Rap Blog: Banditdamack comes for the throne

Rap Blog is a weekly showcase of a standout rap song written by Vivian Medithi and Nadine Smith.

The tragic loss of Drakeo the Ruler in 2021 left a void in the Los Angeles rap scene, but his legacy lives on through the many lyricists in the city who bear his unmistakable influence. On his new EP Out of Control, Banditdamack displays the same kind of effortless flow and sharp storytelling ability that made Drakeo such an evocative voice. Like a plunge into ice water in wintertime, “MVP” immediately thrusts you into Banditdamack’s cutthroat reality with some of the coldest opening bars in recent memory: “Mama told me ‘Son, the way you livin’ only gonna lead you up into two options’ / Gangbanging only lands you in one of two boxes.” Each line is crammed to the brim with words and internal rhymes, like short stories that offer an episodic glimpse into Banditdamack’s escapades, but there’s a rhythmic bounce to his delivery that keeps it from feeling too dense or overly wordy. Thumping G-funk beats bring the West Coast flavor, but creepy-crawly piano lines keep everything a little on edge, as Banditdamack raps like his Spidey-Sense is tingling: subdued, but never too comfortable, always watching for the heat around the corner.