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Given the method of BRS Kash’s introduction, it’d be silly to expect a wide breadth of topics and a ton of lyrical depth on his debut project, Kash Only. His current viral popularity was ushered in on the wave of goodwill generated by “Throat Baby,” a tongue-in-cheek ode to oral sex that turned a request for head into a woozy, nigh-romantic anthem. With that kind of calling card, anyone hoping for trenchant takes on the state of the criminal justice system or pensive reflections on mental health should already know to look elsewhere.
But while so many purveyors of pop-heavy, club-ready party rap anthems often experience difficulty extending their festive feats beyond their initial breakout hits, on Kash Only, the Atlanta native finds a comfortable groove in which his raunchy rhymes can revel. Moving along at a brisk pace and utilizing sticky, unique-sounding hooks throughout, Kash Only is a lighthearted introduction to LVRN’s latest addition and proves he has the juice to keep the party going past his signature single (and its equally racy remix).
It doesn’t take long for Kash to establish that while the goopy crooning on “Throat Baby” is surely the most effective tool in his kit, it’s far from the only one. On intro “No Manners,” he glides assuredly over a JetsonMade-inspired conglomerate of skittering 808s and whimsical recorder tunes — you know, those little baby flutes from your primary school music class — adopting a flow that is fittingly reminiscent of DaBaby’s and coolly referencing Nelly’s Country Grammar to describe his ideal girl.
Intriguingly enough, Jetsonmade does make a pair of appearances after clearly inspiring that intro, on “Shake,” which reprises the flutey sounds of “No Manners” with a beat that could also have appeared on one of DaBaby’s last few singles. Fortunately, the album changes gears before this trick can get stale, and “Yea,” Jetson’s second appearance on the album, more closely resembles the work Wheezy and P’ierre Bourne put in on Young Thug’s So Much Fun. Kash also manages a serviceable enough impression of Thugger on the few tracks in this vein, but his best mode is when he ditches Atlanta’s signature cartoon trap sound entirely.
“Kash App,” a surefire fan-favorite collab with Mulatto, secures the first of several New Orleans Bounce-influenced beats by Baby Breeze and ZachOnTheTrack on the album. Over the uptempo production, Kash evokes the king of all booty shake records, Juvenile’s “Back That Azz Up,” with both sonic callbacks from his collaborators and a “wobbledy-wobbledy” for good measure. However, Mulatto steals the show, not only balancing his testosterone-fueled perspective with a feminine counterpoint but also out-boasting him from her opening lines: “I need the CashApp ‘fore I make that ass clap / Bet when he be layin’ with his bitch he havin’ flashbacks.”
Another standout courtesy of Breeze and Zach is “Dance On The Dick,” a high-speed twerker almost guaranteed to spark a social media dance challenge. Were the strip clubs not shut down by a global pandemic, this would be the track to incite dollar-bill flurries and the most impressive displays of side-to-side booty work and the most enthusiastic drops. This is where Kash appears to be having — and provoking — the most fun. While it’s fun to hear his breezy interpretation of the Thugger moan, his staccato delivery is more propulsive, even if it does sound slightly derivative of DaBaby.
With few songs clocking in at over three minutes, Kash has just enough time to showcase his versatility without wearing out his welcome — or his limited subject matter. Kash’s lyrics can sometimes lean into being too simplistic and there isn’t much variation beyond anthems dedicated to tricking off on women, having sex with women, or the one song about getting his heart broken by women, “Thug Cry.” And this sequence on “Dance On The Dick” is downright cringey: “She’s a hottie, plus she got a body / And she do pilates, ride the dick like a Ducati / I like some wasabi, Chinese bitch, I call her taki.”
But overall, Kash’s splashy debut exhibits all the hallmarks of a natural hitmaker. He doesn’t push the boundaries much, with nearly every song on the album offering a variation on a proven formula (acoustic guitar + 808s, flute + 808s, late-’90s classic samples), but he’s skilled enough as a songwriter to overcome the limitations of his narrow range of topics and derivative beats and flows. He’ll need to expand his repertoire if he wants to really stick around but with LVRN, he’s got the right management team behind him to ensure he’ll make the right moves to maximize his potential. Sometimes, less is more, and as long as he can continue to create interesting, engaging, and distinctive spins with a limited palette, he’ll keep proving that aphorism to be accurate.
Kash Only is out now via LVRN/Interscope. Get it here.