Together with his viscous, authoritative baritone, impenetrable Southern drawl, and hard-earned road smarts, BigXthaPlug’s entice tales possess candy-painted Texas cool. Most significantly, the Dallas rapper is a dramatist. He faucets into his interior playwright on “Dream,” a reduce from his debut album Amar, the place he paperwork the on a regular basis misfortune he skilled when he couldn’t afford Popeyes. His granular particulars evoke the kind of desperation you’ll be able to style: “Was so fucking broke couldn’t even buy me a biscuit/Couldn’t clear out my throat, ’cause the drink was $2.50.”
As heartfelt as it’s hyper-specific, the music captures the perfect of Amar, a brand new venture named after BigX’s son. Whereas it’s typically stifled by repetition and lapses in creativeness, the album stands as a compelling train in cinematic road rap. Over 13 tracks, BigX swerves by means of solemn R&B and soul samples, dismissive boasts, and lucid reminiscences, letting unfastened percussive flows and tightly coiled rhyme schemes—the sort that may solely come from a real technician. Like a few of the greatest writers, he will be convincingly charming, poignant, or irate. Usually, he’s all three without delay.
On “Safehouse,” he slides throughout militaristic percussion and a foreboding piano loop, unloading menacing one-liners that will make Soiled Harry blush. In the meantime, on “Bacc to the Basics,” he displays on a entice survivor’s baser instincts earlier than lamenting the roots of a fractured familial bond. Together with his penchant for piling writerly particulars and altering the speed and depth of his tonal inflections, BigX’s greatest songs carry an emotional immediacy that’s unimaginable to pretend.
However between the demise threats and day by day struggles, he’s having enjoyable right here, too. On “Texas,” he coasts over Southern blues as he serves up a playful but vivid glimpse on the sociology of his residence state. It’s not as anthemic as Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” or Jermaine Dupri and Ludacris’ “Welcome to Atlanta,” however its easygoing sensibility displays the car parking zone pimpin’ of its inspiration. There’s a disarming heat that makes you’re feeling his honest admiration for the place that raised him.
Whereas BigX’s rhymes are often sharp, typically, he inadvertently dulls them down by dropping specificity. This renders a few of his trench bars bland; they find yourself carrying the redundancy of numerous different rags-to-riches platitudes, just like the celebratory come-up of “Change.” (“Remember them days being a hood superstar/Now the whole city saying my name.”)
As his longest venture but—2020’s Bacc From the Useless and 2022’s Massive Stepper had been simply six songs every—BigX typically struggles to hold the load of the additional materials. Some moments resemble generic variations of tracks different artists infused with extra individuality, like “Thick,” which features a drab hook that’s acquired all of the originality of a Google seek for “twerk song.” It’s much more obtrusive that Erica Banks, who’s featured on the monitor alongside Tay Cash, already made a greater rendition of the identical factor final 12 months.
There are some surprising manufacturing prospers right here, however on the entire, Amar doesn’t do a lot to raise the rapper it’s internet hosting. BigX remains to be determining assist himself, too. Pairing a screenwriter’s knack for harnessing histrionics with a freestyler’s skill to stack intricate rhymes atop emphatic punchlines, he at all times is aware of ship fascinating particular person verses. The following step is merging them with much less predictable music constructions and extra memorable hooks (as is, they typically really feel like placeholders meant to bridge the hole between one verse and the following). However that’s effective; in any case, he’s solely dropped three tasks. Together with his storytelling know-how and mic presence, BigXthaPlug is price a re-up.