The brilliant thing about hip-hop in the Internet age is the accessibility aspiring rappers are able to have with listeners. With merely a SoundCloud or Bandcamp account, a decent buzz can be created due to the global reach of an online presence that wasn’t possible a decade ago. The culture of what hip-hop was, and what hip-hop has become, functions as a rapid, ever evolving melting pot of influences from across the country instead of a specific region (East Coast vs. West Coast etc).
So when hoards of artists saturate the Internet with their music in hopes of blowing up, the toleration of mediocrity diminishes and originality is essential; or at the very least an interesting personality. A$AP Rocky would not be where he is today without those atmospheric beats that take influence from various regions and Lil B wouldn’t hold such a loyal fan base if he wasn’t so entertaining. However, on Butta Verses’s latest LP Everywhere and Nowhere, the Bronx native appears to be behind with the times.
On Everywhere and Nowhere, Butta Verses raps with determination and passion about several different topics, such as overcoming obstacles, former fame, braggadocio and overcoming more obstacles. They’re all fields that have been previously covered, which is fine. Innovative ideas aren’t crucial to good music; Danny Brown is proof of that. The issue that lies with Butta Verses is I simply don’t care for really anything he has to say, because nothing is said in an interesting or new way. His flows aren’t anything remarkable and there’s not much of a personality to grasp either. It’s not so much about his topics but his disposition and perspective. It’s all been done before hundreds of times and has been done better.
The one exception on the album is courtesy of the track “Big Dreams,” in which Butta Verses raps with genuine humility concerning his struggle to forge a career from hip-hop, with the very real possibility of failure lurking at every turn. On the song he spits “Out of touch with reality/ Thinking you can get stuff with no salary/ Better get you a J-O-B/ Don’t be me/ Rapping, all my eggs in one basket.” With so many rappers convinced that having swag is an occupation, it’s refreshing to hear someone address the fact that just because you’re in hip-hop doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to achieve success, and are even possibly hindering other options in your life.
Butta Verses isn’t a bad rapper by any means, but he isn’t a great one either, which is perhaps worse. Rising from mediocrity is easy but improving on normalcy is difficult since most of the time the artist is unaware of their average stature. Maybe ten years ago Butta Verses would be more impressive, but in this era he just sounds dated.