Perspective | Goonew made rap music really feel timeless in his personal means


Clearly, “regular” for Goonew — who was shot in District Heights on Friday night, his supervisor confirmed, and died hours later — wasn’t common for the remainder of us. He felt how he felt, placing his phrases the place they wanted to go, feeling the clock on his personal phrases, reminding us that there are a number of methods to expertise this one-way push by way of life. As a rapper, he appeared to know that point will not be uniform, and he proved it with astonishing model, his nuanced flows changing into carefully related to the DMV, influencing rappers in neighboring Zip codes and overseas.

All of it occurred quick. Goonew claimed to have began rapping in 2017, and inside a yr he had grow to be modern and prolific, dropping a glut of songs throughout a sequence of albums — “Certified Goon,” “Beware of Goon,” “Homicide Boys,” “Big 64,” “Goonrich Urkel” and extra — that recounted quite a lot of nightmare eventualities with dreamlike cool. Saturated with temper, his verses depicted a world of menace and paranoia, however the place mortality was one way or the other negotiable. On the eerie, curtain-raising title track of his excellent 2019 album “Back From Hell,” he rapped with composure and sprint, declaring that he had already “died twice.”

Once we describe music as “timeless,” we’re often speaking about sturdiness, suggesting {that a} specific track or sound transcends the fickle fashions of the day. Goonew made timeless music differently. It very a lot belonged to its second, however what it did in that second felt like a little bit metaphysical denial of time itself. Hearken to how his syllables threaten to collide like a beltway pileup through the intensifying crescendo of “Stain.” Hearken to how he seems like he’s speaking over himself alongside Atlanta’s Lil Yachty and his go-to collaborator Lil Dude on “Homicide Boat.” Hearken to him swap brags with Lil Grey on “Positive Goon,” his phrases as slippery as whispers, refusing to totally obey the rhythm’s consensus ticktock.

By making time really feel completely different, Goonew made life really feel completely different. He deserved extra of each.


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