Machine Gun Kelly remembers - and tries to forget - a disastrous relationship on “Let You Go.”



Pop Music (by which we mean, at We Are: The Guard “popular music” or whatever people are listening to at that moment. Beethoven and Mozart were Pop Music in the 18th Century.) can be a funny thing, when it comes to memory and emotion. On one hand, we turn to our favorite tunes, jams, and playlists when we’re feeling down, to get over and through whatever raw, human moment we’re experiencing in that moment. On the other hand, however, Pop Music is there for us when we just want to forget, let loose and have a good time.

Hardcore hip-hop is not usually the place we turn when we’re feeling down (unless you think Drake is hardcore, or you consider today a good day because you didn’t have to use an assault rifle). And yet maybe we should - hip-hop is music for survival, for moving forward no matter what - no matter how weary or war-torn we are.

“Let You Go” might not sound much like hip-hop straight out the gate, with some Pop Punk/emo vocals, as Kelly introduces the scene. From there, the ‘hardcore’ and ‘hip-hop’ remain separate but parallel, sounding like Green Day or Blink 182 getting down with Chief Keef or DJ Khaled, as fuzzy power chords meet brittle breakbeats, while Kelly pours his heart out like so much sweat and adrenaline in a circle pit.

Whether you’re holding on to pleasant memories, like the “curves hugged right in a black dress,” from Kelly’s reminiscences, or you just want to say “Screw it,” “Let You Go,” is an essential slab of emotional hip-hop. We Are: The Guard recommended - take as needed for pain. 

J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.