Ross’s line about spiking a girl’s champagne overshadowed the song’s success (and much of Rozay’s year), but it also showed hip-hop’s ability to police itself, redressing offences ranging from Rozay, to Lil Wayne making Emmett Till jokes and to J. Cole’s jabs about autism. [2] Childish Major’s woozy vortex-pinball beat introduced many to the next generation of oddball Atlantan beatmakers. From a purely musical standpoint, Major and compadres Dun Deal, C4 and Metro Boomin’ made street rap a weirder thing in 2013, their cults all steadily growing and seeping slowly into the mainstream. [3] Future arguably had less of a creatively miraculous year than in 2012, but his style spread further through hip-hop, effectively creating offshoots of what our David Turner coined as distinctly “post-Future rappers”. [4] Finally, longtime ATL second banana Rocko ended the year moving into an executive role to little fanfare, taking his biggest hit seriously to the very end — he quit rapping and U.O.E.N.O. it.

Brad Shoup: Can it be an ode to the stealth life? Nah, it’s about our limits: limits of credit, limits of imagination. That daydreaming squiggle is sure pondering hard, though. These guys made a hook out of something practically cadence-free: that’s imagination. Rozay tries to keep the relationship fresh with CRIMEZ: that’s dumb. Try to focus on the staticky voices: a subliminal pep talk, an internal inventory.

Jonathan Bradley: Rick Ross has done a lot of bad things in song; bad things might be all he’s done in song. Date rape isn’t even the worst of these, but his crime is particularly skin-crawling here: one of those moments in which the artist’s reading of his actions ceases to align with that of the listener. Childish Major’s eerie, nauseous beat accentuates the unpleasantness; Ross sounds sinister and not in the way he wants to be. Silver lining? Schoolboy Q received a chance to flip Rozay the bird on the Black Hippy remix (“Molly in her drink, but she asked me to“), making for what might be the highest profile rap dispute featuring blokes accusing one another of sexism since Jay and Nas had that fight about which of them was more misogynistic. Anyway, the five words or five letters that make up the hook are by far the best thing here: some really quite exceptional scaffolding that could have made for this year’s “Stay Schemin'” or “I’m On One” if only there were a single memorable line — other than the one everyone involved would rather forget.

Patrick St. Michel: Rick Ross loves the same Wingstop flavor I do, which seems like a good enough reason to give this lazy number an extra point.

Alfred Soto: Future and the languid synth squiggle form an excellent hook: a generation coming of age after Dre and Snoop’s also tried something similar with fulsome George Clinton samples. Ross’ Method acting, however, upends the proceedings; his verse plays like the moment in a Cassavettes movie when improv and bad acting reduce the performer into a rocket-fueled asshole.

Conor McCarthy: In an attempt to stay ahead of the game and the other musicians (arguably) biting his style, Future’s stated in interviews that he wants to push himself to try “some off the wall shit.” As both a left-field pop move and a sprint away from Wayne-ian autotune, ‘UOENO’ succeeds. His “You on’t e’en know” mantra, accompanied by the sleep-paralysis sounds courtesy of Childish Major, stays in its listeners’ ears long after the song ends. Rocko and Rick Ross both repeat the phrase, “You don’t even know it,” quite a few times themselves, but it’s Future’s tone, and his heavy-lidded manner of speaking, that have embedded themselves in the collective Hip Hop unconscious. This would be how the song is remembered, if it weren’t for two lines in Rick Ross’s verse that derail the entire joint. All I can think of is a terrifying night of club music and blurring and a drive down an unfamiliar highway.

Crystal Leww: The Rick Ross date rape lines are terrible, yes, but it’s worth noting that Rocko made the decision to release this to radio without his verse, instead recording new versions to preserve this weird little beat and Future’s second most played hook. Rap gets unfairly singled out for its misogyny, and Rocko definitely didn’t get any credit for making the right decision. I’m glad it did get some decent play on hip-hop radio; Childish Major’s beat is so weird, and Future’s “you don’t even know it” is so infectious. I definitely screamed this at a bunch of my friends who had no idea what I was referencing. Whatever. They don’t even know it.

Reader average: [7] (3 votes)

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5 Responses to “Rocko ft. Future & Rick Ross – U.O.E.N.O.”

  1. “Rick Ross has done a lot of bad things in song; bad things might be all he’s done in song.” true, but that’s a great line to read nonetheless.

  2. “mired in controversy” – the standard deviation begs to differ

  3. I really really like the spacey beat

  4. I really really like the spacey beat

    ^ I kept checking for Childish Major [who I didn’t really know before this] to see if he could top it this year.

    Hasn’t happened yet.

  5. I think Rome Fortune’s ‘Beautiful Pimp’ is exciting listening re: Childish Major.

    But C4 is the MVP of the year, I gotta say.