With First Time for Everything (Part 1), FKi 1st continues to construct the supersonic bridge to the days of future past with their amalgamation of trap, drum, and bass tones that sound more relevant than tomorrow. This, their first EP, features the production A-team of Trocon Markus, “1st Down” Roberts Jr., and Andre Demar. Meanwhile, “Sauce Lord Rich” Jackson continues to build their fresh bankroll of turnt beats with hip-hop’s new voices, Post Malone, ILoveMakonnen, and other rap lyricists, who are legit members of hip-hop’s future wave. Overall, the Atlanta duo lets their own production work do the bragging for them here.
The last 30 seconds of “GIT”, which features Bankroll Fresh — a rapper gifted with cadence and delivery, embraces Eno-esque ambience, yet if you listen to the first minute, you’ll find evidence of early trap rhythms with the gated and militaristic hi-hats and sub-bass tones that demonstrate their lack of dedication to just one sound. In the spirit of finding their own voice and separating themselves from other producers du jour, FKi 1st shows daring and reaching not just for the next great beat, but for the beat that best fits the artists with whom they work.
Rihanna’s voice fits like a glove on the hook-heavy “For What It’s Worth”, stealing the track from Njomza. The Diplo-influenced track creates an atmosphere that embraces the airy edges of lean at the bottom of the cup (the sweetest part). The minimalistic melody provides just enough range for both Rihanna and Njomza to work their magic, and neither of them overexerts themselves to any point of exhaustion. Rather, they leave enough on to make the foreplay worth the experience.
And is foreplay FKi 1st’s design here? Well, it’s an easy assumption to make considering the final track, “Forever” (featuring the Gucci-inspired, Drake-approved ILoveMakonnen). The ballad is raw, as the speaker is saying goodbye to a relationship that once promised forever but dissolved and fell apart instead. The beat produces a reflective landscape for love’s dissolution while Makonnen laments his inability to see the truth in front of him when he states: “She says over and over again / But I just play dumb and retarded and like it’s pretend.” His question mid-first verse—”What’s the point of playing games if we’re going to lose?”— not only acts as the song’s theme, but compliments the point and vision of FKi 1st’s production.
Post Malone’s “White Iverson” made him famous, and the ghosts in the machine that produced the beat that made him famous adds to the breakout, screwed down hook on “The Meaning”, allowing Malone to display his polemics about the meaninglessness of base materialism. Therein lies the irony: “Lookin’ at my wrist and what the fuck it really mean”, as he says, shifts the focus away from hip-hop’s often indecent nod to materialism toward something more. “The Meaning’s” questions are never answered, because maybe there isn’t one at this point in their careers.