g perico - shit don't stop: review
Words by Mack Irwin
It feels a lot like the West Coast rap scene is having a moment right now. 2016 has seen instant-classic releases from Kendrick, YG, Isaiah Rashad, and others; but even beyond the big names, the region is bursting with talent.
One of those unheralded talents is Los Angeles native G Perico. Perico doesn’t have a label deal, an album, or even a Wikipedia page. But he does have a quietly acclaimed mixtape, Shit Don’t Stop, which was released in September.
The tape is excellent. It’s street rap, drawing widely from California gangsta rap influences without sacrificing a unique vibe. Shit Don’t Stop runs on sneering exuberance, carrying a high-energy pace through all 42 minutes. If that sounds tiresome, it doesn’t feel it. Perico’s swagger is tempered by a winking self-awareness; his boasts are as entertaining as they often are absurd. On “Middle Finger” – one of the tape’s best tracks – Perico raps ‘If I rob a bank, and get away in the chase / It’d be all good, cuz ain’t nobody seen my face.’ Track five is honest-to-god called “Neva Die”, and the chorus goes ‘I ain’t gon’ neva die / Neva eva gon’ die / I ain’t neva gon’ die / …’.
Only four vocalists appear as features: Jay 305, YC Creez, TF – who also appeared on ScHoolboy Q’s Blank Face LP this summer – and Shiré. Shiré is the only non-West Coast native on the tape; the others all hail from the same South Central neighbourhood of LA as Perico.
The tape’s production was handled by eight contributors, including Larry Jay, Resource, and Scott Storch. For such a big group, the production flows together effortlessly, sitting back on beats that manage to feel both hefty and sparing. On South Central, a DJ Mustard-esque fat, plunking bass line fades into the background, leaving just echoing keyboard notes and a snare track. On Craccin, Perico crows about the benefits to hustling on the streets (“I could make a hundred grand on the block / all tax free, all tax free”) over a towering four-note synth riff. The cascading, forthright arrangements set the pace and then step back, pushing Perico into the spotlight, bounding comfortably atop the beats.
If Perico’s voice isn’t high, it definitely isn’t low. It isn’t quite nasal, either, but it comes close. He skims above his beats, deftly skipping through technical bars and landing hard on his punches. And there are punches: for all Perico’s enthusiasm, the tape still comes back to jail, comes back to L.A., and comes back to violence.
Earlier this year, Perico was shot in the hip only hours before he was scheduled to perform. Undeterred, he had the wound stitched up and went ahead, bleeding, with his show. That’s so crazy to me. I once went home from school because I got stung by a wasp. Perico got up on stage and rapped just hours after being shot in the hip. How could that not get people talking about G Perico?
Shit Don’t Stop isn’t a perfect mixtape. Hah flops, with a grating chorus – ‘Bitch I thought you know / Bitch I really thought you know (act like you know ho) / …’ – over a disjointed beat. And as fun as the tape is, there isn’t much diversity here: it’s 42 minutes of one vibe, done very well. But Shit Don’t Stop deserves all the momentum it’s gathering and more. It’s an outstanding, distinctively West Coast mixtape – in style, collaborators, and theme – with a relentless, infectious energy. It’s pregame music, full-car-road trip music. It’s impossible to listen to without looking forward to Perico’s next release; and so even in a banner year for West Coast rap, Shit Don’t Stop stands out.