North Carolina’s Chizzy Chaynes ended 2019 on a high with “Back 2 Ballin pt. 2”, and the mantras he set out with the project are set to lead him to new creative peaks this year.
For the modern underground artist, every day can feel like a race. The blinding light of success rains down from the social media accounts of those at the top, and the endlessly dark pit of failure sits ominously underfoot. This can lead to a constant rush – flows stacked atop one another without consideration, verses crammed between hooks. Chizzy Chaynes, a rapper and producer from Raleigh, North Carolina, is refusing to fall victim to this rush.
Chizzy’s minimalist approach to melodic trap music is profoundly refreshing; vocals glide uncompressed, fading in and out in terms of presence and volume. The line “Look at these racks on me” from “RACKSONME ft. Pe$o Ghoul” is a perfect example, the various syllables leaping for and retreating from the listener as the production from YTG bubbles in the background. There’s an embrace of dynamics rarely seen, and whether this is intentional or the product of apathy the songs are hazier and more engaging because of it. With “Back 2 Ballin pt. 2” Chizzy demonstrates a methodology when it comes to building a project that evokes Navy Blue’s “gangway for navy” – the removal of excess pushes the core music to the front of the listener’s experience, whilst retaining the unique glow each genre provides. “Back 2 Ballin pt. 2” glows with the radiance of modern trap; the beats are luscious, the vocals coated in a varnish of autotune, the lyrics hypnotically repetitive, and all of it feels essential.
No track is a better example of this than “I CAN’T TELL EM”, produced beautifully by Valorr. Chizzy’s flow is casual, comfortable but consciously not effortless. Each bar lands on beat with a natural cadence. Those wishing to emulate this are warned by the central refrain “I can’t tell ‘em how I do it”. This mantra compliments Chizzy’s presence well; his discography is so massive that it stretches across two soundcloud accounts, but his identity is hidden away between descriptions of money and drugs. “All that I got is like me and my skills” is a confession of commitment, an honest moment which offers some insight into the reasons behind Chizzy’s work ethic. The delivery of bars such as “All these stacks, they influenced” is slightly slurred, giving double meaning to single lines. Chizzy simultaneously visualises the power and effect of money over the masses, an obsession he shares. A nonchalant “All these racks, I’m into it” carries the rhyme forward into a verse backed by velvety harmonisation.
The cover art of “I CAN’T TELL EM” and the EP it leads is a microcosm of Chizzy’s method. The hints of identity are represented by his face, half visible through abstract shapes that equally represent a great wave and deconstruction. A mirror to the music, there are enough pieces for an image to materialise, no more, no less.
Moving back into Chizzy Chaynes’ discography proves his conceptual consistency. “Lit”, from the EP “RACK MUZIK”, features vocal inflections that recall Playboi Carti or Young Thug, though Chizzy keeps his voice in the deeper register. There’s a bottleneck effect produced; by voicing his lines so powerfully whilst keeping his volume down Chizzy creates wild pronunciations. “I’m fucking your bitch, I know that you pissed, you took your shot, you fucked ’round and missed” brags the rapper in a razor sharp staccato. Production from Lincoln provides the beeps and booms that so perfectly accommodate this style of rap. As the second hook ends the backing vocals carry the song to completion – they loosen the restraint to see the track out with some fun; ad-libs are joyously called into the microphone.
It’s an intriguing thing to see when an artist is able to restrain and control their talent in the way Chizzy Chaynes can. His songs build-up to drops that don’t come, instead the listener becomes hypnotised inside the swirling beats and flows he crafts. “Back 2 Ballin pt.2” is an oceanic fever dream, controlled chaos, an example of the indescribable feeling of wanting more of something and not fully understanding why. Hopefully as Chizzy continues to drop music he’ll develop his style to new levels of idiosyncrasy.
Listen to “Back 2 Ballin pt. 2” here.
– Jamie (@youngjade1216)