Grant Money Raps is a short effort at practicing some of the theory contained in Rhys Langston's LP and book, Language Arts Unit. Namely, it poses a brief answer to questions written like: "It is worth wondering if a song would be as catchy and seductive to the senses if it had the same beat, melody, and/or flow pattern with simply different words and concepts used than what is expected. Or is there something essential about the baseline pool of ideas and words that has been established? Does the rate and immediacy with which songs are made disallow references to synonyms, or re-examinations of the whole picture and message given by compositions?"
But this EP is neither a Kendrick-Lamar-esque re-fashioning of sounds into artfully moralized 808s and triplet flows, nor something like the (tacit) disrespect of a Lil-Dicky-like satire of Black club-environment aesthetics. From a post-Carti number about "his bitch" not being a socialist and in favor of universal healthcare, to a barred-out attack on paying dues in the dystopia, to a freestyle proclaiming himself a MacArthur Genius on Black Twitter, Rhys Langston asks, in the plain language of pop music, if our alternative is still somewhat conservative. If we expect the sound of something to be indicative of its meaning, is this reflective of how we perceive certain people's capacity to be complex or not?
And who better to take this on than a Los Angeles born-and-raised, multidisciplinary Black Jewish William Tell with popular rap's tropes in the crosshairs?
released July 3, 2020
written and performed by Rhys Langston, featuring Reg Mason