Kiwi Melbournites – MC Merc Swazey and producer Nettsmoney – combine forces to create an album in the semi-satirical vein of such artists as Odd Future. Both rapper and beatsmith come from New Zealand, and Nettsmoney has a history of working with other Kiwis such as label Breakin Wreckwordz and Jay Roacher. Swazey is also known as rap-battling Hash, and slayed many rappers on the NZ battle scene.
Cash has been described by Nettsmoney as “tropical traphouse/genius rap”. His production focuses more on electronic elements influenced heavily by trap, and is one of Australia’s finest examples of emulating the genre with his own unique and humorous twist.
It’s already surprised me that many people out there haven’t realised that this is intended for paradoxical purposes. However, this misunderstanding could be understood, as the satirical element isn’t established that strongly with tough-starting ‘Cash’, which may be a bit subtle for some listeners to realise that Swazey is sending up rather than advocating materialistic and shallow American trap culture.
The album really comes to its own on the second track. ‘Stupid’ holds no mystery that Swazey is taking the piss with hooks like “my girl’s ass stupid and her brain’s retarded” and spitting lines within his tight and breezey structures like “I like my shit real ig’nant (turtle tank stupid)”, and then flexing his abstract and self-effacing humour with gems like “…my name’s so hot, I’m gonna say it a lot (Swazey). I wear it out like a sweater, I should wear it out on a sweater…”
This is continued with Swazey continuing to unleash his comedy flamethrower in more complex yet simplistic potty-mouth form in ‘Timmy Two Times’ with lines like “what the fuck wtf would you know about knowing ‘bout shit that i know about? Bitch, you don’t know about that, ima throw out her back when i throw her out back, tryna let her mouth flap, i dont know about that, picture me with a talkin trophy”
This is one of the finer moments of the album with its catchy “something something, my swag” quite clearly making a statement of much trap music not really having that much to say, it’s all about the style.
‘Roll the Dro up’ didn’t really sustain my interest, although it’s in fine form. My ears perked back up again with Nettsmoney’s immaculate production in ‘Most Breezey’, which really highlights Nettmoney’s strength within the realms of original trap beats. ‘Tim Dunkin’ also showcases Nettsmoney’s production to maximum effort, but rapper Young Lean (no, not Yung Lean, this guy was apparently around before the latter.) ruins the satirical effect of Swazey and makes the track seem all a bit too serious and tough.
Swazey shines in ‘Head on the Phone’ with catchy hook “I got my purple drank sittin’ by the turtle tank…” and tight and quick staccato rapping style flowing effortlessly through his bars. ‘Sleepin Like a Baby’ would be regarded by Swazey’s finest moment on Cash, with his lazy drawling bars in regards to the finer points of Xanax, Valium, sleep and smokin’ weed.
Cash is effective in what it intends to do, but there were elements of it that could have been tightened in regards to introducing the trap satire theme strongly, and some rather average tracks amongst the stand-outs. Merc Swazey X Nettsmoney are a strong pairing who show creativity, originality and flair in what they do, and I’m sure more people will catch onto their humorous craftsmanship soon.
7 out of 10 Haarp Strings.
‘Cash’ is available at Bandcamp on a pay-as-you-please basis in a variety of digital formats.
Written by Kristian Hatton.