When a rapper and producer collaborate on an entire project, the results can be special. It’s how classics are made, careers are born, and it’s how you make a consistent artistic statement. It’s also the easiest way to guarantee there’s not a weak link during the album’s running time. 20-year-old Harlem rapper O Billz found an ideal partner in producer Blank Body, and the resulting collaborative album is one of the year’s most unique takes on trap.
With a deadpan cadence that sits somewhere between Gucci Mane and Earl Sweatshirt, O Billz is an easy sell. Atop Blank Body’s sci-fi production, which blends elements of IDM with more traditional trap beat techniques, he sounds entirely at home. It’s an exciting combination on E.T Global Vol. 1, even if O Billz frequently sounds like he’s rapping off the cuff, effortlessly throwing out hooks and non-sequiturs.
The pair have built their chemistry over time with one-off collaborations before working on a full-length project together. Following last year’s Hood Classic, O Billz’s first full-length, he sought to team-up with Blank Body after a friend told him how well they worked together. “Someone told me we sound good together so I figured we’d do a whole project together,” he says over email. “Every beat he sent it was easy for me to get on it so I just be snapping.”
From the moment the project starts with the formidable “Henny & White Tees,” it’s clear just how good these two sound together. Blank Body’s production, which is usually quite busy or polyphonic, could overwhelm some rappers, but O Billz sounds right at home here.
Early on, he noticed that the sound of the project was heading in a certain direction, and it’s where the title comes from. “E.T stands for ‘Elegant Trap,'” he tells me. “That’s the movement. The sound is ‘extraterrestrial’ that’s the other meaning. This project was meant to have a universal sound. To be real I feel like this is the best project to come out this month before the year is over. Definitely broke the sound barrier.”
That alien quality does very much makes this album stand out. But as much as Blank Body brings to the table with the surprising sounds, O Billz matches him with often absurd one-liners and flashes of introspection. “She took a flight to Atlanta, just to cop me a sandwich,” he raps on “HIT!,” before rapping “I been thinking about life I might have a kid,” on the next song.
As for the title, E.T Global Vol. 1, he promises that we’ll be seeing a follow-up in 2018. “E.T Global Vol. 2 will bring the same feel just on a bigger scale. Definitely might get people to feature on the new production.” It remains to be seen if it’ll be as consistent as the first volume, but we’re confident it’ll be just as entertaining.
Listen to E.T Global Vol. 1 in full below.