Review (ENG) : Yung Simmie // Shut up and Vibe III
Updated: 5 days ago
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This last 18th of December, Yung Simmie unveiled Shut up and Vibe III, thereby ending a three-year gap without any project releases from the rapper. The artist, who grew up in Opa Locka in Miami, has been active since about 2009. He can be counted amongst the flagship figures of a scene that developed on Soundcloud between 2012 and 2016, along with the likes of Pouya, Fat Nick or Germ, as well as Denzel Curry, with whom the artist grew up. The two rappers in fact remain close to this day and were both members of the Raider Klan, SpaceGhostPurrp's collective and label. Simmie however left the collective at the end of his contract in 2017, and has thus released his latest project under his very own label, Simmie Gang.
As a result of his ability to record large amounts of music in relatively short time spans, Simmie unveiled nine projects between 2013 and 2017. This is a topic he touches upon in an interview given to No Jumper in 2016. Indeed, the rapper provocatively explains that, having been working on his sound for years, rapping has gotten easy to a point where it sometimes bores him. He furthermore states to have put together Full Metal Freestyle -one of his biggest commercial successes to this day with 6.5 million streams on Soundcloud- in about fifteen minutes. However, Simmie does not intend to idle away, and adds that he fuels his growth as an artist by setting himself challenges, for instance pushing himself to record of the top his head. As he mentions his work process when in the studio, the rapper stresses that it all relies on the energy at the time of recording, allowing him to put together a great deal of tracks, even if that means he may end up only keeping a limited number. This coincides with the idea that the rapper still has considerable amounts of unreleased music stored away, as confirmed in 2018 during another interview.
In line with his habit of stretching the release of his series of projects over several years, Simmie unveiled Shut up and Vibe's third instalment seven years after the first and six years after the second. These two projects comprised some remarkable songs from the artists discography, like for instance captivating Off the Dank featuring Nell, where the rapper's slowed down flows combined with passages in Chopped & Screwed establish a mesmerising ambiance which is specific to Simmie. One could also mention Full Metal, where the rapper's ability to include imagery in his lyrics is blended with trenchant ego-trip, allowing him to remind the audience of his superiority in the rap sphere. Finally, Thankful alongside SpaceGhostPurrp is the opportunity for Yung Simmie to play with the notion of gratitude, by both expressing how appreciative he is of the success he encounters with the Raider Klan but also being boastful, and asserting that his rivals should be grateful of the mercy he shows towards them.
By picking up the thread of a series of tapes which started off in 2013, the Opa Locka native reaffirms the will to make his latest project fall within the continuity of what he had put forward in the past, especially after three years solely punctuated with the release of singles. This idea is reinforced in a tweet recently made by Simmie, where he announced that, despite past differences, Shut up and Vibe III was predominantly produced by DJ Smokey, with whom the rapper used to work. Indeed, the duo had unveiled a joint project dubbed Yung Smokey in 2015.
From left to right: Yung Smokey cover (2015) and DJ Smokey
Shut up and Vibe III comprises 14 tracks, including three songs which were unveiled prior to the release of the project: Do the Math, released in 2019 (initially for Simmie World, whose release ended up being pushed back) as well as Da Lyricist and Tik Tok (initially named Tik Tik), unveiled in 2020. The project does not include any features, similarly to the two latest instalments of Basement Musik.
The tape kicks off with 2020, Pt. 2, following up on the song that was also the introduction on Yung Smokey, 2020. DJ Smokey's tag is recognisable from the start, and the same image used as a hook than on the first part of the song, released in 2015, can be heard from the first bars.
2020 but I smoke like I got cataracts
The audience is thus faced with a familiar Yung Simmie from the outset, despite three years of delayed release dates. The rapper reassures the audience in that respect with the bar "the Mac is back", a potential double-entendre in reference to both Simmie's "Mac Music" and Mark Morrison's tune "Return of the Mack", often used to symbolise a return to the forefront of the scene. The single verse then allows for the rapper to underline the way in which he holds his rivals at arm's length, in addition to how much he excels in his art. This is in particular achieved through imagery being scattered across the text, allowing to paint a vivid picture in order for the audience to truly visualise the rapper's words.
What I speak is dope, the addicts running back- 2020, Pt. 2
Your plug nap, mine’s flippin’ packs like an acrobat- 2020, Pt. 2
This is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable traits of Yung Simmie's lyrics, as he has, over time, made the use of wordplay a distinguishing characteristic of his writing. This inclination to play with words gives the rapper's words the ability to remain fixed in the audience's mind, and this type of punchy bar can thus be found throughout the project.
Speak up I’m rolling loud pack- Easy, Pt. 2
I’m about to go put on some Nikes, how I’m steppin’ by the check- In the Cut
Straight bars, that’s imprisonment, can’t visit it- Da lyricist
You ever dropped a watermelon, splash that’s his head- Living lawless
With this in mind, Keep the L stands out, where we can fin Simmie's wordplay combined with his resonant voice and powerful 808s which punctuate the production- this makes for a truly effective tune.
And I came for the M’s, you can keep the L’s- Keep the L
Taco Tuesday if it’s beef you know that come with shells- Keep the L
As a matter of a fact, preserving a certain level of quality in his writing is essential for the Opa Locka native, who wishes to distance himself from mumble rappers. This is to some extent the purpose of Da Lyricist, where Simmie touches upon his authenticity, his success with women and his ability when it comes to delivering thought-out lyrics.
Mumble rap n***** ain’t fuckin’ with the lyricst- Da Lyricist
The rapper is however not belittling when it comes to these artists- he has stated in an interview to be able to appreciate both mumble rap and songs where the emphasis is put on the lyrics.
