“Heard you need a fucking brick, now you only need an ounce
Man you’re always flip-flopping, man get up out my house”

iLoveMakonnen essentially forced my hand by calling his new album “Summer ’22.” I wasn’t planning to get around to it right away, but the summer technically ends in just under two weeks. Reviewing it in the fall just seems silly, but whose fault would it really be — mine for waiting to cover it, or his for waiting so long into the summer to release a summer album? In fact if iWasMakonnen and wanted this to make a summer impact, I would have put this out before June (say the last week of May) so that it could heat up all summer long. What better form of marketing for an album called “Summer ’22” could there be than having it boom out of cars driving down the street all summer long? Windows down, top down, rims shining, and “Bet That” shaking the concrete.

Actually that might have been a stretch under the best of circumstances. Makonnen peaked in 2014 when Drake was on a song, and you don’t have to take my word or any critic’s word for it. You can look at the view counts for each subsequent track on YouTube, or the decline in interest on how often the name is searched. You can see that 2014 spike as clear as Denali from Fairbanks. In part that’s his fault because a planned album with Lil Peep might have revived some interest, but after his unfortunate death the project leaked and Makonnen scrapped it entirely. That doesn’t mean he was done with collaborations though — here’s “All My Shit Is Stupid” with YoungBoy Never Broke Again.

Instinctively I feel like I shouldn’t have to explain that the entire clip for the song is a parody of Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy, but you know what they say about making assumptions. This is probably my favorite song on “Summer ’22” but as you’ll see in a moment that’s faint praise. Davyn & Jae Marley provide a catchy enough instrumental, NBA is an interesting artist to split the vocals with, and there’s a humorous immaturity to lines like “I’m talking shit cause I’m on pot, high as fuck, don’t give a fuck.” This is the one song from the entire presentation that could genuinely go viral based on its sheer irreverence.

Unfortunately the charm wears off after repeatedly hearing iLoveMakonnen lazily sing-rap his way through songs like “You Just Want to Get High.” He can barely raise his vocal tone enough to be audible over the production, and that production isn’t anything to write home about. Now he’s not a dismal singer of the IceJJFish variety, but he’s certainly no Usher or The Weeknd either. He’s not an innovative enough of a lyricist to back up being a mediocre singer, as he has back to back songs about how much money he gets — “Cash Keep Coming” and “Blue Cash.” The latter is the better of the two but it was hella redundant either way.
In fact “hella redundant” is the best way to describe “Summer ’22” as a whole. He loves drinking and taking drugs, he loves getting paid, he loves flossing his fortune, and he’s on a never ending quest to get high and/or laid. Let’s be realistic here — everything about iLoveMakonnen is operating on the lowest common denominator of what it takes to make it in rap. I’d say I don’t blame him because history shows that it works, but given he’s been an artist for almost 15 years now and was once hot enough to be on Drake’s label (and do duets with him) you’d expect him to evolve over time. He’s devolving. Instead of getting more creative he’s getting less so, and we don’t need to hear that from him this summer or any other. The summer of ’22 didn’t need “Summer ’22” at all.
iLoveMakonnen :: Summer '22
5Overall Score