“Hop out the whip, my gun go – brrap, brrap, brrap-brrap-brrap”
“Rae Rae’s Son” is Stunna 4 Vegas’ most recent release since “Welcome to 4 Vegas” in 2022. Back then I disputed that he deserved to be on any “worst rapper ever” lists. I stand by that assessment. I’ve heard a lot more worse since, and I had also heard plenty far worse before I ever listened to Vegas. There are plenty of positives to Vegas. In an industry where actual bars and rapping instead of singing are hard to find, Vegas checks the boxes for what an actual rap artist sounds like. There is of course a difference. Ma$e and Lil Pump check those exact same boxes and no one will mistake either of them for being a great rapper. What you say still matters.
“You can’t even duck if I blow the switch
We came with sticks like a Chinese dish”
I’m conflicted about “Rae Rae’s Son” as a result. I’m not opposed to either negative or nihilistic lyricism. You can’t talk about real life and have it be all rainbows and adorable puppies. The world sucks and if you grow up with the yoke of racism around your neck it’s far worse. Vegas raps from a cutthroat “kill or be killed” perspective, presumably because that’s all he knew growing up in North Carolina, and that reality bled over into harrowing songs about “pussy bitches” and “fuck niggaz” who get “a bloodbath” if they ever get in his way. On their own songs like “Suspect” are compelling drama, but Vegas seems to have only one topic and one way to deliver it.
Song after song details how Vegas makes all his haters mad with his success, how the opps are constantly spraying bullets his way, and how he and his crew have no choice but to either respond defensively or go on the offense preemptively. When he’s not busy defending his life and wealth he’s “got hoes on my dick in a whole ‘nother time zone.” If Vegas had a WWE shirt it would read “Fuck. Sleep. Kill. Repeat.” I’m surprised he has time to enjoy the fruits of his labor given he’s constantly worried about being caught slipping. “Sticks” takes paranoia to a whole new level.
Is he wrong to feel that way though? No. Sadly we have far too much evidence of rap artists being killed over the last 40 years. Sometimes beefs with other rappers go badly. Sometimes it’s the crossfire of a turf war between rival crews or gangs. Sometimes it’s a stick-up kid who’s out to tax a rapper who flosses his chain and his whip in videos, regardless of whether or not they were rented for the video just to keep up appearances. Sometimes it’s just “wrong place wrong time” in a country where there are more guns than people and the temptation to use them is sky high. You can catch a stray one just as quick as one meant for you and be just as dead either way. If he wants to “hop in a rental” and live it up on “Skurtt” it’s because Vegas sees no tomorrow in his future and is living it up before the end. “I don’t give a fuck about no blog/I get a nigga knocked off with a head nod.” That’s all you’ll ever know about Vegas. Life’s hard and so is he.
“Rae Rae’s Son” has above average production, a fired up emcee spitting every verse like it’s his last, and an unrelentingly bleak worldview. At times that’s enough to make it listenable. At other times you’d prefer Vegas to have at least one day where he didn’t have to use the AK. There might be something to this whole concept of manifesting your own reality. If you only talk about the bad in life, maybe only bad things ever happen in life, and that’s all you’ll ever know. 4 Vegas there’s probably no escape from the ouroboros of negativity, because this style brought him to the dance, and it’s the reason he has fans who want to listen right now. It’s depressing to think about it that way but perhaps that’s the secret message he’s coding into his lyrics. If we don’t want the future to be so grim the time to make changes in our world is now — not tomorrow.