Rhythm & Views

Cadence Weapon

Afterparty Babies is the kind of hip-hop/rap album that appeals to white girls like me who usually spend their time listening to music made predominantly with guitars. We like Afterparty Babies because of the things it has in common with all of the other stuff we listen to: original themes, intelligent lyrics, creative uses of language, exciting rhythms and sounds.

And just like with pop records, it's all about the hooks, and Afterparty Babies has plenty of 'em, both lyrical and musical. "Do I Miss My Friends?" has the minimal but infectious chorus of "back in those days"; "Limited Edition OJ Slammer" has a cool video-game-like refrain; and then there's the brilliant combination of old-school rhythms and the chorus of "I made a deal today, we're selling real estate," on "Real Estate."

Afterparty Babies is also clever and satirical. Cadence Weapon, also known as Rollie Pemberton, takes on pretty much everything, from real-estate brokers to mainstream rappers to major labels to technology to fashion: "Gosh, I wear pink unironically!" Pemberton says in "The New Face of Fashion." (When was the last time you heard the word "gosh" in a rap song?) But at the same time, Afterparty Babies is self-reflective and personal--"Tattoos (And What They Really Feel Like)" tells the story of Pemberton getting a tattoo in a way that is both endearing and educational.

And that's really the true appeal here: the persona of Cadence Weapon himself, a rapper concerned with cultural critique, set to '80s-era hip-hop sounds.