With the exercise in meaninglessness that is the Pro Bowl and the farce that is Media Day behind us1though the absurdity of Jon Gruden providing enthusiastic color commentary for a dodgeball game will stay with me forever, we’re now just a few days away from The Big Game®. We’ve reached the point in the Super Bowl (fake) news cycle when the mayors of the represented cities come up with hokey wagers on the game and businesses try to score free publicity by banning or boycotting anything even tangentially associated with a rival team’s civic culture.

Besides burning to the ground during the “War of Northern Aggression,” Atlanta’s is most famous for its rap. Though hip hop was born in the south Bronx, ATL is the closest thing that this art form has to a current epicenter. It’s a place full of colorful characters hell-bent on rewriting rap’s rule book one ad lib and Metro Boomin beat at a time. The trap-heavy scene’s audio-visual tropes have surfaced as far away as Seoul and Jakarta, and a new Atlanta heavyweight seems to be trending on Twitter every day.

Though I admit that seeing Matty Ice bring the Lombardi Trophy to Magic City would be pretty amusing, I’m the kind of superstitious New England Patriots fan that bought a second Ben “Winter” Coates jersey after I lost the one I wore on the day Malcolm Butler cemented his place in Super Bowl history. So in the spirit of Patriot-ism, I’m ordering a temporary ban on Atlanta rap music until we can figure what’s going to happen in the Super Bowl.

In order for me to do that without ending up sprawled on the floor of a Dunkin Donuts begging someone to play “Stick Talk,” I’ll have to disparage some of the artists I’ve praised on this very blog. It’s going to take a lot of mental gymnastics. But if Roger Goodell can lie through his teeth and swear it wouldn’t be awkward to introduce Tom Brady as Super Bowl MVP, then I can sure as hell give this a shot.

Note: Gucci Mane and 2 Chainz will not appear here because I consider him unassailable (and definitely not because I couldn’t think of any good jokes about him)

Migos

Migos: Class traitors, or just blind to the machinations of capitalism??

You know, it’s hard to hate on Migos right now. “Bad & Boujee” is the number one song on the Billboard charts, and the release of Culture will keep this holy trinity of triplet-flow rappers in the spotlight for a while. But my issue with Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff is an important one: their hit single fails to properly grasp the role of the bourgeoisie within the context of Marxist theory.

We live under an increasingly post-industrialist form of capitalism that exhibits strong tendencies towards automation, and the “sharing economy” has systemically devalued  labor’s collective bargaining power.  For Offset to describe his bitch as a member of the bourgeoisie (implying at least a degree of ownership over the means of production) comes off as either disingenuous or woefully inaccurate. Why would she (or one of her associates) be “cookin’ up dope with an uzi2a culinary practice not even Guy Fieri would approve of” if she has access to the levers of capitalist power? I guess “bad and lumpenproletarian” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. I would certainly respect Migos more if their ad libs were things like “SEIZE OWNERSHIP OF THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION” and “YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR CHAINS” instead of “MY MOMMA” and  the always-eloquent “WHOO WHOO WHOO”

Future

“You know we talk that cuck talk that cuck talk”

Atlanta native Future likely felt vindicated after Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson—the current husband of his ex-wife Ciara— got knocked out of the playoffs by  his hometown Falcons in the divisional round. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that Drake’s What a Time to Be Alive teammate got cucked by a “born-again virgin” who thinks jesus and magic water can cure concussions. If my ex left me for a guy with the body of a dual-threat quarterback and the mind of Ben Carson, I’d probably do whatever drugs I could get my hands on, too.

Rae Sremmurd

At this point it’s hard to separate Slim Jxmmy and Swae Lee from the mannequin challenge that propelled SremmLife 2’s “Black Beatles” to #1 on the charts. Once nuclear fallout has driven us all underground (~2019), we’ll think of Rae Sremmurd as nothing more than the rap group associated with a meme that perfectly encapsulated remember 2016: a bunch of white people standing around doing literally nothing.  

Lil Yachty

Yacthy trying to make sense of the latest NOAA.gov data

With global temperatures rising, the threat of climate change is undeniable. The last thing we need is D.R.A.M’s friend Lil Yachty unintentionally suggesting the jury is still out on climate science. If it’s “cold like Minnesota,” then why does one need to “stay up out them streets if you can’t take the heat”? Sowing this kind of confusion about weather patterns in the upper midwest will make it even easier for Rex Tillerson to start drilling in the arctic.

