Rap’s biggest commercial asset of the year has been broad, virality-prone comedy. If a rapper isn’t impersonating one of the most infamous label bosses in the genre’s history, singing about about horses and hot-pressed sandwiches, or pandering to TikTok, the song is likely a tree falling in a very empty streaming forest. “Sedona,” a new track by Kota The Friend, is the mellow antidote to the surrounding pandemonium, with a tranquil video aptly shot in the desert of Sedona, Arizona.
As Kota sways around dry shrubs and red mountains, he muses about death (“Honestly, I’d rather if I died alone”), anxiety (“Always see me smiling but I’m hella overwhelmed”), and loneliness (“I’m probably die single ’cause I need my fucking space”). The melancholy of Kota’s direct lyrics cuts through the laid-back beat, which samples Bad Bunny, Ñejo, and Pj Sin Suela’s “¿Cual es tu plan?”
The chill loneliness of “Sedona” makes it perfect post-apocalypse survival music — the soundtrack to the bucolic aftermath of societal destruction. The New York rapper’s yellow raincoat and toy boat read as nods to the problems of his hometown — NYC’s crumbling subway infrastructure, heatwave-induced blackouts, and sewage-flooded neighborhoods — and make “Sedona” feel like a “Wish you were here postcard” mailed to the city Kota momentarily escaped for the desert.