“I’m still takin’ my shit/Parking my whip/Now I’m adjusting my fit,” raps Richmond, Virginia’s Fly Anakin on “No Dough,” a breakneck 90-second tour through everything that makes him a deeply exciting MC. Pitted with an adventurous, funk-pumped Madlib beat, Anakin raps in a high-pitched cadence, sort of like AZ if he’d won a science contest in fifth grade. Madlib described Anakin as “one of the illest MCs,” and on “No Dough,” you hear what he means. Anakin’s commanding without ever raising his voice.
Anakin isn’t the most unique in his lo-fi rap scene. He isn’t a mystic poet like Earl Sweatshirt is, or a puzzling alchemist like Mach-Hommy. His rare skill is that he can do a bit of everything, can flow over any kind of beat. “No Dough” comes from Anakin’s excellent new album, Frank, a record five years in the making. Curren$y is one of Fly Anakin’s heroes, and there’s an everyman quality to both rappers. But Anakin’s more audacious: Where Spitta’s braggadocio bars are based on the finest necklaces on the globe, Anakin puts his hunger against his haters with lines like “All my life, I’ve had to fight, so it’s fuck you.”
The best MCs are always a combination of traits. With Anakin, you have the murky and eclectic production of Ras G with the independent chops of Sean Price, mixed with the youthful jauntiness of a guy who is carrying the torch for the Richmond rap scene. That’s the kind of dynamism that leads to a long career.
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