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By Jack M. Angelo, managing editor

It would be very easy to say that the music that has come out of the SoundCloud scene, especially out of South Florida, epitomizes the abandonment of lyrical ability for vibe, production, and face-tattooed clout chasing. This perspective, though popular, is reductive at best, and blatantly disrespectful at worst. For those doubting the rapping ability of this scene, there are many artists out there with talents beyond social media savvy. A few of the more popular lyrical Floridian SoundCloud-ers, like Ski Mask the Slump God and Wifisfuneral, were featured on XXL’s 2018 Freshman list, beside more “basic swag-rappers” like Lil Pump and BlocBoy JB.

Many of these rappers seem keenly aware of their reputations, with Ski acknowledging that he is, “lyrical, but not.” These kids know what they’re doing, and they can rap if they want to. Many Trippie Redd newcomers may know him exclusively as an auto-tune laden crooner, but fans are quick to point to tracks like “Can You Rap Like Me?” to display his lyrical abilities. Wifisfuneral even released a song entitled “JoeBuddenProbablyThinksICantRap,” where he spits a short, intricately rhyming story of his struggles over an undeniably boom-bap inspired beat. Opinions have never been less important to the kids making hip-hop these days. They know what they want to accomplish, and they are making it happen, regardless of the criticism they receive from previous generations.

Joe Budden more than likely thinks Wifisfuneral can’t rap. One of the rare moments Joe Budden is wrong about something. (Photo by Jack M. Angelo for StayUp.News).

Wifisfuneral and fellow South Floridian Robb Banks, whose content fits more snugly into the stereotype of the SoundCloud rapper, are touring together in support of their joint project Connect3d, released in January of 2019. They performed at MilkBoy ArtHouse in College Park, Md. on February 16, after a smattering of opening guests. Arriving on the stage to the tune of “Save a Hoe,” off their new project, Wifisfuneral and Robb Banks turned up the crowd, inciting a mosh pit that popped up frequently throughout the set.

Shortly after the first song, Weef explained that he had received, “eight needles in [his] throat,” earlier that day, presumably due to some sort of sickness or vocal damage, but still planned on performing the set. After a few songs, Robb Banks and Weef shared a word away from the microphone. Wifisfuneral sulked backstage while Banks explained that his co-headliner needed to rest, but would hopefully be back later. The crowd was sympathetic to Weef’s plight, supporting the decision. After all, Banks was still there to rock the house.

Robb Banks took over after Weef was forced out due to injury. (Photo by Jack M. Angelo for StayUp.News).

For the next handful of songs, Robb Banks took the stage by himself. With plenty of material and supporters in the crowd, the co-headliner was perfectly able to bring the house down by himself. Though the setlist undoubtedly featured more from the duo’s recent project, Wifi’s absence forced Robb Banks to reach back into his discography and play hits from throughout his career. This seemed to please the audience, who apparently had a history with the work.

Wifisfuneral did come back out during the set, but stood back toward the DJ table, sometimes enjoying the music, but often seeming forlorn, in addition to what was assuredly a significant amount of pain. The young, diverse crowd took the changes in stride and kept the energy high throughout the night. Wifisfuneral did later perform his short song “lil jeff hardy,” in which he sounded great, and provided plenty of energy. Whatever Weef was feeling at the time was not apparent, showing solid performance chops in addition to rap skills. After going all out for this track, Wifisfuneral stepped back again, and seemed to be in even more pain than before. Wifisfuneral’s only contribution to the rest of the show was speaking somewhat softly along to his own lyrics in “Can’t Feel My Face,” the song Robb Banks and Wifisfuneral ended their duo set on.

Wifisfuneral and Robb Banks at MilkBoy ArtHouse in College Park, MD, on February 16. (Photo by Jack M. Angelo for StayUp.News).

After Wifisfuneral left the room, Robb Banks asked if the crowd would allow him to play one more song. Of course, the crowd politely obliged. Robb Banks explained the track was from his upcoming album Falconia, and had not been released yet. The track apparently featured Lil Uzi Vert, with his distinct nasal tones piercing through the upbeat trap instrumental, throwing the subject of Uzi’s retirement from music into greater confusion.

Wifisfuneral and Robb Banks deserve full credit for rocking a great show for a few hundred people. The crowd was jumping, moshing, and pushing so much the venue had a difficult time controlling the half-full room. Despite Wifisfuneral’s apparent illness, his performance was commendable, even fantastic at points, if brief. Robb Banks is fully capable of rocking a stage of this size on his own, and has the catalogue to do so. Stay Up News is not a medical publication, but we hope the Wifisfuneral does whatever is best for his health. Young voices like Weef’s should be heard, audibly.

Get well soon! (Photo by Jack M. Angelo for StayUp.News).