Pink Siifu’s new tape is a 22-minute homebody odyssey

Pink Siifu. Photo by Tumi Adeleye


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Pink Siifu likes to keep us guessing. We first hear his voice on GOT FOOD AT THE CRIB’! VOL​.​1 as a mutter, broadcast from a spiky haze of Garageband distortion. For a moment, it sounds as though the Cincinnati artist is returning to his noise-punk era, which debuted with the rancorous, epoch-defining album NEGRO in 2020. And while it retains that meandering spirit, GFATC spends its 22 minutes exploring hip-hop’s dustier grooves, sounding similar at times to his early solo work or the 2020 Fly Anakin collaboration Fly Siifu’s.

GFATC’s mode and presentation help distinguish it: Dropped without warning on Friday, April 5 exclusively on Bandcamp, it has the air of a daisy-chained DAT tape reel that somehow found its way into your speakers. Without separated tracks, the beginnings and endings of songs (producers include Siifu’s alias iiye, Tony Seltzer, XVII, MVW, West, and IMDEAD) are left to the listener to determine. On paper, it’s a suite; in practice, it becomes more like a sculpture, where multiple angles of engagement over time bring a more weighty understanding.

The first two tracks are exercises in texture. The opener pitches up a neo-soul sample and cuts it into angular slices while Siifu raps in a squint-and-you’ll-understand-it flow. This is followed by a garage remix of Janet Jackson’s “Would You Mind?” that feels slightly cheeky, like an intermission placed just after the opening credits.

But as effective and transportative as its structure is, GFATC is first and foremost a rap project. The memorable bars courtesy of Siifu and his GKFAM collective come fast and furious. Siifu is as versatile as ever with auras that can range from sage-like and blunted to cartoonishly voracious for sex and money. His standout performance comes at about 7:45, when he takes poetic stock of his accomplishments: “When I’m on stage I don’t really see nobody face / I be looking at ghosts / No lights, no crowd, no DJ / I’m a vessel, I cope,” he raps, flexing a haunting awareness of the source of his talents. The album’s featured artists all enliven their respective songs, too: Turich Benjy’s falsetto gives his track a crushed velvet swag, and Apollo Rome has a deep, bassy delivery that adds some turbo power to his track’s lane-switching energy.

As soon as Rome raps “Every day we workin’ it’s a GK Family,” the song cuts out, and the collaborative spirit of GFATC comes to a head. The project’s last four minutes comprise a live recording of a low-stakes freestyle session between Siifu and his crew. It’s not a cypher with sweeping lyrical feats, but rather a fantastical riffing session on the durag — a mystical, bottomless container of everything from their homes to their families. It’s also the source of the waves they boast about between giggles and gas-ups; listening feels like walking in on the middle of an inside joke. This camaraderie runs through GFATC, down to its title: what was once a parental chide directed at kids hungry for McDonald’s is now a statement of purpose. Why would you get your fill of raps anywhere else, when the most nourishing ones can be found in Siifu’s circle?