This is the hardest review I’ve ever written. Seriously. Of course, it’d be easy to simply blast Waka Flocka Flame. I could point out that his “rhymes” are essentially extended ad-libs screamed at a high volume – he’s like a brain-damaged Swizz Beatz on crank – but while it’d be true, it’d be cheap and only pander to those eager crowds lining up to take their shots at the Brick Squad rapper. Instead, it’d be far more interesting, though far harder, to understand Mr. Flame’s appeal. Whether you believe Waka is actually dumb or merely …
Fans can also check out Waka Flocka Flame's previous albums: Waka Flocka - Triple F Life: Fans, Friendly & Family
DJBooth Album Review
Whether you believe Waka is actually dumb or merely playing dumb, he’s consciously cultivated an image of ignorance. After all, this is a man who was named Waka, and then another man named Gucci Mane said, “You should add a Flocka Flame onto that”, and then Waka Flocka Flame said, “great idea.” Waka equates lyricism, wordplay and actually caring about actually rapping as elitist, as qualities that would diminish his realness and leave behind his core audience in the trap, which is exactly why he’s become the go-to punching bag for hip-hop heads, a role he seems to relish. In fact, the title of his debut album, Flockaveli, is either an expertly crafted attempt to infuriate those aforementioned hip-hop heads who are right now punching their computers at the mere thought of Waka equating himself with Tupac, or a complete accident that will still infuriate hip-hop heads. But, ironically, it’s exactly that willingness to wave a middle finger at everyone who truly cares about this music that makes Flockaveli, in its own, strange way, a success.
Of course we wouldn’t be here at all if it weren’t for O Let’s Do It (or, as Waka says, O Ley Do Eh), the surprise breakthrough smash that became the symbol of everything we love and hate about banging, hook heavy, trap music. To say Waka’s rhymes on Let’s Do It are basic would be to insult the word basic; he often doesn’t seem to care at all about rhyming: “In the trap shawty said he need another one / Told em call lil waka and he said ‘What the f**k you want!” But it’s exactly that kind of nihilistic, head-banging feel that made Let’s Do It a hit (notice a theme?), along with its cousin Hard in Da Paint. So how can we explain the success of No Hands? Honestly, I don’t know. Is it possible that the hook, the beat and Wale’s traitorous verse were so catchy it didn’t matter that Waka, at the very best, added nothing to the song? Apparently it is.
Actually the clearly radio-targeted No Hands is my least favorite record on Flockaveli. Come on Waka, I came here for some unabashedly ignorant and street bangers, not some pop infused hip-pop. TTG, now that’s more like it. Once again Lex Luger, who’s almost entirely responsible for the album’s production, lays down the same kind of bombastic, hyper-hustling beat that made B.M.F. such a guilty pleasure, and Waka, French Montana and the rest of the track’s other guest rappers I’ve never heard make sure TTG stays street level, some might even say the gutter. With the exception of the slow and easily skipable Homies, all of Flockaveli is TGG flipped, cut and resold. Karma, Bustin’ at Em, Live by the Gun, they’re all the same; Lex drops a huge beat, Waka makes some gun sound effects (his commitment to gun sound effects is unparalleled), and despite your best intentions your head starts nodding. Call it trap hypnosis.
I’ve spent an embarrassingly long amount of time trying to come up with an analogy that would accurately describe Flockaevli, and I think I might have come up with something that might work – fried Snickers. Anyone who’s ever seen fried Snickers at a county fair knows their strange pull; they’re so unhealthy, essentially death you can swallow, that some dark, self destructive part of you can’t resist buying one and taking a taste. If Flockaveli was merely terrible it’d be forgettable, but Waka’s so spectacularly terrible, so completely and incredibly terrible, that even for those of us who have memorized every word of Illmatic, his music becomes oddly irresistible. So hate if you want to – it will only make Flocka more powerful. Welcome to hell – can I interest you in a friend Snickers?
DJBooth Rating - 2 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 10/13/10
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Related Songs & Features
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First DJ Booth Appearance:
"No Hands" (2010)
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