Mario Judah‘s reign of terror continues. The metal-inspired rapper/singer has been on a tear ever since unnerving and intriguing hip-hop fans with his “Die Very Rough” video. The combination of aesthetics is something we’ve rarely seen in the genre, especially coming from someone so obviously rooted within it. Judah’s just as likely to release a tape aping the manic ad-lib antics of Playboi Carti or belt out a cover of DaBaby’s “Rockstar” as he is to launch into an Undertaker theme song-inspired, guttural howl.
That’s the quality he brings to Chicago native Tes X’s new single, “It’s Time To Rock.” It’s apt recruitment for Tes X, who spends most of his verses maneuvering through more familiar territory with a singsong flow reminiscent of Lil Yachty’s. If you’re going to title your song “It’s Time To Rock,” who better to feature than the newcomer who deftly embodies the synergy between two seemingly diametrically opposed genres?
Sidebar: If Mario Judah’s gothic presentation throws you off, take a trip to the early ’90s, where groups like Bone-Thugz-N-Harmony and GraveDiggaz embraced a similar horrorcore aesthetic long before Judah was even born. His look isn’t too far off from theirs and the video’s eerie setting in a dilapidated hospital has been utilized by many of hip-hop’s biggest stars, including Eminem, who’s taken the whole, “I’m a serial murderer” schtick to its absolute terminus. I say all that to say: Get used to Mario Judah. He may well be the first trap-metal star to stick in this game of ours, and a little boundary-pushing is almost never a bad thing in the long run.
Listen to “It’s Time To Rock” above.