Welcome to #RonaRaps

When I first came across an Instagram post with this tag, I was hesitant to see and hear what would come next. I mean who really had the gall to execute an idea that would market the name of a virus in connection to a weekly freestyle on Instagram. Well, Guapdad4000 did.

guapdad

He has the audacity to do a lot of things. The West Oakland native, who has several aliases (e.g. Ferragamo Falcon, Valentino Viper, etc.), is a rapper whose music is a cross between Bay Area hip-hop and alt RnB. Guapdad often rap croons in a sweet falsetto over spacey and/or bass-ed out beats typically produced by James Delgado.

However, his crooning is rarely heard during the #RonaRaps. His very distinctive slightly raspy speaking voice takes over. In the time span of 2 to 6 minutes, one can head over to Guapdad’s IGTV to hear him and his rapper + RnB friends show off their lyrical prowess.

Yet, this exertion of lyrical litness happens in the comforts of the rappers’ homes, cars, or wherever they decide to record their video. Generally, Guapdad begins with his verse, then lets his comrades take over in a sort of TikTok challenge style. Each episode presents a new instrumental for the guests to rap over. Whether it be classic cuts from rappers like Biggie and Lil Wayne or remixing the likes of Destiny’s Child “Say My Name,” the #RonaRaps are a fun time. Buddy, Saba, Denzel Curry, Kota the Friend, and many others appear in the episodes, as each week there is a new group of artists for the Armani Army (Guap’s fans) to take note of.

Rona Raps are about more than skillfully spittin’ the most impressive rhymes with the nicest flow. If you listen close enough the artists use this unique platform to provide commentary on current events, as well as discuss socioeconomic issues and racial injustice. In a #RonaRaps episode over the summer, the Ferragamo Falcon raps alongside Saba and Deante Hitchcock.

During this installment, Guap makes a point of mentioning police brutality and the recent murder of George Floyd in his verse saying, “Police are disease, we all dogs watching these fleas kills us.” His voice trails off, ending on “Rest in Peace George Floyd.” After this last installment, Guap stepped away from the weekly #RonaRaps to address the current sociopolitical unrest concerning police murdering Black people. Recently, he sold over $60,000 in merchandise (shirts, hoodies, masks) that he plans to donate to Black Lives Matter and bail efforts.

After a hiatus from late May to July, the Balmain Batman returned with a episode featuring TDE member, Isaiah Rashad, and two installments following that with Symba and Mez.

We have yet to see the artist feature women on his #RonaRaps, but there’s a reason for that I suppose. The rapper claims that he’d want to feature women, but he doesn’t want them to think he’s trying to come on to them. He’s considering setting up a women-only #RonaRap episode. I’m not against the idea, but instead of them being categorized off into their own episodes they could be integrated into whoever (man or otherwise) is rapping on the weekly #RonaRaps. Hopefully, we’ll soon see some women on #RonaRaps. I got money on Yung BabyTate, Mulatto, and/or Saweetie.

Check out the latest #RonaRaps on his Instagram.

 

Photograph Courtesy of Guapdad’s Facebook Page.

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Author: aisha

Aisha Gallion is a Columbia, SC native, music enthusiast, and major foodie. She is an alumna of College of Charleston ‘17 and Florida State University ‘20. As a writer, she holds expertise in Black popular music and much of what she pursues aims to uplift Black folks and the arts. When she isn't writing or thinking about writing, she's on YouTube watching tours of tiny living spaces in Australia or listening to podcasts. You can follow her Instagram on Black music @blackmusicbeeverywhere or her personal Instagram @aisha_chey.

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