Kodak Black – Dying To Live


Florida’s new generation of rappers have been courting controversy not just for their legal misdemeanours but also for their aesthetic unintelligibility. Their look is a pan-racial blend of face tattoos and multicoloured dreadlocks, their words are mumbled, emotions Auto-Tuned; repetition is key (see Lil Pump’s Gucci Gang).

Kodak Black is a key fixture of the scene. His reputation flourished when Drake posted his song Skrt, an off-kilter R&B-rap ballad, on Instagram and again when Cardi B referenced his track No Flockin on her 2017 hit Bodak Yellow. While he distinguished himself from his less coherent peers on diaristic tracks such as 2016’s Letter, in which he rapped from the perspective of a prison inmate, on Dying to Live the introspection falls flat.

Read the review in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 04/01/19]