Eddie on Aux: THE ANXIETY, Young Thug, RTB MB
“Eddie on Aux” is a biweekly series on a few songs that intrigue me. They don’t have to be earth-shattering or terrible, just something interesting enough to warrant an article. It is not a recommendation of what to play in the car to impress your friends, despite what the title suggests.
THE ANXIETY— “Meet Me At Our Spot”
Like everything else in this world that’s been McKinsey-fied, the TikTok-song factory has the art of hitmaking down to a science. In this machine, the complexity of human experience is simplified to a few marketable emotions. Like fast food, the songs are meant to be downed easily, and the resulting satisfaction is quick. Consider Lil Nas X and Doja Cat, the two greatest practitioners of the app, making music that fires straight into our neural synapses, effortlessly triggering temporary highs.
“Meet Me At Our Spot,” though undoubtedly a TikTok song, finds popularity through a different formula. If the pop machine is cheap drugs, then the alternative vibes that THE ANXIETY shamelessly trafficks in are a more refined intoxicant. It feels classier (read: bougie), a little more special, and unlike the pop music catered to the masses, these alt-genres have a counterculture streak and the premise of individuality.
This also seems to be what Willow Smith — one half of THE ANXIETY alongside partner Tyler Cole — craves as well. Born a celebrity as the daughter of Will and Jada Smith and a charting artist at just 10 years old, Smith’s recent music has been her exploration of finding a space and identity outside of traditional fame.
But “Meet Me At Our Spot,” like most alternative TikTok songs, is all fluff and no substance. Vague mentions of places (“our spot”) and moods (“caught a vibe”) fill the song with an incredible lack of specificity, making it relatable to everyone and no one at the same time. The abstractness makes for ideal background music to the transactionalized lived experience; a soundtrack for all the picnic and sunset videos and obligatory posts of the beach. Like this TikTok-inspired generation, “Meet Me At Our Spot” tries to search for meaning, but misses the point entirely.
Young Thug — “Die Slow”
Young Thug is in this weird zone where anybody that cares even a little bit about hip-hop regards him as one of the greats. Yet from a distance, he’s still generally underappreciated. He’s arguably the most influential hip-hop artist of the last decade, but in terms of name recognition, Thug isn’t quite the superstar Drake or Kanye West are, and even a peer such as Future has more cachet. Though only 30, he’s already passed the torch to the likes of Lil Baby and Gunna — artists he once mentored.
Nevertheless, Young Thug continues, as prolific and great as ever. His career momentum has never subsided; he’s put out multiple projects every year and appeared as a feature on countless others. At times, Thug grooves on autopilot with his raps flaunting expensive jewels, designer brands and his eventful lifestyle, but on “Die Slow,” he takes time to reflect.
Thug thinks about his suite along the Venice Canals, where he’s recording the song. He thinks about his tour and how he missed his son’s birthday because of it, and it spirals into a wild story about family troubles and a couple sheriffs. I’ve always felt that Thug is the type of person, like the adventurous uncle at a family gathering, to have an archive full of wild, fanciful stories. Not only does he have the experience, but he’s also a master storyteller.
But the most heartfelt parts of “Die Slow” are when Thug is the most introspective. “If you want it, you gon’ get up earlier than anyone,” he raps, but not as advice. It’s a justification for him to enjoy the moment, at literal and figurative heights: “I’m high enough to be on the Milky Way til morning.” If only for a brief moment, Thug unwinds, before embarking on his next show or next project.
RTB MB — “AF1”
RTB MB also goes by Miles Bridges; you may have heard of him. When he isn’t in the studio, he moonlights as one of the NBA’s better young talents, a 6-foot-6 wing with incredible hops and a budding game. He’s best known as LaMelo Ball’s alley-oop partner of choice, whose dunks make the Charlotte Hornets announcer yell wild things on television. Oh, and he dropped 30 points the other night.
There are already enough NBA players trying to cross over into music (and celebrities too, Dwayne Johnson’s feature is a certified ear-bleeder). LeBron James was credited as an A&R on 2 Chainz’ “Rap Or Go To The League,” despite consistently not knowing the lyrics to songs. The ever-mysterious Kawhi Leonard brought together an eclectic mix of rappers for his “Culture Jam” project. Among those who step behind the mic, Damian Lillard is the most notable hooper, and probably the only one who’s taken even half-seriously. Sure, Lillard doesn’t sound out of place, but once you get past the novelty of him being a superstar athlete, there’s not much else there.
But with Bridges, he’s got it down. A native of Flint, he sticks close to his roots and the Michigan sound — playful, punchline-heavy and allergic to the beat. “AF1” has the energy of a SoundCloud submission all the way down to the amateur sound mixing. Bridges goes rapid-fire and lands with most of his bars. “Shot 77 out the 100 rounds, Luka Doncic,” drew a chuckle.
Given the quality of music that comes out of the league, the title of “Best Rapper in the NBA” is mostly a meaningless one. But it goes to Bridges; it’ll be fun to follow this side quest as his career progresses.