“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending.”–Kermit The Frog
03 Greedo’s favorite movie of all time is Blow, an intense character study that the late film critic Roger Ebert summarized with a question: “Is a rich man under the shadow of sudden death measurably happier than a man with a more mundane but serene existence?”
Greedo’s existence in 2019 is undoubtedly more mundane than serene. The Los Angeles rapper is currently serving a 20-year prison bid for drugs and weapons charges, but, like many rappers serving time, this bid hasn’t slowed his productivity. He recently received his GED from behind bars and continues to flood the physical and digital streets with visceral rap ballads.
Greedo’s biggest surprise yet has come in the form of Netflix & Deal, a collaboration album with superstar producer and host of The Cave, Kenny Beats. The album, as explained in their making-of documentary, was recorded before Greedo began his sentence and comprises “conceptual songs about Greedo’s favorite movies and how they relate to his own life.”
In usual 1-Listen fashion, the rules are the same: no skipping, no fast-forwarding, no rewinding, and no stopping. Each song will receive my gut reaction from start to finish. Free Greedo.
It sounds like a car door just closed. “Captain Crunch presents” is a surprisingly hard tag. Good ol’ “WHOA KENNY!” tag. “Everything all white” is the perfect hook for a song dedicated to a movie about moving weight like Traffic. Shoutout Steven Soderbergh. “I’m in the pot like Winnie The Pooh.” Greedo’s playful but still ready to jump off the porch. He doesn’t want kids getting caught up in the streets the way he did. This bass sounds like church. A good start.
2. “Paid In Full”
Someone’s punching in at an ATM. Paid In Full is a classic. Already some references to Mitch and Rico. This beat is as smoky and flashy as Mitch shouting, “I’m broke, baby!” “Paid In Full” is pure drug talk and not much else. It’s hard not to believe every word Greedo says. Flutes have become more noticeable since Future’s “Mask Off.” If any other artist but Greedo dropped this, I’d call it cliche. These two know how to keep it exciting.
3. “Disco Shit” ft. Freddie Gibbs
Oh, now this sounds DIFFERENT. Cocaine truly is “Disco Shit,” after all. Perfect marriage. Giorgio Moroder linking with DJ Quik. I’m intoxicated and seeing in neon. Greedo is tap-dancing all over this shit. His flow is slippery and enticing. Was that a vocal sample of Mirtha yelling in Blow? I think I remember Greedo saying he recorded that himself. Haha, nice touch. Singing Freddie Gibbs! This verse gives me “Bout It Bout It” vibes in the best possible way. This record is so different from Freddie and Greedo’s work on “Death Row.” Left-field in the best way.
“Maria” is warped and hazy. A nice, sturdy beat for Greedo to kick some shit. Greedo’s rhythm is perfect for storytelling. “Turn your dirty dreads to a taper fade.” I’m holding my hair for dear life, man. “Maria” is smooth and vicious, sheesh. I understand why Alamo released this record as a single. Kenny is maintaining a great balance. I’m hoping for more left-field work like “Disco Shit,” but I’m not disappointed.
5. “Blue People” ft. Vince Staples
Greedo and Vince link up! This beat is balanced, with a sample sounding like it came from The Avalanches archives. “Lilo and Stitch in my pockets” is a great money bar. This melody is an earworm. Greedo is an excellent example of someone who raps in clear, simple statements that sound hard as hell. He could rap a grocery list, and I’d be all in. Here comes Vince! “I was fried bologna hungry, now I’m bougie.” The Baby Huey bar was tight. The beat sounds like a beach party inside a Super Nintendo game. A nostalgic groove. “Blue People” might be my favorite record so far.
6. “Beg Your Pardon” ft. Maxo Kream
Trigga Maxo! Greedo grabbed every Crip rapper he could find. Man, I wish rappers would stop using the word “retarded.” Maxo Kream knows his way around a metaphor, simple and effective. Kenny even tailored the bounce to his voice. I wonder how Greedo will sound. He came with more singing and a Home Alone reference to boot. “Beg Your Pardon” is good, but not a standout.
