Courtney Milburn is an unlikely entry into the modern-day Houston rap ecosystem: a rap star who was on nobody's’ radar until last fall.
He used to write raps but never performed them or let anyone else hear them due to shyness. He went to Eisenhower High School on the Northside, found a love for sports, found a way to fall out of love with sports and get tangled up in common street fare. You cannot argue that his “Flicka Da Wrist” single, the 2014 single that sprouted legs longer than Andre the Giant to viral success was planned. Milburn even said it himself in a June interview with The FADER, hinting at falling in love with one sound FredOnEm played over and over again before freestyling the rest of the song.
Odd jobs used to be how Milburn, 29 and better known as Chedda Da Connect, paid the bills. Much like his former roommate and frequent collaborator T-Wayne, there are new ways to pay the bills now.
There is not much difference in Chedda World, the first proper mixtape Chedda Da Connect released after “Flicka Da Wrist” went from viral sensation to actual Billboard chart entry, and its album counterpart. Both are searching for another possible hit single to send Chedda into orbit. “Twinkle," the Rizzoo and T-Wayne-featured flip of that childhood nursery rhyme, is on the album. The loaded remix of his biggest song with Fetty Wap, Yo Gotti, Boston George and Boosie Badazz sits at the end of the deluxe edition. Outside of “Whippin Up” with Kevin Gates and the two aforementioned singles, Chedda World: The Album is a mostly solo effort where its lead attempts to translate big hooks into a second wave.
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I stated previously that Chedda World, when still in its incubated mixtape form, was a dashing trip to Atlanta where big hooks submerged in synth-heavy trap beats were normal, if not the current language of the city. Whereas current hook mavens such as Future hit a groove from the moment a play is called, Chedda builds up to it. He doesn’t know what he necessarily has to say in order to pull gravity his way, but he tap-dances before getting to his main point. “I just need my check, I just need my dough/I just need my guap, I don't need these hoes,” he raps on “I Need” before zoning in on the strongest points a repetitive two-step of, “I need that money upfront” and “I ain't gon' play with you, hoe."
When he raps in that languid, push-start way that reached new heights on “Flicka,” he offers more life quips than actual punchlines. Chedda isn’t about to offer up science about the transgressions of other people or even a larger group of people. Nope, he’s going to relate to himself as 50 Cent in his prime and not catching a case. In a way, he’s playing a rather straightforward rap character. In another, he’s a self-championing Northside guy who has decided to take his life and life tales up a notch. The boasts are quick and haughty (“Bitch I’m eating steaks, no ribeye“); the high-priced exotic cars change out like clothes; love becomes vapid and reduced to physical interaction in the most blunt of terms (“I don't want your pussy, just give me brain”) and all of the bricks you could think could be moved through different countries – can be done.
It’s tiresome to try and fact-check what rappers actually do and have not done in 2015. Enjoying “Flicka Da Wrist” and to an extent, Chedda World: The Album is coming to grips with the times. When you make music for a particular moment, the instructions have to be as direct and to the point as possible. It doesn’t stay inside that Atlanta realm it owned in its original state. Chedda World: The Album slices most of the Zaytoven stuff out for simpler and to-the-point trap stuff. Point blank, Chedda Da Connect hit the lottery on a weird night in the studio. He’s not trying to recapture that exact same moment but throughout his debut album, he’s definitely looking for something similar.