An Unpopular Opinion: Why Bobby Shmurda Has 2014’s Rap Verse Of The Year

I played overnight star Bobby Shmurda’s “Hot N-gga” ’til I passed out. And his chorus-free barrage of bars emerged as my top pick for the year’s standout verse. If you disagree, get up out my trap hooouse!

Bobby Shmurda’s breakout record “Hot Nigga” begins like he’d been rhyming for who knows how long, and someone finally decided this is pretty good and pressed record.

And Chewy, I’m some hot nigga/Like I talk to Shyste when I shot niggas…

No intro. No entry hook. Nah. Bobby begins with And. From there, the Flatbush rapper never looks back, relishing in his hard knock reality: elementary school crack sales, twitchy trigger fingers, GS9 set solidarity.

Shmurda doesn’t just find a pocket in Jahlil Beats’ sparse yet hard-hitting instrumental. The Epic Records signee digs a trench and camps out between the pummeling drums and howling sirens. And then he delivers nearly 140 seconds of straight hood realism with a uniquely Brooklyn flavor. Majority rule at VIBE may have crowned Jay Electronica, but I’m here to give you the real: Bobby Shmurda’s straight bars on “Hot Nigga” compile the rap verse of the year.

There are only a handful of factors in “Hot Nigga” becoming the most repeat-worthy song of 2014. Sure, much of the hoopla is owed to Vine and the Shmoney Dance (a.k.a. glorified two-step). But musically, there’s a lot more at play.

It’s more than just Jahlil Beats awesome production. Lloyd Banks had the same beat two years earlier, yet his “Jackpot” record, with its sly similes and rattling punchlines, wouldn’t be more than a dope mixtape cut even if the G-Unit lyricist was doing the Macarena in the video.

What Bobby brings to the beat is an unflinching realness. Effortless flow. No hook, but instead punctuates the record with these drawn-out elongations that are perfect for sing-alongs:

And if you ain’t a ho, get up out my trap hooouse…

Shorty love the way that I floss oooout…

But GS for my gun squaaaad…

It’s simple, yet effective melody. Flow. Like how Lil Wayne animates Bangladesh’s anemic “A Milli” production. But don’t sleep on the lyrics, either. They’re often straightforward, but there’s a sneaky repetition weaved throughout. Like this, with the word dog:

Free Greezy though, let all of my dogs out
Momma said no pussy cats inside my doghouse
That’s what got my daddy locked up in the dog pound
Free Phantom though, let all of my dogs out

Or the alphabet play in homage to his Grimey Savage Crip crew:

Grimey savage, that’s what we are
Grimey shooters dressed in G-Star
GS9, I go so hard
But GS for my gun squaaaad

There’s a reason you know all the words to “Hot Nigga,” and it has nothing to do with a trendy dance. Bobby Shmurda took a barebones beat and created the most memorable verse of the year. It’s not the most uplifting or complex lyricism, but it’s a rhyme scheme that’ll have you on that go-dumb shit for years to come. —John Kennedy (@youngJFK)