Caricatures

What Went Right With… Cousin Stizz?

A caricature of Cousin Stizz by What Went Wrong Or Right With...? for whatwentrightwith.com

Similar to Mafioso Hip-Hop’s hackneyed sound in the 2000s, Trap music in the 2010s is fast becoming an unoriginal and banal style. Having said that, every time an artist breaths new life into this derivative sub-genre, they reinvigorate it and help it live for a few years more. The way I feel about Trap right now is exactly the same as I did with Mafia-Rap back in the day, I may have detested the unoriginality within this sub-genre but when certain rappers (Genovese and Mo Money for instance) came out with their unique brand of Mafioso Hip-Hop, I started to gravitate toward a sound that I almost wrote off. This brings me to Cousin Stizz, a young rapper from Boston who has been making some noise with his mixtapes over the past few years and very much like those aforementioned old-school rappers, this new-school artist is bringing a sound that feels cool and distinctive. Along with a few other rappers, he is putting new life into this time-worn contemporary style.

From his debut mixtape Suffolk County released in 2015 to his second offering MONDA released a year later, right up to his most recent mixtape One Night Only which was released in July this year, Stizz has been making music that is both listenable and enjoyable. The first track I heard from Cousin Stizz was 2015’s “No Bells”, a super-catchy, slow-tempo song with an infectious chorus; “who you know from out here? your name ain’t ringing no bells, bwoy”…

Suffolk County contained a few unexceptional songs but for every ordinary rap track Stizz showed that he can switch things up and give a better flow when necessary, check out “I Got It” for instance…

Then in 2016 “500 Horses” was the stand-out track from Stizz’ second mixtape. With its mellow vibe and a proficient flow, this was a very catchy track…

If you listen to mainstream radio and music television, most contemporary Hip-Hop music is dumbed-down and sports very basic lyrics and delivery but Stizz on occasion can give the listener something a little more uncommon. For every handful of club tracks that he drops there’s a few songs that are more mellow and sedate. “Day Gone” for instance had a relaxed vibe and sounded more like an old-school Hip-Hop song…

“Big Fella” was another laid-back yet effective track…

“Every Season” is the kind of song that satisfies everybody, it’s a smooth and understated track which is simultaneously indelible…

In his latest mixtape One Night Only, there’s again, tonnes of airy, ethereal production but unfortunately there’s nothing too memorable. For me there was nothing on the level of MONDA and in that respect this mixtape felt a little disappointing. The best track from this release is “Lambo”, sure the chorus is basic but the verses contain a more skilled flow plus you can’t get the “ooo” out of your head once you hear it…

Stizz’ recent track “Headlock” featuring Offset from Migos has broadened his fanbase by association. Because of this, he is now getting more plays, more streams, and more views but in terms of recognition and fame he’s still not on the level of more mediocre Trap artists such as Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert which is unfortunate.

With three mixtapes under his belt his debut album could potentially be something noteworthy, especially if he sticks to his trademark formula for making catchy, credible Trap music. I have to say that there’s been too many generic tracks on his recent mixtape, if he makes an LP with back-to-back “No Bells” and “500 Horses” (with no Pop shit like “Pullup” or lame features like “Neimans Barneys”) he may make a very enjoyable album.

On the broader topic of Trap music, it has to be recognised that this sound has been around since the 1990s and yet it never seems to be labelled “old school”, in fact it is never referred to as “old” the way Boom Bap is (disparagingly sometimes). Because of this, Trap seems to be dragging on for far too long simply on the incorrect assumption that it’s “new”. But, like it or not, the mainstream’s go-to representative of Hip-Hop music right now is Trap, in fact it has been for over a decade (and it looks like it’s got legs). All I ask is that if people insist on being narrow-minded, if they absolutely have to listen to Trap and only Trap, then at least pick the better stuff out there. I mean the sub-genre has been used by many skilled rappers; from The Underachievers, Sahtyre, Flatbush Zombies to Denzel Curry but people keep insisting on listening to the trash that is plaguing the sub-genre. The public for some reason keep drifting towards the stuff that makes the style sound childlike, repetitive, and corny.

Most Trap music today can be described as uninventive and uninspired, even imitative, most Trap rappers offer nothing new to the listener but Cousin Stizz at least makes this sub-genre sound appealing as it did over a decade or a decade and a half ago. Stizz’ topics may not be anything new but there’s something about his personality that gives Trap a new lease of life, let’s hope he steers this style away from the dull and back toward something decent.

His Season.

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