Listening Party: Lor Scoota, "Still N' The Trenches 2.5"

City Paper

Part of a new wave of Baltimore street rap that clearly grew up on Southern trap music, Lor Scoota doesn’t shy away from wearing his influences on his sleeve. His local hit ‘Bird Flu’ shares a title and its general concept with an early Gucci Mane hit, and even his name sounds like a Baltimore translation of Gucci sidekick Young Scooter’s name. On “Still N The Trenches 2.5,” hosted by DJ Manny, Scoota raps over Jeezy’s ‘Seen It All,’ but even his original song ‘We OK’ strongly echoes another recent Jeezy single, ‘Me OK.’ And ‘YBS (Young Ballas)’ sounds like a cheap knockoff of Shy Glizzy’s breakout hit, ‘Awwsome’ (Glizzy himself appears on the ‘Bird Flu’ remix). 

Scoota isn’t an especially impressive technician or storyteller, and double tracking nearly every line of his verses sometimes gives the sound of his voice a blurry, indistinct quality. But on ‘Heard,’ he pivots sharply around a swift double-time flow, and the vapor trail of his doubled vocals and ad libs is used to great effect. 

 

Thanks to ‘Bird Flu,’ this is Scoota’s moment and “Still N The Trenches 2.5” finds him comfortable with his status as Baltimore’s newest hood superstar, crowing on the intro track, “My shows look like concerts, you shit look like assemblies/ All this hard work I’m puttin’ in, y’all gon’ remember me.” But he’s still taking baby steps toward forming a signature sound and personality on record that’s distinct from his predecessors. Local producer Elijah808’s beat for the highlight ‘My 40’ features dizzying strobe-light synths and bombastic drums that suggest a uniquely Baltimore spin on Atlanta trap music that Scoota could help spearhead if he can more successfully shake off his Southern influences. 

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