Father is the epitome of an internet irl rapper. Going to one of his shows often feels like watching the twitter timeline go by in real life. Father blessed Brooklyn’s Elsewhere last night playing all of his latest EP Hu$band as well as a bevy of his classic hits. Some wrote Father off post-Wrist and while he may never reach that same level of virality again he has been delivering off-kilter bangers for over half a decade establishing himself as a bellwether in underground hip-hop. I, like many other pre-pubescents in the early 2010’s, was swept up into Odd Future mania heavy, but as that dwindled down I found myself identifying less with their vibe. Somewhere in 2014 Awful Records took a special place in my heart and while I will always appreciate OF I felt like Awful Records had two things they didn’t. Awful was willing to experiment to a much higher caliber and they were a bunch of poor fuck ups like me at the time (and currently).
From the moment OF was discovered they were untouchable superstars with legions of fans. Awful Records is the flipside of the coin, always on the brink of something better while also always moving forward into stranger uncharted territories. No Awful Records member exemplifies this message more than Father, the de facto leader of the group. Father is one of the most influential voices of rap’s digital era. The signature line on his break-out hit Look at Wrist “Never had to flip a brick but I get the jist” summarizes a whole generation of rappers looking to be soft, emotional, and hard at the same time. When Wrist dropped last night and the crowd heard the opening, “Look at God” it was like the venue transitioned into a church of the underground. One of the first rappers to embrace the black and gothic trend on a large scale his footprint is still fresh on the game to this day. Father helped legitamize a generation of rappers who claimed they would still fuck a nigga up no matter how much anime they binged. His newest project Hu$band continues the streak of evolving to new planes of weird glory.
The album comes out of the gate with the slow melodic jam Joestar. Here Father channels aspects of his debut project Young Hot Ebony, going into detail on all the drugs he’s on and who he’s about to hit (never know if it’s in a sexual or violent manner but as long as the former is consensual and the later is justified I have no issues). The song has an inner anxiety to it but outwardly Father and the beat could not be less pressed, the only thing that even takes up a modicum of importance in his mind is getting his girl to bring him a flat surface to do illicit substances off of. The track also winks at the overt sexual nature of Fathers music with his line “when I drop a tape the birth rate increase.” Mans is probably tied with Uncle Luke for crass bars at this point in his career. The track is anchored by a hypnotizing hook that sounds like Father is truly singing you a lullaby which is fitting considering Father will be an actual Father soon (META!).
Joestar is followed by the Meltycanon supported track Hexes. It is spooky season and Father is bringing that to our full attention with this track. Game saving Meltycanon delivers an enchanting beat once more for Father to glide over. The two of them have been working together for ages on stellar tracks like Heartthrob and Only You and have quietly become one of the most consistent pairings in rap. Father’s mischievousness really glows on this track as he demonstrates how versatile he really can be. Father laces mob boss like threats with titular references to streaming services, curses, and movies on said streaming services. He has an almost MF Doom like way of putting together the foreign and juxtaposing it in a way that doesn’t water down both topics. What other rapper is saying their rings look like Frodo’s???? Speaking of Frodo the tracks namesake is given a fair amount of attention as well. Father collects his bags through Hexes and this continues one of my favorite motifs in his music. Father has never been shy with his references to black magic or satanic rituals and while 99.9% of rappers would make this sound eternally corny he somehow sells it. Check out Sepiroth off Awful Swim for one of the best examples of this.
The next track is the first true explosion on Hu$band. Handful demands to not only be heard but to blow out your eardrums unapologetically. The Bankroll Gotit beat screeeeeeches, creeping about like a fucking meat-grinder. When Father performed this song last night the crowd immediately opened up and then collapsed, fucking up many unexpecting attendees simply not ready for chaos. I am fortunate to include myself within the demographic of chaos inciters and I believe Father is one as well. Here he mixes humor and horror perfectly on that track dropping what I think is his biggest banger since Thotnite. Father takes no time in the start of this track immediately threatening to shoot porn in everyone’s moms yard, a threat I’m sure has Freud smiling in his grave. Father is not the protagonist in this song, rather he is the friend your mom warned you to stay away from but still somehow ended up at your birthday party and is now throwing m80s at your little cousins (fuck you tommy!). But as all great Father tracks are the high intensity verses are bookended by an almost asmr hook. He gleefully orders girls to throw it back while describing his type. At first Father applies the title of handful to a girl who may or may not be doing too much but he eventually widens the scope realizing that him and her are one and the same. Being a handful encapsulates the absolute mess we all can be after one too many. Also, a word to the wise, it would be smart to listen to this song for the first time with the music video. Father has been killing the music video game for years and this track is no different.
