ILOVEMAKONNEN – “Sellin” (Singles Going Steady)

Makonnen's flow is sloppy, dumbstruck, twisting through elliptical organ pulses, made-in-the-garage 808's, and a lithe, writhing flute motif.

Steve Horowitz: Provocative and stoopid, to call this song dope would just be dumb. Sure it is, but that’s part of its retro charm. Get out the Casio and rap about one’s bad ass self. The video shows the aesthetic inspiration cuz dope is the stuff that lets the imagination loose. Maybe. The song is catchy but it never goes anywhere, but back to the beginning. [6/10]

Emmanuel Elone: Like a lot of ILOVEMAKONNEN songs, I enjoy the beats but hate the rapper. Specifically, it’s his slightly raspy voice that is out of place on so many of these songs. Even his lyrics aren’t that great with rhymes like “I’m sellin’ weed, I’m sellin’ molly / I got b*tches like Holly.” I know that he’s not a lyrical spitter, but that’s pathetic even for radio pop rap. However, even though “Sellin'” is too generic and lame for me to get on board with, it will definitely appeal to his fanbase, which was probably his goal in the first place. [4/10]

Pryor Stroud: 2015’s Sundance darling Dope starts off with a Websterian definition of the titular monosyllable, partitioned off into three possible meanings that predictably coalesce throughout the film: “a drug taken illegally for recreational purposes”, “a stupid person”, and “excellent, used as a generalized term of approval”. iLoveMakonnen’s newest single “Sellin” similarly aggregates these meanings into a singular, fluid, and effortlessly cohesive whole and, just like its cinematic kin, it flips the sociogenic iconography linked to black drug culture into a charming, self-referential hip-hop confection. Here, Makonnen’s flow is sloppy, dumbstruck, twisting through elliptical organ pulses, made-in-the-garage 808’s, and a lithe, writhing flute motif. “I’m sellin’ dope / I’m sellin’ dope / I’m back to sellin’ the dope,” he stammers, the hook drawing out his confession before the interrogation process even begins. This is the weekend work shift that Makonnen’s breakout track “Tuesday” leaves out of the limelight, but now it’s centerstage, and you can’t help but being drawn down the streets that form his cubicle walls. [5/10]

Chad Miller: May not be the next “Tuesday”, but Makonnen still has a gift of making such a puerile sound work in his favor. The music does a lot for this song as well. [7/10]

Chris Ingalls: Let’s be fair: this isn’t completely without merit. The beat is potent, really getting down into your gut. The keyboard riff is almost mesmerizing in its simplicity. But the lyrics are just flat-out stupid. Yes, I get it. You’re sellin’ dope. It sounds like something that was written in the back of a junior high school bus, complete with a lot of juvenile snickering about how hilarious it is that they’re writing a song about selling dope. [3/10]

SCORE: 5.00