Hollywood actors have always thought that they are talented enough to cross-over to the music industry. YouTubers are beginning to think the same, but how awful is it really?
KSI – Really Love (feat. Craig David & Digital Farm Animals)
KSI has been persistent in his musical efforts. He’s better at the rap game than many of his contemporaries and to a certain point he has succeeded in forging an actual musical career. Unfortunately, he still hasn’t quite reached the level of professional rappers.
Really Love is a decent example of his strengths but also his weaknesses. It isn’t awful, it’s just a little generic. The song works despite his appearance on it, which shouldn’t be the case if he is truly attempting a serious rap career. What does make it stand out is an amazing hook that will stay in your head for ages. KSI’s flow, however, is a little lacking and I’m not sure why because he has given good performances, for example his track Beerus. The music video is also awful, which again, was no problem on Beerus. Perhaps this was a misfire as his harder tracks tend work a lot better than something softer like this.
RiceGum – Fortnite and Chill
RiceGum is a punching bag on YouTube. His content is derivative, vapid, and clearly aimed at younger audiences. His music is no different. Just look at the title, ‘Fortnite and Chill.’ For starters, the title is a perfect encapsulation of the song, so that’s one element that’s right. The premise of the song is weird though. It’s like what a 13 year old thinks having a one-night stand would be like. How many one-night stands have you had that features a game of Fortnite after the deed is done? The right answer is either none or weird story about that one-time you played video games with some girl from the club.
The song isn’t for adults, maybe younger audiences who don’t know any better might enjoy it but aside from the weird premise, the song doesn’t really work anyway. The writing is bad (which is interesting to note given the public knowledge that RiceGum uses a ghost writer), RiceGum’s flow is bad and the autotune is barely helping the tonality of his voice. The beat is okay, I’ll give him that. It’s generic, but it’s okay. Check it out if you love to watch things that make you cringe or if you enjoy a good laugh.
Pink Guy – STFU
Joji has well and truly left YouTube behind to focus on his successful music career. But it was his days as Filthy Frank and Pink Guy that laid the groundwork for what was to come. Joji’s musical output might not be the best in comparison to other musical artists but as a Youtuber, he is easily one of the best. ‘STFU’ is for one thing, actually funny. Most YouTuber songs go for at least a little bit of humour, but the jokes rarely land. The beat is good and Joji’s flow isn’t bad either. It isn’t amazing but it does make for an enjoyable and intentionally funny listen.
Pewdiepie – B*tch Lasagne & Congratulations
We can’t talk about YouTubers without mentioning one of its biggest content creators, Pewdiepie. To get the maximum amount of enjoyment of these songs you must understand the rivalry between Pewdiepie and Indian entertainment company, T-Series. Without that context the songs still manage to be funny. They are well written and produced and the subject matter you can infer from context. Felix himself has never pretended that he was a musician and openly features his ghost-writer, fellow YouTuber Boyinaband, in the videos. This makes the songs far more palatable than they would be otherwise. If these songs were a serious attempt at music, these aren’t the worst thing in the world, but it isn’t great. As YouTube videos that are making no attempt at serious music, these songs are great.
Martinez Twins – That’s My Lambo
A lot of YouTuber songs are responses to other YouTubers. Many are using these songs to generate beef and publicity in a similar way the hip-hop/rap community does. Most of these songs are vapid and usually played for shock value, relying heavily on revealing secrets about other YouTubers. This song is responding to an actual issue the twins faced and not simply beef.
Fellow YouTuber, Jake Paul, had hired the twins for his own YouTube content. The twins had endured plenty of abuse disguised as ‘pranks’ and Paul allegedly had not even paid them for their contributions. This song is essentially calling out Jake Paul. Okay, so the message is good, but it’s unfortunate that the song is terrible. They do improve on their song ‘Paradiso’, but it doesn’t make ‘That’s My Lambo’ any better. Much what I’ve already said about other YouTuber songs applies here as well, bad lyrics, average production, however, the Twins do have decent flow.
TMG – Sofia
A common theme in all of these YouTuber songs is that the beat is usually generic but serviceable. They sound like a lot of pop rap you’d hear outside of YouTube. TMG almost sound like a real rap duo. Noel Miller has a nice timbre and good flow. If the song only featured him it would be a lot better.
His partner, Cody Ko, whilst a funny comedian, is not a great rapper. His flow could be described as average at best and he cannot sing at all. Singing is less of a necessity in hip-hop/rap due to the use of autotune to create an aesthetic rather than forging singing ability but here it isn’t used like that. It’s used to attempt to fix Cody’s voice and it doesn’t work. But, in the words of Meatloaf; two out of three ain’t bad.
Jake Paul – It’s Everyday Bro (feat. Team 10)
Here is the big one. Maybe not one of the first YouTuber’s to do a rap song but it definitely popularised it. For better or worse. Jake Paul describes his flow for me in the first line of the song; he has that Disney channel flow. Not something most people would brag about, but hey, it provides plenty of enjoyment.
The whole song and video are something to marvel at. It shows plenty of non-threatening young YouTubers acting how they think rap-stars act. Complete with posse shots, hand signs and expensive cars. The problem is that they don’t, and probably never could, pull it off. I’m not the first person to say this but this song is the kids bop version of a trap rap song. The only problem is that I don’t think it was intended that way and if it was it still isn’t a very good song. The lyrics are trash, the beat, again is passable, but barring the Martinez Twins who feature on the track, everyone’s rapping ability is quite poor. I won’t rag on this song too much as I’d be beating a dead horse.
Tana Mongeau – W & Hefner
Oof. What else is there really to say? Actually, I like the beat. But everything else? Bloody god awful. Tana is another punching bag on the internet and this song really doesn’t do her any favours. The chorus sounds like it’s out of tune and I don’t think Mongeau is intentionally creating an avant-garde rap song. Is it better than ‘Hefner’, her most popular track? In some things but not really.
She lacks the ability to rap on both tracks but it’s somewhat improved on ‘W’. Whoever her producer is doing all the heavy lifting because the beats are quite good. I think that’s why some of her fans confuse her songs for something good.
‘Hefner’ is more interesting than ‘W’ though. Both are similar songs bragging about her success and wealth, not uncommon in rap songs, except that she doesn’t say anything interesting about it in ‘W’. ‘Hefner’ at least has something tasteless about it that keeps your attention. Wanting to be Hugh Hefner instead of a Playmate is at least something to talk about. There’s nothing like that on ‘W’, it’s just vapid.
Her voice is strained and poorly suited to the style of music she’s making. This is highlighted on ‘F**k Up’, an acoustic pop song that attempts to discuss Mongeau’s mental health issues. Her voice works much better here even if the song doesn’t really say anything about mental health problems, just that she has them. Which ones? Who knows?
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