1. It sounds like it’s from 6 years ago.
Producer DJ Mustard’s maddeningly catchy combo of hums, snaps, grunts, and claps is an affront to the cacophony of over-production currently in-vogue. It’s got nothing to do with the Uncle Luke and MC Hammer fusion of Big Sean’s “A$$,” the mash-up idiocy of J. Cole’s “Work Out” (Kanye’s “The New Workout Plan” plus Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up”), or Flo Rida’s “Good Feeling,” which crumples up an Etta James sample and everything else from Aviici’s “Le7els” and adds some mom-friendly rapping. Instead, “Rack City” is a welcome throwback to the mid-2000s, gulping 808s of Ying Yang Twins’ “Wait (The Whisper Song),” the cheapo synth stabs of D4L’s “Laffy Taffy,” and the yammering minimalism of the Pack’s “Vans.”
2. It sounds like it’s from 26 years ago.
In the mid-’80s, Def Jam co-founder and beatmaker Rick Rubin was listed as a “reducer” rather than a “producer,” because he approached songs with a zen-like focus on stripping them down to only the most essential parts: The massive drums and not much else of LL Cool J’s “I Need A Beat,” the wobbling rhythm of “It’s Tricky” by Run DMC, which was swiped from the Knack’s “My Sharona.” “Rack City” could’ve been a Def Jam reduction from that time period. And don’t say the difference then was “lyricism” or something, because you’re painting yourself into a corner where Original Concept and the Beastie Boys don’t count.
3. It sounds like it’s from 60 years in the future.
In the year 2072, when we’re all whipping around in “the cloud,” and President Newt Gingrich — by that time, nothing but a big annoying bulbous brain in a jar — has brokered a deal with our insect-like alien invaders to keep Earth around as long as we provide them with entertainment, “Rack City” will appease them with vibrations that only their insect ears can register. Once our space-bug colonizers are soothed by the lumbering low-end, we can stage some kind of coup and regain control of our planet. And perhaps Tyga, bitter like Snake Plissken because, by then, he’s a grizzled rap veteran screwed over by Young Money, traveling with a blind but sage-like Mannie Fresh, will be leading the coming revolution!
4. It contains the line: “Got your grandma on my dick”
Which of course lead to this “hilarious” video of some kid rapping to the song while his grandmother gets down in the background. Currently at more than eight million views, it’s gone viral, as it should. Old people are funny! They’re not supposed to dance to rap songs! They’re not supposed to do anything! Upon seeing the video, my first thought was, “Oh, finally, after all this time, here’s what that elusive actual fan of Tyga looks look like — a hoodie-rockin’ prick grandson; makes sense!” Then I laughed, then I got a little sad for grandma, and then I laughed at it some more. Bonus: A video that teaches you how to say, “got your grandma on my dick,” in sign language!
5. More lewd earworms in 2012.
Because of the similarly repetitive/inexplicably transcendent “Died (In Yo Pussy)” from Atlanta crunk weirdos Grip Plyaz — which samples an infamous Richard Pryor stand-up routine for its hook, then surrounds it with an instrumental that sounds like the score to Blade Runner and The Terminator stacked on top of each other — both the phrase “Rack City, bitch, Rack, Rack City, bitch” and “died died died in yo pussy” are rattling around my head virtually 24 hours a day.
6. Rack City, bitch.
Rack City, bitch, Rack Rack City, bitch. Rack City, bitch, Rack Rack City, bitch. Rack City, bitch, Rack Rack City, bitch. Rack City, bitch, Rack Rack City, bitch. Rack City, bitch, Rack Rack City, bitch. Rack City, bitch, Rack Rack City, bitch. Rack City, bitch, Rack Rack City, bitch. Rack City, bitch, Rack Rack City, bitch. Rack City, bitch, Rack Rack City, bitch. Rack City, bitch, Rack Rack City, bitch. Rack City, bitch, Rack Rack City, bitch. Rack City, bitch, Rack Rack City, bitch. Rack City, bitch, Rack Rack City, bitch. Rack City, bitch, Rack Rack City, bitch. Rack City, bitch, Rack Rack City, bitch.
7. It’s a challenge to grumbling nostalgics.
“Rack City” wrecks the myth that hip-hop has somehow declined or gotten dumber. This is the best reminder of rap’s pre-Golden Age, minimalistic genius since Brooklyn rapper Maino released the Jimmy Spicer-sampling “Hi Hater” in 2008, in an attempt to keep up with snap music’s then-reigning simplicity. Those “Rack City” bass burps also remind me of Luniz’s “I Got 5 On It” (from 1995), and to mess with some non-hip-hop snobs, the “Rack City” instrumental wouldn’t sound out of place on that recent Drexciya reissue, Journey Of The Deep Sea Dweller I. All I’m saying is, there’s a long tradition of hip-hop as brilliantly spare dance music, so get over yourself.
8. The music video is awesome.
Not the strip-club one, but the batshit crazy clip just released. Directed by Chris Robinson, who can be a visionary when he wants to (Alicia Keys’ “Teenage Love Affair,” Slum Village’s “Selfish,” his feature ATL), it turns Rack City into a mythical locale full of cartoonish villains and bazooka-wielding commandos in berets, clearly inspired by Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Notice how, presumably due to budget constraints, the big action scene money-shots are just missing, leaving an incomprehensible, surreal montage — like a Hype Williams treatment helmed by Alejandro Jodorowsky. It’s enough to makes you think Robinson’s dreadful, puritanical video for Lil Wayne’s “How to Love” was in on the joke.
9. Corporate synergy!
Have you heard “Lob City,” the would-be Los Angeles Clippers theme song/remix that Tyga threw together in celebration of the team’s trademark alley-oop passes, usually resulting in bonkers jams by Blake Griffin? The hook becomes “Lob City, Clips” and it features goofy shout-outs, like, “Sittin’ courtside, Jack Nicholson,” and even twists the aforementioned icky line into the more endearing, “Got your grandma at the game.” Tyga doesn’t say what happens to grandma after the buzzer sounds, though. He should totally keep these personalized versions of “Rack City” going. If you’ve ever driven through the Southeast, you’ve probably seen the ridiculous number of billboards and barn sides screaming “See Rock City,” the kitschy tourist attraction at the top of Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Rock City could use a new slogan…
10. Finally, something to justify Tyga’s existence!
Tyga’s been kicking around since 2008, when his song “Coconut Juice,” featuring that guy from Gym Class Heroes, was forced on everybody. Ever since, the twerpy Compton rapper has been a non-entity, occasionally stumbling onto radio hits (Young Money’s “Bedrock” and “Roger That”), releasing mixtapes that somebody‘s downloading, appearing on Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and pushing his still-delayed follow-up Careless World: Rise of the Last King. Though everyone from Charles Hamilton to Young Jeezy has jumped on “Rack City,” they all sound like they’re trying too hard. It’s Tyga’s overabundance of confidence and compelling lack of presence that makes the song an instant classic.