As quickly as the moshpit material comes on Hu$band it fades right back out. Handful is followed by the absolutely blissful Iceman. This track immediately changed the vibe in the venue from cracked out CBGB’s to 10:30 at your junior prom slow dancing praying to make your way to any of the bases. One twitter user put it best stating she doesn’t know if this song makes her want to cry or fuck.
I for one am still getting to the bottom of that question myself. One this track Father continues his persona while also utilizing vivid storytelling to paint himself as a kingpin. I highly recommend that you watch the video with this song as well. It is beautifully claymated and it compliments the ethereal tone of the song perfectly. Iceman is sad, horny, and wealthy all at once and it’s all the better for it. Father floats on the track dropping hilarious quips that he will turn his tears into cars and that while your girls obsessed with him your nut tastes like actual glue (eat more pineapple dickheads!). His tear line on the track is actually not the first time he’s referenced turning his tears into money funny enough. On why can’t I cry $$$? He asks the existential question of why tears fall from his eyes instead of Harriet Tubman twenty dollar bills (me too Fat me too). Father makes possibly selling dope to your children sound almost wholesome on this song and weaves it in between non-sequiturs saying he plays in the pussy like an arcade right after vividly describing his case of the Mondays.
Father follows this up with a lot on ur plate. This is the closest Father gets to rap caviar spotify-playlist material but he still does it on his own terms without losing himself in a sea of anonymous melodic yelps. The track really put the audience in a Kubrick Stare like trance with some opting to reenact this gif.
Meltycanon saves the game again delivering what I believe to be the best instrumental on the project. Also, I hate to say it for the third time, but please watch this video as well for full immersion into Father’s world. He gets existential once more, highlighting how often it seems that we all got too much on our fucking plates. A lot on ur plate allows us to take a break from that dread soothing you with a beat that is somehow baby-shit soft and hard as hell at the same damn time (shout out Pluto). Father taps into that black magic energy again with lines like “I’m so bad, yeah, I have sinned, Throw that ass, I might give in” .
Its impossible to tell at this moment if Father is a corrupted angel or the purest demon. But while we contemplate that Father does what he does best, delivering poignant sex raps that can go toe to toe with Danny Brown (but only on Tuesdays). Father also becomes one of the first rappers I’ve heard name checking his therapist on a track. Many judge the overt obscenity present in Fathers lyrics but never forget that Father is pretty non-problematic and he shows it with mentally conscious bars like that. The whole songs about treating your girl right so do that and if you don’t got a girl treat your mom right in the meantime.
Family Function is the last track on Hu$band and I feel like it very well summarizes what he is about as an artist. It gets ignorant while winking at you self-aware of its ridiculousness. The track is kicked off by Fathers trademarked malicious laughter. He declares himself two-dicked up on a Tuesday night. No one knows what it means but it’s provocative and it gets the people going. The show at Elsewhere was in fact on a Tuesday so there was no way he was going to leave the stage without playing it, and it brought the crowd back to its aggressive nature. My only grievance about the show is that Father cut out that absolute classic Zack Fox verse (his rap career is unabashedly the best thing to happen in 2019 FREE HIM TWITTER!)
The hook is a primal chant meant to be yelled in increasing intensity throughout the whole song. The track could be seen as a succinct example of what Awfuls about. You really are learning how his family functions. Father uses this track to discuss actual families talking about being fucked up at weddings a tried and true good time we can all relate too. Father channels one of his most based and poorly timed tracks (Everybody in the Club gettin shot) on this track once again threatening to have his boys shoot up the function. Fathers voice somehow makes these threats sound almost pure in a way. It’s very different from the fear a rapper like 21 attempts to cultivate in his base due to its self-awareness. Zack Fox caps off this project with an absolutely stellar verse that steals the show. He is aggressive, hungry, and incapable of losing on this track. Fox looks at the fun he’s having now and can’t help but reminisce on how far he has come “Ashing Backwoods on your carpet (Big blunts!), Bitch I came a long way, From stealing v-necks out of Target (Ayy, yeah), Ayy, we turn up”. Fox continues his pattern of sliding the entirety of black culture through a deep fried memes filter and letting his brain distill the funniest results.
Immediately after Fathers set his DJ dropped Square Up and a pit formed once more. As I primally screamed lyrics into the void I felt as if I was among extended family. Father is most certainly a if you know you know rapper but make no mistake that everyone should know.