Shut up and Vibe III also allows the rapper to look back on the decade of relentless hustle he has behind him. This grants the artist a particular status nowadays, as his ability to carry out considerable work and to retain a somewhat consistent work rate has allowed Simmie to drag himself to the top of the scene. As a result of his relentlessness, from his early days as a teenager to today through his years as a member of the Raider Klan, Simmie has witnessed dramatic improvements to his life. This is something he describes in the tape, and he expresses not wanting to stop there- the work ethic the rapper has gained over the years should pave the way for further successes.
I’m in the Benz but I came from the splat- Do the math
I can’t waste no time I’m on the grind like I’m supposed to be- Grind Everyday
Imma hustle every day, then I’m flexin’ at your face- In the Cut
Similarly, Simmie greatly values his independence. His past affiliation to the Raider Klan is quite representative of this; indeed, the collective had emerged at a time where artists were starting to realise the Internet's potential as a tool to distribute their music under their own terms: this had even led to the industry and the majors to loose ground for a short while. Simmie no longer being signed to the Klan means this project was put together without the involvement of any label whatsoever, making it highly symbolic in that sense: it marks a new step taken towards Simmie's goal of being self-sufficient.
Independent ain’t no management- Batman
I don’t really fuck with the industry- Do the Math
The Raider Klan
Looking at the global structure of the project, the tape can, to a certain extent, be divided in two distinct parts. Indeed, the different atmospheres that are found on Shut up and vibe III are, for the most part, a result of the beat choice. On the one hand, the hazy and ethereal ambiances usually associated with Simmie can be found on the ten first tracks or so. In this respect, the songs produced by DJ Smokey stand out- this is, among other things, the case for Grind Everyday and In the Cut, which both present a similar arrangement: a chorus containing the artist's muffled voice and a single verse characterised by a seamless flow. Overall, this goes to establish the artist's own, unique sound, with which his audience is deeply familiar. In the Cut is also the only track of the tape for which there are visuals.
Similarly, Easy, Pt. 2 (produced by Sossa), follows up on a track unveiled as a single two years ago. Even though the first part retained a somewhat darker tone than the track found on Shut up and Vibe III, both instalments present similar flows, the same airy atmosphere and share certain bars.
I ain’t with the he say she say, tell ‘em keep up as a relay, I can make this shit look easy- Easy, Pt. 2
A change then occurs with Da Lyricist, where Enrgy's beat brings on a transition towards softer ambiances. This switchover is confirmed with the following track, Tik Tok: this is a much warmer song, also produced by Enrgy, where the moderate BPM production, complemented with a few guitar notes, brings forth an atmosphere which contrasts nicely with the tape's first tracks. A similar sound is then found until the end of the project (although this less pronounced for When I Shudnt). This combination of hazy as well as noticeably softer and more buoyant tones evokes Simmie's last project, Big Smokey. Indeed, the tape comprises songs like Rose out the Concrete featuring Lil Dred, which retains a cold atmosphere, in particular thanks to the rapper's slow and cadenced flow. It however also includes sounds in line with that found on Slums with Johnny Hopkins, which uses a lofi beat, in addition to tracks like Major Flows (also featuring Lil Dred). Here, we find a much calmer ambiance thanks to quicker flows and guitar notes in the background.
From left to right: Big Smokey cover (2017) and Lil Dred
Shut up and Vibe III comes to and end with Kamikaze, a soft conclusion where the emphasis is placed on the status Simmie benefits from nowadays, between the comforts brought by his success as an artist and the infallible self-confidence he is known for.
I’m in the streets doing donuts in the Maserati – Kamikaze
I just laugh at these n***** while I make bank - Kamikaze
In short, Kamikaze touches upon the vast majorities of the topics usually found in the artist's music and in this project, whether it be drugs and the loud packs which the rapper particularly appreciates, his infallible success with women as well as his accomplishments over time.
If there is one take away that should be made from Shut up and Vibe III, it is that this tape is perfectly representative of the sense of continuity which is felt when listening to Yung Simmie's discography as a whole.
Indeed, one can here recognise the Florida native's own, unique sound, which is behind his success, dating back to the moment when Simmie had crowned himself "Underground King". Whether it be the first part of the project, with its dark, laid back atmosphere, or the softer and catchier final tracks, the ethereal and airy ambiance that was already present on the artist's previous tapes can be found here.
This idea is stressed throughout the entire tape, and the importance for Yung Simmie to make Shut up and Vibe's third instalment fall within the continuity of the rest of his di scography is explicit. The project's cover also outlines this by including numerous elements of the rapper's past projects, namely the weather forecast from Simmie Season or some of the artist's gimmicks, which are scribbled in the background, among other things. As a matter of a fact, the artist scatters the tape with these bars he is known for, and indicates on several occasions to have remained the same since his last projects.
7 gram blunt lookin’ like a cigar- Vip
This a cool beat, same guy, it ain’t a new me- Da Lyricist
Despite having not come up with a single project in three years, Yung Simmie achieves to return without giving the impression that he has ever been missing; this is in fact the tape's major strength. When listening to Shut up and Vibe III, the audience is faced with an artist true to himself in all aspects. Moreover, the rapper actually intends to return to the forefront of the scene for good, and has recently confirmed that two projects were on the way: Simmie World, for which the artist has announced wanting a guest on every track, and Yung Smokey 2. Both albums should be unveiled in a relatively close future.
Even though this instalment of Shut up and Vibe does not particularly stand out from the rest of the artist's discography, it brings forth two major points. Firstly, it marks the possibility of a return to a similar tape release policy to that of the period between 2013 and 2017, despite Simmie having left the Raider Klan. Secondly, this is above all else a project with the ability to satisfy those feeling a certain sense of nostalgia when it comes to the so-called Soundcloud era- this tape therefore represents an indispensable listen for the supporters of that scene, for which Yung Simmie was a prominent figure.