Young Thug

Young Thug and an NFC South quarterback he probably likes more than Matt Ryan

David St. Hubbins of Spinal Tap once said “there’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.” As someone who enjoys pouring lean on ice cream cones, Young Thug walks that line about as well as you might expect.

If I was handing out an award for the most nonsensical lyrics to invoke an Atlanta sports team, Thugger would earn it for this gem on an otherwise forgettable track: “I am a African American / 
But my bitch a stallion
 / Breath smell like Italian 
/ Birds in Atlanta, no Falcon.” Only someone as deranged as Young Thug could mention his heritage, make a potential allusion to bestiality, create a new  stereotype3I imagine Italian breath smells like artisanal gelato and  neg his hometown team in the span of four consecutive bars. Earlier in the same verse, he says “I’ll buc just like I’m Tampa Bay,” in case you were wondering where his true football allegiance lies. Get this man some Publix crab legs!

Childish Gambino


“Am I responsible for you having an audience?”

“Yeah, I’d say at least this much”

Don’t let the fact that Don Glover (say it fast) is a soul revivalist, creator of an award-winning TV show about his hometown and the future Lando Calrissian fool you: he’s a backpack rapper with so little street cred that he got his nom de plume from a Wu Tang name generator. His 2011 album Camp was overstuffed with the kind of straining, dorky “can you see how clever I am?” punchlines that would make Lil Wayne put down his guitar, hop off his skateboard and say “you need to do way less.” Glover’s nerdy posturing paved the way for self-aware posers like Lil’ Dicky, and the man should never be let off the hook for that.

21 Savage

“Issa sad day for Falcons fans”  – 21 Savage 2/5/17

A rapper who got expelled from 8th grade for bringing a gun to school should sound as terrifying as Julio Jones in single coverage, yet 21 Savage’s signature stylistic flourish is his convictionless mumbling. Once the the Patriots win their fifth Super Bowl title, it’ll be impossible to tell if that noise emanating from Atlanta is the collective grumbling of sad Falcons fans or just 21’s low-energy bars on Savage Mode.

Waka Flocka Flame

tfw you’re very out of touch with your audience

I saw Flocka on 4/20/2015, the very day he announced his presidential candidacy. The show mostly consisted of him smoking blunts that people threw on stage while half-dancing to bad EDM, and I can’t help but get the sense now that the rap world is leaving Waka Flocka Flame behind. Much like Nancy Pelosi scoffed at the very notion of the democrats adopting a left-of-center economic platform, the man who once gave us the hard-hitting Flockavelli can’t seem to sense that the times are a changin’. The only hope he has to remain relevant is to hire Keith Ellison as his new manager.

Killer Mike

Pictured: the man who singlehandedly fucked up the election for Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders

Speaking of democratic infighting, Killer Mike is a goddamn Bernie Bro who hates Hillary Clinton. He physically prevented her from campaigning in Michigan and Wisconsin. Those selfies next to toxic water in Flint and snapchats about how she’s “just chilling with some union leaders” in Milwaukee might’ve swung the election! Even worse, the Atlantan half of Run the Jewels then kidnapped Clinton and dropped her in the woods of Chappaqua, where she’s wandered aimlessly ever since. Clearly he’s a closet Trump supporter that couldn’t care less about empowering his fellow African Americans or investing in his own community. Sad!

Rich Homie Quan

“You’re gonna be so sick of how much we’ll be going in, folks”

If you look at his discography, it’s clear that Rich Homie Quan is hell-bent on reminding everyone how often he “goes in,” a phrase that Urban Dictionary defines as “to enter into an activity with unparalleled enthusiasm and fervor.” But at a certain point, bars speak louder than mixtape titles. If you’re the kind of person who needs to constantly tell people of how great you are, you’re harboring some pretty deep-seated insecurities. That, or you’re the current President of the United States. Even if people really are saying that Rich Homie Quan is tremendous, I’m still waiting to see his tax returns.

References   [ + ]

1. though the absurdity of Jon Gruden providing enthusiastic color commentary for a dodgeball game will stay with me forever
2. a culinary practice not even Guy Fieri would approve of
3. I imagine Italian breath smells like artisanal gelato