Shut Up and Vibe sounds like a strange name for a rap mixtape, given that the genre mostly consists of people who basically never stop talking. But for some reason, it makes so much sense as a title for this project. After all, Yung Simmie and the rest of the Raider Klan are inheritors of one tradition in rap music that seems, despite the genre’s reliance on vocabulary, to be chasing something wordless: a feeling, a tone, an atmosphere.
As we saw with his last project, Basement Musik, at this point Yung Simmie is probably the most promising member of the Raider Klan. The tape showed a ripeness of character and a specificity of taste that is rare that early in a career. He wasn’t just aiming for a spooky atmosphere or a retro sound, he had a specific emotion in mind. Some of them hit the mark, some did not. With Shut Up and Vibe now in our virtual hands, we can see Simmie’s restless sound on that last project as a bit of an exploratory measure. He rapped a little too quickly, a little too awkwardly, a little too often, searching for the right sound.
Lyrically, Simmie isn’t for those looking for substance, but his content is more than functional. It modestly steps aside for the main attraction. In fact, Simmie seems to be a member of a new breed of rapper, like Chief Keef and Lil Durk, rappers that bring an emphasis towards the laconic and sonic elements of street rap, but don’t relegate themselves to the sort of placeholder for more complex raps or a rhythmic force.
Yung Simmie seems to be taking somewhat of a subtler approach than Keef or Durk. You can hear him lengthening his syllables, laying out into open and indulgent beats while maintaining a significant amount of composure. “Big Clips That Poke Out”, for example, embraces a thick sound, slow throbbing bass, and sharply percussive drums. “Off the Dank” swells with unexpectedly peaceful organ tones. If he wants to be Chief Keef, all he needs now is hooks, and he’s already got plenty of rudimentary and functional earworms. A little practice, another mixtape maybe, and we’ll have something to be excited about.