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While he is most often found collaborating with Slums artists, backpack art MCs, and boombap legends, Pink Siifu in fact hails from Alabama and injects that Southern flavor into all sorts of other subgenres. From the warm lofi poetry of Ensley, to the hardcore punk of Negro, and the, well, gumbo of GUMBO’!, Siifu shows such versatility and vision through these established sounds which he makes distinctly. Now, he links with the ever busy Real Bad Man, most notable for their subtly forward-thinking spin on the grimy New York style (and collaborations with Boldy James). The result, Real Bad Flights, is an important moment for both artists and easy listening above all else.
What makes Real Bad Flights so easy to throw on is atmosphere; From the retro groove of “Off the Plane”, to the globalism of “Tokyo Flights” or “Afro Russian”, and subtle samples and skits throughout, this album could easily soundtrack a season of Mad Men. Its an oft unexplored aesthetic that feels very original, marking yet another clear arc of Siifu’s career.
Siifu himself isn’t a particularly engaging rapper; His flow is quiet and lazy, but also conveys so much emotion and energy that leaves the track a blank canvas for production, features, and some of his own poetic gems to shine through.
This is none more evident than on the last track “Real Bad Gospel”, where Siifu evokes the Ensley days and builds an inviting, nostalgic vibe that speaks to his origins. That being said, he lets the beats breathe a lot on here and the mix makes his bars clearer than ever, showing growth as always.
Features remain a major highlight of Real Bad Flights; Boldy James appears on the single “Looking For Water”, delivering constant wordplay and a uniquely upbeat flow, while Billy Woods channels his inner Wolfgang Puck on “Tokyo Blunts”. Kari Faux’s borderline spoken word is as comforting as the coffee she describes, and old collaborator Lojii steals the show with a longer, pronounced verse on “Po Drama”.
All of this is to say that Pink Siifu has honed his skills not only as a mic presence and creator, but also as a curator (a common attribute to artists like Westside Gunn). Between this and Gumbo, his ability to stretch his own style into dense, emotional, and defined projects through features and beat selection is a stroke of genius. While Real Bad Flights might not be his most essential album, its a fun appetizer for what’s sure to come.
Listen to Real Bad Flights on Bandcamp