A few years back, I was driving through LA with BenadriLL when we passed from the gentrified core into the area just beyond known as "Skid Row." Out of the window, between throngs of people, we noticed two guys on the corner, one lyricizing into the ear of the other who was in a wheelchair. Both men stared straight ahead, necks bobbing.
Over the noise of traffic it was impossible to hear what was being said, but their expressions were unmistakable. Both beamed ecstatically - a haunting, beautiful sight between the rows of tents and soup kitchen lines.
Ben nodded in their direction and said, "That's what I rap for.”
If that snapshot - that sentiment - could be distilled into a music group or album, BURNT MONEY would be that group, and their self-titled EP, released this summer, would be that album. On it, Lakehouse's blood brothers and founding fathers, BenadriLL and Yung DoLLa$, trade verses doubling down on their magic formula of absurdist debauchery and boyish enthusiasm, which began, one can only assume, nearly two decades ago when they met in 5th grade.
BURNT MONEY’s lead singles/videos "UnraveL" and “FLexin' GoLd" have been kicking around the net and radio for some time* and the EP delivers four new songs with themes ranging from automotive love making ("Foreign Fornication") to workaday melancholia ("No Time 2 Rap"). But it’s the record’s most divergent tracks, grungy opener "Sibling Rivalry" and triumphant start-up anthem "Bossed Up,” which bookend the project and give the EP its sonic breadth and replay value.
Plus, with cloud and trap beats from two of Seattle’s pioneering producers, Keyboard Kid (Lil B) and Qreepz (Dead Rich, Kaskets), LakeHouse is awash in some of their best, most-relevant production yet, allowing their lyrics to do what they do best, which is paint a world all their own.
Just as Ben and I witnessed that day on Skid Row, the fact is that rap music, and music period, remain a salve for seemingly unending cataclysms and, amidst today's desperation, BURNT MONEY is a righteous tonic. The duo bring listeners back to the basics, back to the fun of it, reminding us that when shit hits the fan and monetary society all but fails us, there are still plenty of reasons to keep on rapping: friendship being among the best of them.
*A special thanks to KEXP Street Sounds' Stas THEE Boss and Larry MizeLL for getting the BURNT MONEY record booming on the air.