Just when you thought we might be finally released from meme rap – goofy music often driven by likes and plays, rather than the actual quality of the track – another semi-jokey act has crept up out of nowhere. Still, last year’s fantastic but inherently meme-y ‘WAP’ proved that there’s nothing wrong with a good viral tune – especially when you can sit pretty atop of the charts for weeks.
Enter Lil Boom, who trades on pop culture’s current infatuation with Japanese art, specifically anime. Hailing from Tallahassee, Florida, the rapper has proved that meme rap hasn’t died out just yet. With his first two full-length records ‘Hentai Haven’ and ‘Soul Eater’, both released in 2019, full of commercial trap beats, he’s still riding the wave from that year’s TikTok-friendly ‘Already Dead,’ whose catchy instrumental was inspired by a phrase from the popular anime Hokuto no Ken. And now we have his second-ever EP, ‘Odessas Garden’.
Though likeable, the six-track record probably won’t help Lil Boom answer the subgenre’s detractors. The EP itself is an anime-infused jukebox of hit-or-miss tracks; his auto-tuned vocals are a little mushy, but he clearly has a great ear for nostalgic anime samples.
‘Odessa’s Garden’ record peaks with the fun single ‘an evil witches love spell’; the jazzy, nostalgic beat sounds like an anime theme tune. It’s a warm and glowing opener that could have come from the musical mind of Awful Records’ Father, a fellow meme rapper, and is based on a minimalist Pi’erre Bourne-style sound in the background as Boom repeats, “I hit a deep abyss / I hit the deep depression.”
The minimalist ‘beauty and receipt’ stands up on its own terms, Boom’s muddied croon sounding like a caricature of Travis Scott-endorsed rapper Sheck Wes’ breathy top notes, though sounds a little similar to the superior ‘an evil witch…’. The repetitive ‘no song today just pain’ sees Boom recycle the “abyss” lines and work in some basic Spanish to try and perk the song up. The track’s chaotic production doesn’t help, wrapped around a Nintendo 64-style sample that clashes around your ears like an inexperienced Mario Kart player.
The general consensus among fans is that meme rap is a thing of the past, but Lil Boom won’t let the old trend die hard. He might not manage the task single-handedly, but he’s an intriguing talent to keep an eye on.
Release date: January 8