“I’m so high that I get paid to be cool”
The first time we reviewed Blueface on RR, I was pleasantly surprised by the personality and energy the young Johnathan Michael Porter had. He felt to me like an emerging Los Angeles superstar poised to fill the huge void left by Nipsey Hussle’s passing. It’s a little odd to consider that it’s only been a year since Hussle was murdered. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic it feels like we’ve all lived two to three years in the last month alone. It also means terms like “Viral” have a newfound negative association. We used to think of it positively to explain why artists could spread their music (and videos) so quickly through through Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. In the age of social distancing, videos like “Viral” feel incredibly inappropriate.
That’s not Mr. Porter’s fault though. The videos for his new “Find the Beat” were undoubtedly filmed months ago as was the tracks on this album, and it would be pretty hard to scrap everything just because of COVID-19. There will be a time when we can celebrate rappers being in large crowds of women, flashing their wealth and consuming substances with all of their friends, but I certainly wouldn’t be passing around Courvoisier right now. Unfortunately every part of Blueface’s presentation is going to smack you in the face under the present circumstances, particularly a holding a party in the ocean song called “Close Up”.
“Party hard, I ain’t never give no fucks” quips Jeremih on the chorus. If everybody on that boat got sick, many fucks would be given. Let’s try to look at this album in a vacuum though, which might be the only place everyone is safe in 2020 anyway. The D.A. Doman beat of “Dirty” and Porter’s energetic rap remind me of why Blueface blew up in the first place. His gravelly voice throws down boisterous bars like “house so big it’s hard to get dirty” in a way that unintentionally promotes social distancing. The heavy minor keys of “Street Shit” by Scum Beatz give it an anthemic West coast feel like his homie The Game. If they did another remix together this would be the track to do it for.
“You ain’t with this street shit, stay yo’ bitch ass on the curb.” It’s that fearless bravado which makes Blueface so compelling and actually provides a nice distraction from current problems in the real world. Perhaps now more than ever we need rappers who can spit lines like “I keep a dick for a Glock and a groupie” with a straight face. “I’m not crazy bitch, I just don’t give a fuck” raps Blueface on “2 Diccs”, and even though YBN Nahmir is the featured guest here, I’d propose another remix featuring 2 Chainz. Too obvious? What wasn’t obvious was Blueface doing Kenan & Kel style comedy on “Holy Moly.” Maybe his future is in acting as much as rapping.
If I was to offer a (somewhat minor) complaint about “Find the Beat” though it would be the prevalence of guest stars watering down what we all really came for — Blueface himself. Over 50% of the songs feature someone besides Mr. Porter including NLE Choppa above, Lil Baby on “Weekend”, DaBaby on “Obama” and Stunna 4 Vegas on “Wire” just to name a few. On the plus side this album is twice as long as “Dirt Bag” so more is definitely better even if it at times the focus is taken off the album’s star. Even though I now have an intense discomfort with using the term “viral” there’s no doubt that in a year’s time we’ll all get back to some kind of normal where that will be a perfectly fitting way to describe Blue’s rise to popularity.