I’m not a user of Twitch, the online platform whereby users stream themselves reacting, playing or simply interacting with fans, but if there’s one channel I’d love to see, it would be Kool Herc reacting to hip-hop records. Somebody get this setup, and make the first record Sexyy Red’s “Hood Hottest Princess”. It’s a fascinating example of how far hip-hop has been exploited over the years, with Sexyy Red being either the smartest artist of 2023 or the most depressing proof of hip-hop’s so-called demise. Considering her success stems from Tik Tok and her sexually explicit lyrics, it feels like a marketing algorithm finely tuned to succeed on a platform full of horny teenagers. We’ve been here before. 2 Live Crew, Lil’ Kim, Khia – it’s nothing new making sexually explicit rap music, but some of Sexxyy Red’s rhymes would make porn stars blush, as she boasts of her sexual promiscuity in graphic detail. Fluids are flying and cheeks are chafing, but much like a lot of pornography you find online, you can’t help but feel for the performer as they numbly commit their flesh to video for the sake of cold hard cash. I wasn’t left titillated by Red, but depressed.
The problem with “Hood Hottest Princess”, the debut album from the St. Louis rapper, isn’t the explicit content being discussed, it’s that she’s a terrible rapper. It’s one thing being trashy, but another thing to be trash, and unfortunately, despite questionable cosigns from Drake and Nicki Minaj, this is one of the worst albums I’ve ever chosen to cover. “Pound Town 2” , despite being her most popular song, is her worst performance. She’s openly waiting for the beat to catch up, highlighted by Nicki Minaj’s performance completely upstaging Sexyy Red. The infamous line about her bootyhole being brown made me laugh because it means she’s bent over in front of the mirror at some point to find this information out. But it’s the fact Nicki Minaj demonstrates why she’s still a top rapper with a lot of sex appeal, capable of shifting from dirty slut to lyrical powerhouse with ease – something she’s proven for over a decade now. With Red, there’s no sex appeal, and no rapping of any real quality on display, so we’re left with a shell of a record that’s full of hypocrisy and desperation.
There’s no flow and when there is, it’s off-beat. No shifts in cadence, with structure and nuance thrown out the window. Wordplay is nonexistent (outside “hit it like Will Smith”), with glorified nursery rhymes the name of the game:
“If you see me and you tryna see what’s up (skee-yee)
He wanna fuck with me, then I’ma have him stuck (skee-yee)
Bitch lookin’ bad, and got a stupid butt (skee-yee)
Jewelry on yo’ wrist, fuck it, hold it up (skee-yee)
When I holler, “Skee-yee” that mean pull up (skee-yee)
Cars tinted, fire, and they fast as fuck (skee-yee)
I’m lookin’ good when I’m hoppin’ out that truck (skee-yee)
Where the hood n****s at that get them bucks?
“I’m the Shit” is the first song and the St. Louis emcee sounds tired from the off, like she’s just climaxed multiple times and then strolled into a studio session. It’s all very scruffy, with energy levels varying through a lack of breath control. You can’t even distinguish the hook on “Hellcats SRTs” without the beat telling you, as it’s monotone throughout.
There are some beats on here that could have been torn up by dope emcees, and the closest thing we get to this is “Sexyy Walk”. There’s a bit of Hurricane G to the first verse, but it’s so derivative and repetitive it’s hard to put G’s name in the same league. We’re scraping the barrel here, but “Nachos” at least tries to own the promiscuity and empower the pussy that’s doing the heavy lifting in Sexyy’s life. I am genuinely baffled by respected outlets like Pitchfork throwing acclaim at this album. This is an emcee who has admitted their only interest in rapping is for financial gain, with all her energy thrown at the imagery she’s crafting, rather than the craft itself.
We hear repeatedly about how this single mom is whoring herself out for gratification, with no real insight into who Sexyy Red is, or why she’s a nymphomaniac. In fact, the more I listen to it, the more it reveals itself to be a charade hiding something deeper. “Hood Hottest Princess” is a sad assessment of how far an artist can push cliches. Each video contains expensive cars in showrooms, stacks of cash in a world that’s gone contactless, and flashes of the latest update to a body that is a hollow shell used for sex. The orgasms are likely the only thing real about the whole album, as we are dragged through piles of fake nails, fake hair, fake tits, fake lips, and a whole host of lyrics that are about holes being filled, despite being full of holes themselves. Frequently stating that she’s the truth on “I’m the Shit” and “Sexyy Walk” in a fake world emphasizes a need to be accepted, reiterating an underlying imposter syndrome that’s ultimately justified. Much like Ice Spice, someone said she was dope and there’s been no battles, freestyles, or quality control to prove that before stepping into the booth. We’ve gone straight from bedroom raps to the charts, but in this case, it’s just straight from the bedroom.
“Born By the River” is worth a listen, primarily for Sukihana who gives the song some much-needed attitude. It could have done with a third verse, as it peters out after two minutes, but it lives up to the sheer brazenness Red’s reputation has garnered. I believe these women are looking for some men to suck on their *cough* pussy lips *cough*, and all it took was a bit of passion and belief in the assignment. That should be the bare minimum.
Maybe I’m now officially old, and because I have daughters, I’m looking at this differently. But there are such limited examples of redeemable hip-hop music on display that we really are dealing with scraps. A couple of the beats are aight. Some of the lines are notable for their shock value? It’s hard to see where Sexyy Red goes from here outside of more extreme examples of sex, but whatever, or whoever she ends up doing next, more time spent spitting, rather than swallowing, will make this brand of sex rap go down better.