With "2016 Rap Up" Contemporary Culture Observer Skillz Surmises Highs & Lows of The "Bummer" Year That Was

Posted by Billyjam, January 1, 2017 11:59am | Post a Comment

"This past year was a bummer," is how  Skillz, (aka Mad Skillz) kicks off his just published annual year in review rap: "2016 Rap Up" (audio of song below).  From that opener through its closing line about "2016 you can go, and I'm glad you're gone Felt like a long bad dream" this contemporary culture observer accurately surmises the highs and lows of 2016 while simultaneously channeling how many of us feel at this year's end. Hear the full audio below, uploaded yesterday to SoundCloud, of the artist's latest year-in-review rhyme: something that began accidentally 14 years ago. "It was originally a freestyle for the end of a mixtape that I did in '02 over all Neptunes beats," he told the Amoeblog in an interview last year, adding how "It just grew legs of its own." By now his annual "Rap Ups," that are typically recorded and uploaded in the final two days of December have become anticipated rhyme recaps of the year. 

Skillz' two-decade career dates back to his killer 1996 debut From Where??? on Big Beat f
eaturing production from The Large Professor and Jay Dee (aka J Dilla).  But so popular are Skillz' annual "Rap Up" reviews, they tend to overshadow his other work. They're funny, short, and cater to a short-attention span generation. As Skillz shared in his Amoeblog interview the formula for his annual rap recap is simple:  "Get to it, give 'em the facts, make it humorous, make 'em think, make 'em reminisce, and get out!"  For the backtrack to his newest production Skillz utilizes Young M.A’s ’ “Summer Story (instrumental).” 

In the five minutes and eleven seconds runs down the year he packs in a lot of content  including referencing such topics as the Broadway hit Hamilton, president elect Donald Trump, the  Pokemon Go app, and The Oscars ("so white they had to get Chris Rock"). Among the song's many other artists, characters, and cultural moments referenced by Skillz in his "2016 Rap Up" are the following examples. Hear audio of song below.

Album of the Year: 
"And the album of the year had to be Anderson .Paak"  [Malibu also on vinyl LP]

"Beyonce made sure y'all got in formation" +  "The world stopped when Beyonce dropped Lemonade
She slayed, and over-shared"

Rappers: Popularity & Beefs:
"Birdman ran up on Charlamagne And Lil' Wayne still not 'puttin' respect on his name'"
 "Young Thug in a dress, Yung Joc got a perm" +  "Game and Meek beefing"
 '[Desiinger's ] "Panda was a hit and we couldn't understand the words These youngins keep mumbling"
 "Shout to Young M.A. for bringing New York back"

Kayne West:
"Who let Kanye West get 53 million in debt?"  "I hear y'all talking about
"Kanye is fine" Well to us it look like Kanye done lost his mind"

Pop Music Stars
"Rihanna went to work without taking a pause" + "Khaled kept snapping"
+  "Janet Jackson pregnant at 50"

Sports inc. Warriors
"Cubs finally Won" + "Cowboys kept ballin', them boys in the zone" + "KD did
the running man challenge all the way to Golden State....Warriors went on
a streak and then they got served"

Rest In Peace
"a world without Muhammad Ali and no Prince" + "One time for Phife Dawg from the Zulu Nation"

Relevant Tags

Mad Skillz (3), Skillz (5), Best Of 2016 (18), Rap Up 2016 (1), Kanye West (40)