It’s A Rap. Skillz Calls It Like It Was In 2018 (Audio)
Honoring a tradition that is nearly 20 years old, Skillz sums up the year that was with a rap. Long before any ball drops commemorating the arrival of 2019, the Virginia veteran MC (and DJ) makes sense of a complicated year in Hip-Hop and the world at large.
The song features Lil Duval and pays quick homage to, “Smile (Living My Best Life),” with Snoop Dogg and Ball Greezy, the instrumental for the affair. Black Panther, Will Smith’s captivating social media moments, and the people who died after knowingly ingesting Tide Pods are part of the opening sequence. He weaves in Nas’ letter responding to and denying allegations of abuse by ex-wife Kelis as well as Fabolous’ charges over physically assaulting Emily B. These bars come right alongside a Philadelphia Starbucks denying a restroom to Black customers and calling the police. However, as anybody familiar with the series and Skillz would expect, he gets to Kanye West’s 2018, hitting on a few points.
“And that Wal-Mart kid? I hate his voice / F*ck you mean ‘slavery was a choice’? / ‘Ye been in the way, and it feels like forever / Your music got worse, your trolling got better,” spits the MC, a few bars before mentioning the rapper’s “MAGA” hat endorsement. Later this year, West tearfully apologized for the controversial remarks he made during an impromptu visit to TMZ Live.
Skillz stays in the pocket with, “Dubs beat the Cavs, J.R. was late / Then Pusha spilled all of the tea on Drake / All we heard was ‘you’re hiding a child’ / I’m like, ‘Bruh, the Rap game gettin’ wild’ / Eminem fired back at MGK / We got a surprise album from Bey’ and Jay / Lebron got gone, left for L.A. / And I still wanna know who bit Beyoncé.” He references Tiffany Haddish’s revelation and subsequent speculation that actresses including Lena Dunham, Sanaa Lathan, or Sara Foster bit Bey’ while at a party. Moments later, Skillz deduces “The whole year was ugly / Remember, ‘Kiki, do you love me?’”
From Bill Cosby’s incarceration to Nicki Minaj and Cardi B’s fashion show fight, it is all there. “Kylie and Travis made all the bread / And 6ix9ine trolled his ass right into the feds,” he raps, before giving Lil Duval props for making the song of the year in the form of the same Mr. Hanky-produced instrumental he raps over.
While Skillz is known for humor, he also asks serious questions. “Demi OD’d, Mac Miller died / And there’s still kids out here trying to get high? / Yeah, we had issues, but most were torn / If it wasn’t mental health, it was prison reform / They gave Suge 28, that ain’t no joke / 50 was petty all year, he wanted all the smoke.” He also references the families separated at the border, Donald Trump’s litany of apparent mishaps, and the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
He gets in a few stingers too. “Just live ya’ best life, and smile for the camera / Unless you’re Juelz Santana“ and “Draymond and KD was war and peace / And then came ‘who’s the King of R&B?’ / Jacquees, stop runnin’ ya mouth / Your R&B stands for ‘run your ass back in the house’ / I’ma say it, y’all might feel a way / But the King of R&B? That’s Beyoncé.”
Notably, Skillz does not reference the conflict with Uncle Murda surrounding these very year-ends that opened 2018. Perhaps that issue is put to rest as Skillz blesses fans with another time-honored Rap tradition.
Happy 2019 to you and yours from the Ambrosia For Heads staff.
#BonusBeat: This year Skillz, who put the “Mad” back in his name, released I’m The DJ… And The Rapper. The multi-threat referenced the 30-year-old title and artwork by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.