Saturday, 13 June 2015

Beatking - Houston 3AM

Beatking aka Club God aka Club Godzilla aka Club King Kong...
He's back thank God(zilla). The only rapper along with Kevin Gates who is currently keeping my eyeballs on the rap scene really. I was a bit confused as it started with Stopped but this is a better version than the one on Club God 4 from earlier this year. It's some kind of weird tradition to chuck an old song here and there onto your new mixtape in the rap game ie. Houston 3AM also includes a version of Keisha which originally appeared on Gangster Stripper Music 2. Something I'm yet to fully understand, whatever, I suppose. I was a bit worried on the last mixtape, as Beatking was second guessing himself. He was trying to appeal to his new white and Asian hipster audience as well as his usual hood/club fan base. He even said he recorded a whole new tape during this time and released that instead of his original recordings. He had no need to over think things though because he gained a wider audience by just doing what he does. The best way to go is to just keep on truckin at what you do best and that will keep you true to yourself and your fans. Otherwise you could lose your fans altogether and then you're fucked. Suffice to say this is way better than Club God 4 which was pretty good anyway.

This is the best release from rap zones since King Kev's Luca Brasi 2 and Beatking's very own absolute classic belter Gangster Stripper Music 2. The Club God's consistency is incredible and it continues here. Don't worry he's sticking to his classic themes here: strippers, headjobs, clubs, cars, thowin ass, his dick, paper, Houston etc. He pulls off his usual subject matter with such aplomb you don't get bored with it. Sonically he's got an array of styles as usual like ratchet, trap, 90s European tech flavas and softer soulful R&B. These styles are all intermingled now and just come out as Beatking music. Last year I asked the question, on this here blog, whether he was into rave, hardcore, gabba, doomcore etc.? He gave me an answer on Nervous, the outro, to Club God 4 by admitting his love for Neophyte the Dutch gabber crew from the 90s who had a slew of 12"s on the legendary Rotterdam Records during the golden age of gabber.

On Houston 3AM he even adds to his flavas with a hint of Calypso, Boogaloo, sweet soul and even a lil' bit of old school. I Got Hoez is state of the art Beatking with its low-key ominous yet sumptuous keyboards, brittle drum machines, subtle abstract background samples and great raps from Club King Kong himself and Short Dawg. Beatking's own productions are fine as per usual like Holup, Holup with its intergalactic siren stab, Donkey Kong soundtrack soundz, minimal keys and a wasted crawling vibe. This is shit hot! For a man who is known for being crass he can be incredibly understated at times. Not Right has got the best bass pressure on the tape while the rest of the tune has an opulence you want to get inside of. The Club Godzilla might on first impressions seem amoral or downright up in your grill immoral but he is slowly revealing a particular moral code. You might not agree with it but he does have one, not that I could give a fuck. It's just interesting in a Tony Soprano type of way. His contradictions and sophistication could be a reason for Beatking's continued artistic success though. Houston 3AM Freestyle is an unusually funky electro party jam that is soo superfly good. X-Files includes a sample of, well, the theme to the X-Files that sounds v cool you want it to go way longer than its interlude length of 1 minute. Actually the previous tune Isolated was possibly using the same notes or something very similar come to think of it. Squad keeps the spacey X-Files feel going as well but in a more 80s Casio cosmic tone setting.

One of the highlights here is Deposit which features fellow Houston rapper Sauce Walka who released the funny Sorry For The Sauce mixtape earlier in the year. There's a great bit of Twin Peaks style freaky/disturbing backwards Beatking rapping at the end of No Sleep, I like. That Ain't My Thot features a great boogaloo feel which is pretty much a wholesale appropriation of the 90s tune It Ain't My Fault by Silk The Shocker and Beatking ends it in skit style. Here he talks about strip club addicts who think they're gonna go home with the stripper because they've pumped so much money into her g-string throughout the night but they just end up getting turfed out of the club when the morning light starts appearing under the club doors. Swangas is the Beatking givin us a bit of sugar with a 90s sample I can't quite put my finger on and it's driving me mental. H is a fabulous slow jam informed by subtle gloomcore along with sweet soul vibes provided by Chalie Boy. H is obviously a love song to the city in which he resides H-Town ie. Houston. On Japan Beatking samples an artist who might be Juicy J or Chad C Pimp Butler (of UGK fame), correct me if I'm wrong and he's (the sampled dude) talking about country rap and how that became a style and an inspiration for regional and southern rap, I think? Beatking saves the best till last with the self indulgent navel gazing of What I am that's not uninteresting because he doesn't get where he stands in this mp3 generation. In the past (pre mp3) he would have been able to measure success by record sales. How do you measure it now though? He's well off, where he wants to be, got people calling him a legend, MTV playing his videos etc. but he can't seem to grasp where he fits in the larger cultural picture. I guess he is still a cult concern but maybe that's not enough for him no matter how large the parish. He never says he wants a Grammy or a Number 1 single though, I mean that's how some old people measured popularity and success. Now it's all social media hits and Datpiff HotNewHipHop download stats. After the Club God is finished with his mini self therapy session he throws in an unexpected and secretive classic cut featuring Gangsta Boo that didn't make it onto the great Underground Cassette Tape Music joint from last year. It makes you want Beatking to collaborate with Boo again and again. This tune contains brilliant horror movie motifs, a looped scraping violin and John Carpenter-esque minimal keyboards.

I feel like my world is back on its axis with this new Beatking mixtape and hey there's a new Kevin Gates one too (more on that soon). My faith in rap is has been restored thanks to Beatking. This might be the best recording of the year. He's still the Club God! Still the Club Godzilla! Still the Club King Kong! Still the fucking Beat King mane!!

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