New rap meme, same as the old rap meme: form over content. So it's useful to get this out of the way straight off: Waka Flocka Flame is not, in the parochial sense, a good rapper. That much has driven the conversation surrounding the Georgia-based MC since he began appearing in earnest last year alongside Gucci Mane, his mentor, onetime business consort, and (maybe) former friend.
Though Waka, neé Juaquin Malphurs, was born in Queens, his roots are in Riverdale, Georgia, where he was raised. And there's something undeniably local about him — his accent, his calm demeanor, his easy-come-easy-go attitude. But where Waka's personality seems nonchalant to the point of offense, his music is as unhinged and exuberant as anything to happen in Southern hip-hop in years. His debut full-length, Flockaveli, is a fascinating and punishing album, as violent and gun-crazy as any in recent memory, but also mesmerizing in its commitment to ferocity. Waka Flocka Flame may not care about lyrics, but he embodies free-flowing energy manifest in onomatopoeic fury.