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.