Atlanta rapper Father is one of the stranger people involved in Atlanta hip-hop. He is a druggy twenty-year-old rapper and casual label owner at the epicenter of the Atlanta rap scene. He makes up Awful Records along with iLoveMakonnen and Key! and has had a successful string of singles and an album called Who's Gonna Get F**ked First? He and his label mates have gone against the normal evolution of an Atlanta hip-hop artist. Their general DIY attitude and lack of associated hip-hop acts has contributed to an unpredictable sound and innovative style.
This all brings us to now, a time when he and his label have had many a million-viewed video and are attempting to cope with their sudden success. Father himself describes this album as "The melancholy result to all my F****d-up decisions." Aesthetically, it is distinctly "New Atlanta," full of synths and 808's. However, Father puts a new touch on the sound, drenching it in reverb but also muting his own voice. This frees him up to be more artistically daring, taking a new direction within an already established tradition.
The track "Big Emblem Benz," starts off with a catchy melody and limited, hyper compressed drums. Father begins to mutter a few words, and after the initial eight bars, we expect a drop, bass booming hard-hitting snare, but it never comes. As Father begins to sing the hook, we are left with an almost eerie emptiness. It's like his voice is echoing around this big room, alone. It is discomforting and surprising for anyone who has listened to Atlanta hip-hop in recent years, and it makes us feel like he does--lost and confused.
The beats are sparse, and Father fills them with clever rhymes, self-deprecation, admission of wrongdoings, and parcels of his jaded wisdom. This is Father's morning after album. It is perhaps best summarized by Father himself in the lines: "Starting to think these b*****s f**k with me for amusement... I wanna die a little, cry a little, get a little high right now" on "Y U Make It Hurt Like This." He is tired of one-night stands and is feeling bad about his own shortcomings, although no one around him wants to tell him he has them. From all of these experiences, he learns invaluable lessons that he kindly shares with us (without sounding at all preachy), particularly on "Up Still:" "everything dies, everyone's a lie, never ever trust another n***a with your life, never ever trust another n***a with your wife, your circle keep it tight." He talks about the aspects of fame that most people won't discuss, and does it creatively and with some tight rhymes.
There are moments in which the focus on sex stops being interesting and starts being gross. This is not so say that the overall content of the album is lacking, just that at moments it becomes a little redundant. This is a conclusion we are all supposed to come to, because that's how he feels about his own actions. When Father says everything he says on "2 Girl Fantasy 2," he's not bragging. He is being intentionally crude to express that he feels disgusted with himself, and he's telling us all about it. It is rare enough to see a rapper admit his wrongdoings or the wrongfulness of the rap limelight itself, but for one to do so in a self-deprecating way is truly novel and brave.
This album is a departure both from the Atlanta subgenre and Father's previous style and attitude. Where he was once excited about cars and money, the well-worn rap markers of success, he is now jaded and ambivalent at best. His boredom is emblematic of society's growing skepticism of the virtues of wealth and fame. His exhaustion with women who throw themselves at him for his fame, even at his age, marks a general tiredness and disgust with clichéd rap success. With his rejection of normal rap success, it will be interesting to see where this young artist goes next.