The signifiers are all lined up—the skullscaps and the forties and the c-low game in the grimy alley. The stiff cap with FUNERAL spelled out in stark block letters is balanced just so on a pair of tight braids. The jeans are pressed and cuffed, sagging right into the swollen tongues of a fresh pair of kicks. Even the throwback visuals in the video are primed: a slow motion shot of a trawling squad car, a lone kid on a basketball court, the posse flexing and posing in the background. The image is perfectly executed, sure, but can ASAP Rocky rap? Some braggadocio, some luxury brand shilling, some mild misogyny. But then this:
School of hard-knocks, I can show you my degrees
Couple A, B, C’s, bad bitch double D’s
Popping E, I don’t give a F, told you I’m a G
Uh huh. So conceptually tight that you would swear the you once heard Jay freestyle this at a show in 2001. You could easily claim that it was a small show. In 2001. With a small audience. Before the tour. No video exists. You know because you’ve looked for it. After this moment, the whole of “Peso” comes into focus: a confidently talented man playing with rap signifiers in a way that doesn’t feel corny or reductive or naively nostalgic. In other words, the image charms but it’s the substance that wins you over.
via No Genre