7. “Honey I Shrunk The Kids”
Big Rick Moranis energy. I promise I’ll punish myself for that, but it’s still less silly than hearing Greedo sing about Honey I Shrunk The Kids. Okay, “I got the check and got rid of people / Honey I Blew Up The Kid” is great. This record is toting and flexing rap to the fullest, but it feels more like an interlude than anything else. Not sure if I’ll be back.
8. “Brad Pitt”
References to Fight Club and Mr. & Mrs. Smith right out the gate. At least Greedo is staying on brand. Benjamin Button and 12 Monkeys, too? He’s trying to stuff as many Brad Pitt references into these tough guy bars as he can. I respect the determination. This record reminds me of Flatbush ZOMBiES’ “Headstone.” I can imagine “Brad Pitt” getting tiring after a few listens, but I’d love to see Greedo’s movie collection when I’m finished one-listening this album. I wonder if he likes Cool World?
9. “Aye Twin” ft. Key!
Kenny has been giving us very chiptune-esque sounds on these beats so far. I’m not mad at it. Greedo’s twin could be either Key!, or his gun. They’re going back and forth, a nice change of pace. “Aye Twin” feels like brothers sparring over a track. A candy song: Fun and tasty, but otherwise inessential. Their chemistry is genuine, but I don’t know why this is here. All three of them can do better.
Oooooo! These guitar licks are smooth. Greedo is hop-scotching across these pockets, rapping about how he’s missing the holidays. “Life” is about narrowly avoiding a life sentence and the emotional damage that comes along with it. The wavy beat just got a little sadder. “Niggas can’t see the bar, cause niggas can’t make the charge.” If you know, you know (for context, I don’t know). “Life” is so good. Another keeper.
11. “Payback” ft. Ohgeesy
In Gucci shoes, but you can’t pay your rent? You’re slippin’. Ohgeesy is talking about smoking on green and pink like Cosmo and Wanda. “Payback” might feature the first Fairly Odd Parents reference I can remember hearing since Desiigner’s “Timmy Turner.” “I do not fuck with beers.” Me neither, man. Boosie shoutout. This beat is bouncing, but it’s not grabbing me. Meh, they could have left this record on the cutting room floor.
12. “Soulfood” ft. Buddy
“Soulfood” feels like a film two friends shot on an iPhone but edited with After Effects. A labor of love. Kenny and Greedo sound like they’re having fun. If you’re gonna have a song named after Soul Food, you can’t miss that swing. Big Momma would be proud of this beat. Buddy naming different kinds of soul food might be the funniest hook of the year. I can only imagine Greedo recording this verse with one of those old-fashioned stand-up microphones Mos Def uses. There’s no place in the world like the South. A lot shorter than I was expecting.
13. “Dead Presidents”
The homestretch shares a title with a true hood classic. Dead Presidents face makeup always used to be the move for Halloween. Greedo is staking his claim as Larenz Tate. Those are some big shoes to fill. The piano keys are slinking like cartoon skeletons before the drums smash them to bits. This beat is so interesting. Greedo telling a story about somebody who got high on their supply. It’s hard to believe this song is supposed to be the ending of the project. It isn’t exactly a Sopranos-level ending, but it certainly feels anticlimactic.
Final (First Listen) Thoughts On 03 Greedo has & Kenny Beats' Netflix & Deal
Kenny Beats and 03 Greedo are a serviceable rap duo. They both favor forward motion, crafting sounds and flows on the fly, and having a blast while doing it. In that sense, Netflix & Deal feels two or three steps above the blunted movie marathon depicted on its cover. These are two talented friends with stories to tell and no commercial interruptions to stop them.
Greedo and Kenny reach new highs across Netflix & Deal. There are plenty of records that established fans will love, and experimentation on “Disco Shit” and “Life” elevate Netflix & Deal. However, there is also a handful of songs that feel like unnecessary B-roll. Collaborations with Key! (“Aye Twin”) and Buddy (“Soulfood”) feel more like interludes than full songs, and closing track “Dead Presidents” trips up the sequencing of Greedo & Kenny’s otherwise airtight atmosphere.
Minor stumbles aside, Netflix & Deal is a fun and binge-able ride through the cinematic imaginations of two of rap’s most exciting minds. It’s as indulgent as a bucket of movie theater popcorn with just a little too much butter, but how else are you supposed to eat it? I’ll be back for seconds.