4. Roach Gigz – Bitch I’m A Player [US]
“There’s lads in Finglas that sound like this chap.” As part of my ongoing campaign to get the dude who got me into rap in the first place to appreciate that you don’t have to actually call yourself a lyrical prophet to be a good rapper, I sent him a Roach Gigz video. He pretty much responds the same way every time, but there might be something to this for once. Do I like Roach Gigz because he has a dirty moustache and looks like the kind of guy who’d call you a faggot and then laugh and say you’re a sound lad and hug you in such a way that it turned into a headlock outside a chipper at 4am? Because he’s familiar, in other words? Hopefully not. There’s enough reasons to justify fucking with Roach Gigz without having to sit around feeling guilty about race issues afterwards. First off, this is a dude with weird, interesting things to say, or at least a weird, interesting way of saying things.
The opener, Fuck A Chorus, feels like the monumental track, full of drive and purpose even though it’s not exactly about anything. But like those Lil Wayne songs where he sounds full of drive and purpose even though it’s not exactly about anything, it still seems like you get all the important information, like Roach Gigz being from the Bay Area and liking sex, interspersed with batshit punchline statements like “when I get rich, Imma have midget doormen who make me feel important”. He’s having fun, which is clear across the whole tape. It seems like some people thought it was a sub-par version of the type of ADD rap he did on Can I Rap, but to me, this was the big moment on the tape, the one that sounds like a mission statement as well as just a blap.
The beats, exclusively by C-Loz, contribute heavily to the slightly manic atmosphere, especially on songs like Big Fat Beat (which is a big fat beat pegged on a vocal hook consisting of the words “big fat beat” over and over) or Drugs, the most popular Roach Gigz song on Spotify, which is around an old-timey newsreader type voice saying the word “drugs”. The bass is big, the percussion pops, things are shot through with hints of techno and they’re not afraid to cut up Roach’s voice to serve the song. When it’s up-tempo, the dude can shine, scattering punchlines about being crazy, smoking blunts and liking riding. He fits that kind of beat, a party thing where lines catch you here and there and make you laugh or just think, “fuck yeah”.
Just being crazy for the guts of an hour would probably get tiring though, and the thing that makes this feel like a keeper, the kind of tape you call great rather than just fun, is the raps over slower beats, songs like Overdose and Headache. Being able to make these tracks as good as the fast ones is proof of depth of personality, a sign of a rounded rapper rather than a dude’s who just attention-grabbing. It’s tat sort of thing that seems to drive people to start talking about whether or not he’s going to get properly mainstream famous. He’s funny enough and white enough to do it, maybe, but it’s hard to pick ways that Bitch I’m A Player would be or could be better if it was an international sensation or even an A$AP level sensation, so from a fan’s perspective, what’s the fucking difference? Unlike Rocky or Tyler, none of the fun of Roach Gigz has anything to do with that weird fetishisation of the young rapper “learning his craft”, getting new releases and trying to figure out if he’s any better yet. The fun of Roach Gigz is that he’s already great.
It’s also tape full of “moments”, not just a succession of good tracks. Beyond the two central figures (Gigz and C-Loz), there’s an excellent selection of Bay Area rappers than are even more apparently crazy than Roach Gigz. Husalah and Lil B are on the same track, Stupid, which, at a breakneck tempo, is pretty remarkably weird. Gigz pays special tribute to Lil B by biting him thoroughly through his verse while Lil B, not to be outdone, responds to the challenge and the title of the song by delivering one of the dumbest verses in his huge catalogue of dumb verses, pulling off a total of 0.5 rhymes that don’t sound atrocious. When you take Husalah, who has an uncanny ability to sound mental even when he’s not saying particularly mental things, into account, you end up with the type of song that just results in a halo of question marks and an elevated heart rate. They let Lil B go last, obviously, because he’s the nicest.
It’s weird but it’s cool. Or it’s cool because it’s weird. And you definitely wouldn’t get it in Finglas (no shots at Finglas).
Roach Gigz – Fuck A Chorus
Roach Gigz feat. Husalah and Lil B – Stupid Dumb Knock (remix)