Before unpacking what you've likely just watched above, a brief detour down the drug-addled corridors of one of rap's great strange super groups, the Gravediggaz.
For so many rappers in the modern context, drugs have become an accessory—flair to be displayed in verses and videos like trophies won at a fair. The volume and constancy of drug talk without seeming consequence (Future sure talks about being an addict, but he certainly doesn't bear the pocked, hollowed look of an addict) enforces the impression that even the most nihilistic excess and bacchanalia is acceptable.
For the Gravediggaz, drugs represented the intensification of latent psychosis, a warped looking glass that turned already harsh reality into a violent, unending nightmare. A crash course for the uninitiated: The Gravediggaz was the brainchild of legendary producers Prince Paul and the RZA, who recruited rappers Frukwan and Poetic for a concept album about a murderous supernatural quartet.
Singles "Diary of a Madman," "Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide," and "1-800 Suicide" spell out the thesis for the group's seminal debut 6 Feet Deep, but "Defective Trip (Trippin)" serves as a sort of centerpiece—an wild spiral into madness that speaks as much to the album's terrifying aims as to the cultural conditions that inspired it (6 Feet Deep came a year after RZA and the Wu-Tang Clan restored gritty order to hip-hop with Enter the 36 Chambers).
"Defective Trip (Trippin)" holds a mirror to a world scarred by entropy and hate, casting an equally wrenching (if cartoonishly violent) vision back out. Sonically, it has nothing to do with 23-year-old Houston rapper Young's "Sensitive Savage." Spiritually, it is a kind of sedated successor, a song Young says "represents me and the youth of today."
"This song is literally who I am...my issues, my emotions and my fucked up way of thinking of things sometimes," says Young via email. "I was trashed and in my feelings when I wrote this TBH lol and I just needed to get some shit off my chest."
"Sensitive Savage" comes from darkness, from a world where drug-fueled feels like a viable alternative, but often proves as damaging as the world being escaped. It is the sound of mixed substances and voices reverberating in a brain teetering on the razor wire above insanity. How can you blame a young man (whose name, whether intentionally or not, speaks to the behavior and outlook embedded in "Sensitive Savage") for couching his behavior in a pervasive sense of despondency when the news throws horror after horror at viewers and the great echo machine of the internet reverberates these waves infinitely against our defenses, depleting positivity and sensibility with every blow.
On its surface, "Sensitive Savage" is a song about getting fucked up and losing your mind. In a world gone mad, that doesn't sound like an inappropriate response.
We're switching things up. 5 On It is now going to come at the end of each month. In its place, a new artist will be highlighted on the first and third Saturdays of each month. You can also enjoy some favorites from the past on our new 5 On It Spotify playlist, which you can check out below.