West Coast Hip Hop has maintained a close relationship with its Dirty South counterpart without the purist animosity found on the East Coast. While Desiigner gets flack for abandoning his Brooklyn heritage for something out of Atlanta, the same hasn’t been said for Long Beach’s O.T. Genasis. Never one for the current G-funk nostalgia YG birthed or alternative leanings of Kendrick Lamar, O.T. virtually feels baptized in raps inspired by anything below the Mason-Dixon Line. Being born in the south but raised out west, he’s more definitely Gucci Mane than Snoop Dogg. (Even kind of looks like him too.) Although his hits “CoCo” and “Cut It” proved he had radio potential, the mixtapes Black Belt and Rhythm & Bricks never left much interest in his actual bodies of work.
Such shortcomings are what make his latest release Coke N Butter a fascinating listen. O.T.’s hooks are as infectious as ever and there’s also some average rapping in-between. Relinking with “CoCo” producer Juice808 on Coke N Butter introduction “Plug On Da Line,” the duo instantly show their evolved skills. O.T.’s rides Juice808’s textured trap sounds in perfect triplets effortlessly. The track also exposes the glaring problem that pops up enough to hold Coke N Butter back from getting those Pablo prices. The redundant themes including drugs dealing, women and straight flexing. Hearing lazy rhymes like “Smoking on marijuana/Take a trip Tijuana I meet her at Benihana/My plug is from Dominicana…” become distracting. Lightweight bars become more apparent when O.T. gets out rapped on nearly every feature appearance using YG’s spotlight-stealing guest spot on “No No No” or “Get Racks” featuring T.I. Ditto for the Remy Ma and Quavo-assisted “Push It (Remix).”
Strip club banger “Thick” —alongside 2 Chainz — somehow serves as the lyrical apex, possibly thanks to the good storytelling present to the familiar “independent women” themes. “Shawty bad as hell and she all about the lettuce/Waistline small, I’m like what you ate for breakfast?/Said she from Miami but she moving back to Texas/Know she want a nigga cause she staring at my necklace/Wanna hit the club cause she wanna show her clothes,” O.T. rhymes before Titi Boy makes good on the ally-oop.
Coke N Butter highlight “Traffic” also highlights O.T.’s penchant for songwriting. “So close I feel like we bout to bump/Hundred degrees, mail coming through the trunk/Look under my seat, I got Smith & Wesson/I think I see lights but that’s my damn reflection/Nervous than a bitch, fast heartbeat/No tints in the back, just a car seat/12 right ahead, cut my lane off / I gotta hurry up and get these things off,” should satisfy more structure while the “I just wanna traffic / It’s too much traffic/Don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop” hook is too unforgettable. All the while, O.T. can lend character to even the most generic of trap production Coke N Butter has to offer.
Somewhere down the line, one of the tracks on Coke N Butter will become a big enough hit due to the infectious nature of the hooks. Anyone looking for a real rap sugar rush should have much to enjoy with this release, even if it’s on a short-term basis.