Weeks on Chart: 8
Peak: No. 35 on Billboard’s Hot 100
Current Radio Play Frequency: No. 24 on Hot 97’s playlist
YouTube Hit Count: 12,694,296 at time of publication
I first got put on to “Bugatti,” at the embarrassingly late date of “a month ago,” during a set by Crank City DJ’s infamous DJ Horse Hoof Haver (a.k.a. my friend Jackson). In my defense, I’d been out of the country for six weeks — but really, that’s no excuse for failing to keep up with the latest in advanced American radio rap technology. Because when you first hear a song as massively and perfectly, to borrow a phrase from the children, “turnt up” as “Bugatti,” you feel as if you might not have need for any other musical sounds ever again. These particular windows-down volume-all-the-way-fucking-up jams, you see, they lay waste and salt the earth. And that first time with “Bugatti,” I felt that way, even though DJ Horse Hoof Haver was peppering his trademark “horse neigh” drops all over the place.
Now how could such a gem come to us from as faceless and blank a street-rap guy as Ace Hood, you ask? Ace’s last album was called Blood, Sweat & Tears. His next one’s called Trials & Tribulations. At this point I’m starting to think he’s less into non-generically depicting his hardscrabble upbringing and more into ampersands. Like, I’m saying: Our man Antoine McColister actually just went ahead and put the word “hood” in his rap name.
But the readily apparent truth is that “Bugatti” is not an Ace Hood song. It is, firstly, a Mike WiLL Made It song. The “Bugatti” beat is just the latest bit of fire from Mr. Made It’s recent ridiculous hot streak: In the last two years alone, he’s given us “Tupac Back,” “Turn on the Lights,” “No Lie,” “Pour It Up,” and, greatest of all — drumroll please — the beautifully empty number for “Bandz a Make Her Dance.” (For the icing on the cake, he’s also co-credited on “Mercy.”) And it is, secondly, a Future song, whose powerful chorus work here renders all other vocals simply perfunctory. You could swap out the verses for loops of old Lou Dobbs Tonight audio and this thing would still get Hot 97 spins.
But before we get too down on Ace — who is, after all, doing nothing more than not looking a gift horse in the mouth — a quick, endearing note from his Wikipedia page: “In 2007, he met DJ Khaled outside the offices of WEDR 99 Jamz after Ace gave him an autobiography [italics ours] and demo tape, Khaled signed Hood to his label, We the Best.”
Production notes: Based on the same quiet-quiet-LOUD principles that helped, you know, the Pixies shred, “Bugatti” is all about the moment of impact. Mike WiLL keeps taking the beat underwater and then letting it splash gloriously out, like the most hood of Flippers. As Mike knows damn well, knowing to stop is just as important as knowing when to go.
Here’s a thing to do: Put “Bugatti” on among your loved ones, wait for the “I woke up in the new” part, and if your friends and family members don’t immediately bust out their no. 1 go-to dance move (like in the barbershop on Chappelle’s “Electric Guitar, Drums, or Electric Piano”), stop being friends and/or family with them.
Lyrical notes: There’s nothing particularly wrong with Ross’s verse. It’s just that he hit peak-guest-verse ubiquity 18 months ago and then kept going, so there’s nothing particularly exciting about it either. I just got done crapping all over Ace, but now I do have to admit that the line where he specifically enumerates his mortgage makes me chuckle. OK, but let’s get back to what’s important: Let’s get back to Future.
The video sells short his central “woke up” concept by taking it literally: Ace runs, in quick succession, right past bullets, then through your standard warehouse poker game into easy millions, and finally lands in the ‘gatti. But Ace’s intro does do the idea some justice. “Damn,” he reflects. “Ya life can flip in a matter of seconds. One morning you wakin’ up in the projects. And the next morning you wake up in a 1.2 million-dollar car. How did I get here?” No, really: How? What has happened to my life? And is it a positive? Yes, straight waking up in the damn whip is about effortlessness, a perma-glibness that is supposed to define all our hip-hop titans. But, as Future warbles through his evocative turn of phrase, what’s also there is blinding success — a complete life overhaul — depicted as a sweaty, panicked pang, and as dreamlike, surreal, and therefore quite possibly ultimately untrustworthy.
Tiniest of quibbles: “I fuck bitches of different races” could easily have been globalized into “I fuck bitches of different nations,” and then immediately imbued with a certain unassailable worldliness.
Final verdict: 10 Bugattis (Out of 10 Bugattis)