At this point, calling Bronx rapper-producer Cash Cobain’s music “filthy” is like calling hot sauce “spicy”: a technically correct observation that doesn’t begin to describe what it’s doing to your nerve receptors. Though he’s a pioneer of the sample and sexy drill movements that have subsequently merged with the jerky rhythms of club rap, the main topic in most of his songs is sex—having it, pursuing it, starting and ending relationships over it. Still, there’s a care and humor to his craft that makes his debauchery endearing instead of creepy. Like Pusha T with cocaine or Action Bronson with food, he’s a specialist using his skills to wax poetic on his favorite subject in every way possible (“She told me to cum inside like a visit,” he says on “Slizzy Dialogue”). And while he isn’t quite as outlandish as fellow sex-obsessed rappers like SahBabii, his bluntness and playful ear for beats gives each song the nonchalance of a one-night stand.
Pretty Girls Love Slizzy, his sixth album, doesn’t skimp on the sex talk, but for all the silly puns (“I wanna drink on that shit like a Mistic/Name her pussy Jada ’cause I kissed it”), DM slides, and Hennessy-soaked hookups, his never-ending quest to get laid has a romantic drive. Take the frantic “Slizzy Dialogue,” a point-by-point retelling of a short-lived affair—from first contact to steamy linkup—that ends with a postcoital phone call from his lover’s boyfriend. Over warbling synths and fast-clacking drums, the song flows with the hectic energy of an impromptu FaceTime convo, complete with exasperated ad-libs and he-said-she-said qualifiers. Later, on “Clocking U” and “Took a While,” he’s begging for action like a bizarro version of Don Toliver, affectionately telling a woman he misses her before asking her to “blow me like some tissue.” Many rappers could make this request sound uncomfortable, but it helps that Cobain doesn’t take himself too seriously. His unfussed delivery keeps things moving like a breezy romantic comedy.
Aside from his comically large libido, Cobain has a striking ear for beats. His blend of sample drill and Jersey club has many imitators, but none have reached the dizzying heights of his and Chow Lee’s 2022 mixtape 2 Slizzy 2 Sexy, which flipped everything from the Plain White T’s to Trinidad Cardona into singular audio candy. A handful of Pretty Girls’ beats re-up that formula: The flip of Jai Paul’s gossamer “BTSTU” that powers lead single “Rump” dovetails nicely with the thumping club drums at its margins. It pairs well with “Not No Xanax 2,” which reimagines Nelly and Kelly Rowland’s “Dilemma” hook as a chiptune-esque party jam. But what really elevates Pretty Girls is Cobain’s ability to branch out beyond club and drill without overextending himself. “So Fire” scales back the BPM, using heavy reverb and dubby dancehall drums to create a humid sway. On “Nice N Slow,” the talkbox vocals, rapid-fire drums, and twinkling synths call to mind a drill flip of Chromeo. That sense of adventure has always been present in Cobain’s music—this is a guy who’s unafraid to dig into the Spice Girls and Ray Charles catalogs for material—so it’s nice to hear him try out different tunes.
The challenge of being a rapper with hyper-specific subject matter is finding ways to keep it fresh, but Cash Cobain has yet to disappoint. His music isn’t sexy just because he’s unabashedly horny, and it isn’t entertaining just because he has immaculate taste in samples. It works because you can feel the fun behind it. There’s a life-affirming buzz behind the simple elegance of Cobain and New Jersey producer McVertt’s starry beat on “Messy,” or the glowing way he asks, “Can I hit it in the back of the Caddy?”—moments worthy of kicking off block parties and echoing from car stereos at stoplights. Cash Cobain bottles that essence and sprays it on tracks like cologne.