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This or That? Vinny Cha$e vs. Chase N. Cashe

Chase N. Cashe, a rapper/producer perhaps best known for getting name-dropped by Drake on ’9 A.M. In Dallas,’ is a lot more than just a Drizzy reference. Coming out of New Orleans, Cashe has a broad range of musical influences; a cursory glance at his Twitter reveals he’s a fan of Frankie Beverley & Maze and Michael Jackson. He’s also well-read, constantly citing history and recently quoting Malcolm X in the shadow of Michael Brown’s horrific murder.

Years ago, he produced ‘Drop The World’ for Lil’ Wayne and Eminem, marking an incredible achievement for any music producer. Two years later he crafted the most heart-piercing beat on Drake’s sophomore album with ‘Look What You’ve Done.’ He can do a beat for West Coast pool party rapper Dom Kennedy, and then turn around and do trap for Bloody Jay. As a producer, Chase has mastered the balance that all landmark producers harness: the ability to constantly reinvent himself while still making music that sounds like his and no one else’s. You can just tell when it’s a Chase N. Cashe beat, even if it’s nothing like anything he’s done before.

But as a solo artist, he hasn’t been able to capitalize on his talent with a popular song. His Twitter following is strong and he constantly puts new music on the Soundcloud page for Crown Bearers, what looks to be his own record label, but nothing has popped. His most popular song on Spotify is included on the Fool’s Gold ‘Loosies’ compilation; his next most popular song is with A$AP Rocky, and it’s yet to break 20,000 plays.

The music is solid enough. He doesn’t rap about anything mind-blowing, though he does tend to touch on the struggle of an up-and-coming artist more than most rappers do. The majority of his raps are self-absorbed, though. A lot of the rhymes lack the inspiration and knowledge available on his Twitter, though songs like ‘iRevolutionary’ feed off his refreshing righteousness. The production on his 2013 project ‘Heir Waves’ is clean, but it might be that Chase simply isn’t cut out to be a rapper. More and more, it seems like there’s an abundance of rappers who should stick to producing. So far, Chase’s beats have gotten him farther than any of his raps have.

Vinny Cha$e is a little harder to figure out. His name is probably his best asset right now, thanks to the ever-enduring cultural cachet of ‘Entourage.’ Last year’s ‘King’s Landing’ project, however, doesn’t match the star power the name holds. He sounds like fellow Harlemite A$AP Rocky on ‘Chill 2 This’  and he can’t even be distinguished on the first three songs, as he’s flanked by Ma$e, Kid Art, and Cartier Court. Most of ‘King’s Landing’ actually sounds like a guy trying to find his own sound. Does he want Young Chop beats with features by Waka Flocka and Yo Gotti? Maybe the mellow sound of songs like ‘Grippin’ and ‘Nothin’ Changed’? It isn’t a bad thing that his project holds so many different sounds, but it leaves the impression that Vinny Cha$e doesn’t know what kind of artist he wants to be yet.

That’s the downfall of every “swag rapper,” though. Capitalize on the sound of today and you’re forgotten tomorrow. Something in your music needs to be timeless, transcendent. Vinny Cha$e’s music doesn’t have those qualities yet.

Chase N. Cashe has proved that he can make classic records, at least behind the boards. Now he has to figure out what made those records so good and apply that extra something to his own music. Otherwise, he’ll always be a producer who gives hot records to other artists. That’s not a bad spot to be in, by the way.

Vinny Cha$e is another iteration of artists who don’t know who they are in a city full of artists who want to sound like they’re from somewhere else. As of this writing, he’s yet to have a solo song on Youtube crack 350,000 views, and he’s nowhere to be found on Spotify. He’ll have to craft his own lane if he wants to be as big as the A$AP Mob. Maybe he’s sitting on the best music of his life, but judging from what we’ve got, it doesn’t look like his ceiling is too high. You can keep your eyes on Vinny, but keep your ears on Chase N. Cashe.

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