Review: Flaco, 'Cheto' 

click to enlarge cheto_.jpg

Flaco
Cheto

Muncie rapper Flaco's output is Based-God-esque: he's dropped 36 projects on his Bandcamp in a little less than four years, so keeping up with Flaco's output can be exhausting. Even then, giving one of his tapes a proper listen is the real challenge. Most of them go 20-plus tracks deep, all with his scattershot style.

While the composition can feel as rushed as his release schedule, Flaco's works are stuffed with stuff. His influences are vast and varied, and he incorporates pretty much all of them, all the time. In the first five tracks of his newest work, Cheto, he features individual songs based on Jay and Silent Bob, Kanye West and Playstation 2. By indiscriminately and irreverently cribbing from both hip-hop and pop culture, his tapes take on a random, maze-like quality as they twist styles from track to track. He's not shy about wearing his influences on his jean-jacket sleeve, whether he's finessing a Bone Thugs flow or outright flipping a SpaceGhostPurrp beat for himself.

Flaco is no kind of biter, though ­— whatever styles he chews up, he spits back a little weirder, and usually a lot more stoned. The weed smoke hangs heavy on Cheto, influencing both the sonics and stream-of-consciousness highdeas.

Flaco blends cynicism with impulsivity between rolling blunts. For him, doing his thing often means simply ignoring traditional rap song structures to just do whatever he wants, like pitching down his vocals in the middle of a verse or randomly dropping out the beat. On the free-form "Playstation 2," producer SB turns the sound from the PS2's opening screen into a scant cloud rap.

Don't get it wrong: Cheto is a thoroughbred rap tape, even if it's a bizarre one, crammed with different skits and flows and riffs and homages, like both Flaco-fied semi-spoofs on the Dr. Dre and Kanye classics, "Forgot About Dre's Drycleaning" and "New Sway." He's constantly clowning hip-hop tropes, with songs like "FUCK YOUR DUMB, STUPID PARTY" or tracks that repeat rhymes to the point of meaninglessness.

While he often chooses not to on Cheto, Flaco can really spit when he wants, me-first rhymes that hail from the Young Money school of solipsism. Here, his best hip-hop tendency is his Gucci-Mane-esque flair for song conceits, such as his "left-hand-right-hand" ode to double-fisting on "Ambidextrous" or the "wipe me down" hook on "MIAGI."

He is explicitly serious about his art, though; you just have to cut through the disorder to hear that. Such a single-minded, relentless focus on himself could be off-putting lyrically, but it's actually his greatest asset as an artist. It grounds his identity and shows sincerity against a backdrop of noise and randomness, holding down his unique brand of wild meth-hop.

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