‘Bugatti’ is a ridiculous track. I once saw a Bugatti Veyron in Munich but it was behind something like two inches of bulletproof glass and I only got to take a brief picture of it. In the uber-rich lakeside towns in Switzerland and Italy, I might have imagined that I spotted the $2 million+ vehicle but it might have been a trick of the light. Bugattis are not something that you see on a regular basis. Even more unlikely is the prospect of waking up in a new one. And yet, that’s exactly what 23-year-old Ace Hood’s first single from his forthcoming fourth studio album ‘Trials & Tribulations’ anticipates. The (which, most hilariously, features Rick Ross wearing an unzipped jacket over his tremendous paunch) is full of Grand Theft Auto-style general thuggery imagery which, fairly unintelligbly, attempts to tell the tale of how our protagonist ended up in the luxury car. I’d like to know, too. Conscious rap this is not.
There are drugs and violence and whatnot involved in the attempt to describe how Hood (real name Antoine McColister) transformed himself from Georgia State drop-out to one of only few in the world who can come in close proximity to the salivating-worthy vehicle but the fictional narrative says nothing of the remarkable way in which rap itself has changed. The big rap conglomerates, YMCMB, Maybach Music Group and Grand Hustle among them, have had something to do with it. The hit-and-miss character of popular music is increasingly evaded by these groups who churn through enough artists, and enough new material, to keep everyone’s coffers full. On ‘Bugatti’, appearances from MMG head Ross and a cameo from YMCMB’s Birdman affirm that cross-pollination between the groups is becoming more popular, too. But the subject matter and the visuals are also testament to something happening at a more fundamental level. Just as Jay-Z and Kanye West affirmed hip-hop’s level of attainment (no longer rapping aspirations but actualities), ‘Bugatti’ is a bold statement about the genre’s success.
That said, although four albums deep, Ace Hood is in no position to actually own a Bugatti (or wake up in one). But this style of track (with materialism and machismo at its core) is increasingly popular (see, particularly, G.O.O.D. Music’s ‘Cruel Summer’ work and basically anything from MMG’s stable) because it sounds increasingly plausible. I don’t quite know what to make of it all. The production (here handled by Mike WiLL Made It, a co-producer alongside Kanye on the equally heavy-hitting ‘Mercy’) is kind of lazy; relying on bone-crunching bass to bolster fundamentally weak melodies is not what hip-hop has been about previously and tends to dilute the creativity of the genre moving forward. Rather than being true to any form of roots, this track conforms to the ‘pop’ notion of hip-hop which is gradually taking hold – memorable choruses (that shout, Future!) and obvious drops replace more traditional concerns around flow and musicality- but doesn’t suffer for it. This is dumb music done fairly well. The nuance is missing but when you can go from 0-60 in nothing flat and get Rick Ross along for the ride, that ceases to matter. Props to Ace Hood for mixing it with the big boys. Guilty pleasures like this can’t sate real hip-hop appetites forever though…
Ace Hood – Bugatti Ft. Future, Rick Ross