The California native has at least done well concerning his primary duties as a beatmaker, showcasing his solid production skills on songs such as “Christmas in Harlem” and the platinum single “Niggas in Paris” for his label G.O.O.D. Music.
But in the Internet Age, there’s no such thing as loyalty or comitatus in Hip Hop. Once a person has toiled hard to be rewarded that golden inch, plans get implemented to wrest the remaining mile from whoever pays the highest. HITstory however, Hit-Boy’s first phase in that presumed plan, resembles a Bay of Pigs more than an Operation D-Day.
That is to say the plan failed.
But more to the point, listening to this album really invites tons of discussion about the aspirations for established beatmakers to struggle for the mic’s limelight. Jahlil Beats, another fresh-face producer whose worked extensively with Meek Mill, released his own rap debut Legend Music to general indifference. Not to say that certain people must remain banned from the microphone, but there’s a reason why even 9th Wonder waited until his celebration album to rattle off what resembles 16 bars.
Also, it’s pretty obvious that due to Hit-Boy being under the wing Mr. “triple-double no assist” himself, Kanye West, he feels endowed with a can-do spirit to cross over; he also takes the chief maneuver from Yeezy (keep the best beats for yourself) and an undesirable quality (think with your dick, although Kanye usually reserves this for singles and not entire albums) .
The album almost cleaves into those two thoughts: the beats are compelling; not superb, but clearly created with intent to wow or establish a mood, but the lyrics (“got my favorite girl giving me piece of mind/that mean brain”/”you deserve a beef from me/and I ain’t talkin’ music shit/I’m talkin’ face down, ass up/I know you use to it”) could’ve been copied and pasted from any other “newly rich” rapper. And nearly every god-awful line or half-baked attempt at sympathy brings me back to the same question: why rap if there’s nothing new or interesting to say?
Because unlike Kanye, who unabashedly created his own Louis Vuitton-branded lane through the genre via unorthodox producing and a balls-to-the-wall confidence, Hit-Boy fits in the junction already gridlocked by Soulja Boy, Riff Raff, Chip Tha Ripper and any other guy who still implements the hashtag rhyme scheme throughout an entire verse. Sure, he flows nicely for the most part and the monotone delivery prevents him from appearing cocky, but the lyrics say otherwise, and he becomes increasingly boring after the first two songs.
Hip hop fans have had their fill of average-quality technicality coupled with religiously materialistic content, and its too late to give passes or garnish an excuse to listen to music strictly for the beat. Sure, OK, check out the track featuring KiD CuDi for his UNIQUE, UNPARALLELED flow and then call it a day. While he has found a modicum of success, Hit-Boy simply doesn’t have the years of hard work or even the respect for the genre for others to care about him stunting on DatPiff.
Does he have a story? Yes. Everyone does. But if he views it threw an overused lens — a short recollection of early struggles followed by 40 minutes of loose women openingly wanting him for his money and the two credit card accounts he now owns — then it’s not worth telling.