Now here's one I can pretty much guarantee you've never heard (just going off the fact that it's probably gotten 3,000 more plays since the last time I checked two years ago). If you remember, ZMoney was hotly-tipped Chicago rapper who broke through to the rap press around 2012 or 2013 and was set to break through in 2014 before being sent to jail for a probation violation following a SXSW appearance, according to this Complex article from that year. While it's hard to say if that stint in prison was what took away his building momentum, it's rather humorous reading the aforementioned article's worrying over the rapper's then-unusual mumbled raps considering that only a year later Uzi and Yachty would start to reshape the pop rap landscape with their "mumble rap" stylings.
Either way, "I Can't Stop," a one-off corporate-backed pairing with the also once-rising production outfit The Odd Couple, is one of thousands of such songs that have been commissioned by commercial entities and failed to make any form of impression amongst fans or writers alike. I still have no clue how it even popped up on my radar but from the opening seconds of the upwardly-rising arpeggiated melody with its space Baroque* styling that serves as the beat's foundation, I was hooked. For someone whose taste in beats leans to the spacey side of things, I never cared much for Cloud Rap, though I fucks with Clams to this day. Like so many recent genres, Cloud Rap simply referred to a stylistic undercurrent that had been present since rap's early days and the willingness of producers to sample from anything that made for a good loop.
Not a whole lot happens over the three minutes and forty-six minutes outside of screeching strings that attend the chorus, taking the lister into warp space, and Z sounds like he's autopilot reciting de facto non-witticisms about trap life, but that's actually what has made this song stand up for me. It's a cash grab of a jingle with both the MC and producers sounding like they've turned in B-roll material but paired together, something magical happens that speaks to the collaborative nature of rap that is likely a principle reason for the genre's enduring freshness. The whimsical nature of the melody and its detached sound almost makes it feel ill-fitted for a rap banger with Z offering up no warm-up ad libs instead allowing a distinctive mood to set in, making the effect of the beat and rapper's chorus hitting at the same time akin to a water cooler being dumped on one's head, a feeling that last for the next three minutes and thirty seconds. It shouldn't work, but it really fucking does.
*A term and style of my own conceptualizing that I've noticed is a recurring aspect of a lot of the music I love.