Young Barbara attempts to make fun of the trap and mumble rap genres with his debut EP Stay Fresh. The problem with this is that these genres have already plunged head-first into utter ridiculousness themselves over the years that there really isn’t much to make fun of. It’s the same way that comedians have had trouble outdoing the absurdity of the Trump administration. All one has to do is watch a Migos music video and they would already have a sense of why this music is funny. The freshness of Young Barbara’s attempt wouldn’t be much of an issue if the album was consistently chuckle-worthy though. It isn’t. It’s sophomoric, one-note and has very little replay value. In the end, you’d be better off laughing at an ACTUAL trap record.
To Young Barbara’s credit, he completely nails the musical aesthetic of his target, so much so that halfway through I was so annoyed that I had a strong urge to rupture my eardrum with a Q-Tip. I’m open to most music but I can’t stand this crap, so mission accomplished… I guess. The same minimalist beat playing over and over again mixed with misogynistic bravado and an unhealthy obsession with sex and “lambos” is the name of the game. One track, “JOB,” even includes the mandatory yet unnecessary hype-man, who is basically there to shrilly repeat one word after every lyric. If you aren’t listening closely to the words, you’d be excused for mistaking this for the real shit that teenagers actually listen to. On this level, he successfully apes “artists” like the massively untalented Lil Yachty. A good parody album, however, hinges on its lyrics and comedic content which this album is obviously lacking.
The problem is the jokes are extremely repetitive and surface level. I’ll admit it IS a bit funny to hear Young Barbara brag about things that shouldn’t be bragged about like “I got pre in my pants” and “eat that soup yum yum yum.” Not only is it absurd, it’s not that far from how fucking stupid actual mumble rap lyrics are. The thing is he relies on these kinds of lines so much that it makes me wonder if this is all just an exercise in potty humour and self-indulgence and not actually an attempt at satire. As such, there is literally no reason to listen to this album twice. Every cheap laugh can be processed on the first listen. If you’re 10-years old then MAYBE this is for you. If not, you’re much better off dusting off an old Weird Al or Lonely Island album.
Beyond the odd chuckle at a ridiculous line, Stay Fresh fails as a parody mainly because it’s just not that funny. This becomes more and more problematic as you listen because you are left with a run of the mill trap record, which by their nature aren’t particularly musically engaging or worth your time. I actually think if Young Barbara had kept this experiment to one track only, he would have been WAY more successful. There just isn’t enough material here to justify a full EP. This is, after all, a musical genre that is inherently lacking in diversity and substance. It horrifically difficult to parody what is essentially already a parody.
Written by Shawn Thicke
*edited by Danielle Kenedy