Pedalay the Boss
(Smoke Break Records)
Remember when beefing rappers made diss songs? Diss songs used to be the norm, so much so that they inspired b-movie “documentaries” like Beef. Today, beef plays out ungracefully on social media, with punch lines replaced by hashtags, snarky status updates and YouTube threats.
That’s why Pedalay The Boss’ latest album, Issue #1, sounds so refreshing. Pedalay, a Southeast San Diego rapper, is nerdy enough to spit abstract imagery and title his album like it’s a comic-book series. But he also talks about real-life shit, and his recent estrangement from rapper / producer Scatterbrain has provided fuel for his creativity.
With Pedalay’s beef, his braggadocio has more bite to it. Issue #1 is littered with references to his former friend—check “Rock These Mics,” where Pedalay spits, “These scatterbrain rappers need influences,” or the aptly titled opener, “I Don’t Need You.” In the process, he steers clear of the claims of fame and wealth that are seen in the uncreative “Money Over Everything.”
This dispute also seems to have led Pedalay to appreciate the positive. On “It’s Me Again,” he curses his naysayers, opting to focus on his career and providing for his kids. “Support” is an ode to the fans, family, friends and artists that show him love. These tracks offer a counterbalance to the abstract “Voices,” in which a crazed Pedalay imagines mutilating himself and transforming into a blonde, blueeyed white man.
Unfortunately, almost half the songs on Issue #1 feature sub-par guest rappers. Some songs don’t fit together thematically and Pedalay sounds uncomfortable (“Keep it Pimpin”). Pedalay’s clearly still finding his niche, but he’s getting a step closer, fueling his music with more anger and passion. Hopefully, he continues to develop in the next issue.