Deep in his routine of spitting left-field lyrics over crisp trap beats, Father has hit peak individuality. He’s not interested being trendy or starting a fad, he just wants to be himself. There’s no one out there trying to out-write lines like “Shawty shake them titties like you’re tryna take flight.” With Awful Swim, Father creates exciting minimalism from laziness and acuteness from absurdity.
After 2 years without a project from Father, Awful Swim comes as a collaboration between Awful Records and Adult Swim, which makes sense. In addition to the title, the world painted in this album is deeply similar to that of a cartoon. Talking animals, teleporting, and monsters are not earthly occurrences, but we casually accept them as normal in a TV show. Questioning the practicality of such a universe is a waste of time. Listening to Father’s lyrics is the same way. Don’t bother trying to figure out if “Girl, I really need my belly rubbed” is a bar or not, just enjoy the insanity.
Fellow Awful Records member (and owner of the longest rat-tail in hip hop) Slug Christ kicks off “Private Show” with a sassy sixteen woven between a rubbery Bay Area baseline and Memphis-type snares. Father’s verse follows Slug’s directly and matches his energy perfectly with obscure one-liners and vivid half-brags like, “Juked on this hoe and broke her knees, her ankles bent like plastic.” All of this absurdity goes down before the one-minute mark. References to Fergie and bars about picnics to follow.
Awful Records’ Abra lays a verse and a hook on “Lotto,” and Rico Nasty spits a gruesome verse on “On One” that yields a mean thizz face. Rico’s flow is animated but ruthless, accentuating every syllable, grabbing the spotlight with abundant confidence. Each feature on Awful Swim is beautifully sequenced so that the guest verses serve as refreshing cameos, rather than derailments.
“She Used To” makes a run for the hottest summer slapper, and it was released a day before summer ends. Typical Father. “She Used To” is the sonic equivalent of drinking a Truly in a kiddie pool. As the producer of the track, Father has just as much fun. He stutter-steps his snares at the end of phrases and accentuates transitions with flowery synth loops. This song epitomizes the payoff of Father’s carelessness on Awful Swim. His raps have the presence and unfiltered energy of a freestyle, but with radiant character and truly memorable bars like a well-revised written. Also, you know a hook is hot when the first line of the verse that follows it is the same as the last line of the hook. That’s a fact.
Toward the end of his verse in “She Used To,” Father mentions that he should have been a math teacher (given how much he counts up racks, of course), and as hype as it would be to take Father’s class, I’m forever grateful to have him in the world of hip hop. I’d say rap needs people like Father, but he’s the only person like him.
Originally published on undergroundunderdogs.com