Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Actually Like: Fabo, pt. 1

When you think about snap music, you think about silly dances and popping 909 drums, not sadness and drug-fueled paranoia. But the latter is all over the music of Fabo. Formerly of D4L, of "Laffy Taffy" fame, Fabo has, with songs like "So High," "Spaceship Man, " and "It Got Me," created a kind of snap music that brings to the forefront the darker elements that have always lurked in the margins of party rap.

While the majority of party rap songs follow the same stale cliches about hitting on hot girls at clubs and showing off your clothes and jewelry, the best songs capture that mix of joy, sadness, and self-destruction that happens when you're literally trying to party your life away. It's interesting that this kind of song appears far more frequently in regional forms of rap like hyphy and snap music than in more mainstream rap, and I would attribute this to the fact that regional acts are far more likely to play club shows, where the audience is full of working people who want to dance and drink their problems away, and where a certain amount of "fuck the world, I'm getting wasted" attitude is always welcome.

On the first verse of "So High," Fabo sounds like he's about to pass out, his mind racing with hallucinations, fears of going to jail ("It's so easy to be erased/Another judge, another case"), and a nagging desire to just get even higher. The second verse is a little less lyrically dark, but the sadness that was there before is even more palpable because Fabo is singing instead of rapping. The pathos in the line like "I can dance on the moon, and I can hardly breathe/Now that don't mean I want you bothering me" is undeniable for a number of reasons, but mostly because of the way it's sung. Note the fact that it's not "but I can hardly breathe," but "and I can hardly breathe," meaning being barely able to breathe is pleasurable. Fabo is high on feeling close to death, and he doesn't want anybody fucking up that high.

The chorus of "It Got Me" makes this kind of feeling even more explicit, with the lines "I look good tonight, I got a whole big bag of thrills/I already feel alright, but I might overdose for real/ Cus it got me, it got me..." The song's beat is full of foreboding and melodramatic synthesized strings, like the sound of a drug addiction overwhelming all other desires. Fabo raps "I do this every day, it's like religion, routine..." and it's impossible to deny that you're listening to either someone already addicted to drugs or someone who will be soon.