The Raider Klan can’t seem to stay out of the past. If SpaceGhostPurrp is the resurrection of the early sound of Juicy J mixtapes and the first Three Six Mafia albums, Yung Simmie’s Basement Musik is the When the Smoke Clears era, when southern rap songs began with Bun B rants, Pimp C still graced our existence, and Juicy J still allowed you to take him seriously. I can’t say I lived it. I was twelve. But the development is easy to see. The choppy samples of the early days opened up, the haze cleared a little bit and the John Carpenter horror sound spread out into the realm of soul. SpaceGhostPurrp made a number of mixtapes that refined his sound to a point The music stewed in it’s influences without a whole lot of variation of personality. Raider Klan fellow Yung Simmie, on the other hand, seems to understand that there is more to retro than imitation.
In some sense, Basement Musik is a well-crafted synthesis of the neo-Memphis sounds of 2012. Yung Simmie, at first glance, can sound like a run of the mill A$AP Rocky imitation, rolling on that same “pretty motherfucker” flow that Rocky himself crafted like Dr. Frankenstein out of a handful of mid-west/southern rappers. The difference is that while Rocky uses that flow solely in the creation of mood and texture, often cutting off lines at hilariously awkward moments and generally sounding like he doesn’t know what his next line is going to be, Simmie takes that flow and makes actual rap songs out of it, songs that seem to naturally proceed from one line to another, that contain loads of sticky lines and hooks that creep up on you with the fourth listen. He pairs his raps with a sort of Three-Six/Trap hybrid production, mixing the brooding beats of his influences with Young-Chop-like bombast and horror.
This has, I think, been a very apparent problem since the recent stint of Memphis/Houston rap in the internet’s underground began. Everyone seemed to love the sound, but no one has been willing to progress beyond the atmosphere of the music to making songs that stick. The advantage of Yung Simmie seems to be that he is tired of this as well and sees more in the music than a generally creepy and hazy mood. He hasn’t quite formed a full persona as of yet: many of Basement Musik’s songs are retread the kind of concepts that modern Juicy J and Chief Keef might corroborate. But a song like “Vibe Session (Smoke and Think)”, concerning the activity of weed-induced meditation, shows that he has a mind ripe for character. If we give him some time, I think we’ll have a full fledged mixtape staple on our hands.