Ramona – Kill Bill: The Rapper
By Nick Horenberger | Top tracks: About Last Night & Summertime (The Overflow)
Have you ever had a really good time hanging out with a friend? I’m not talking about just hanging out with your friend for a few hours, playing some video games, and then heading home. The type of hangout that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. One moment you’ll be laughing so hard your stomach hurts and tears stream down your cheeks. A few minutes later, you’ll be laying on the floor of your friends’ garage talking about life, love, and everything in between. Eventually, you’ll look towards the window and see how dark it is outside. You’ll realize that you spend the entire day just talking to a friend. That’s how Kill Bill: the Rapper sounds.
South Carolina-born rapper Kill Bill: The Rapper rarely takes himself seriously. To the untrained eye, Kill Bill’s goofy style and sense of humor could be wrongly put into the category of meme rap but that would be an unfair assessment. Bill’s emotional melancholic lyrics hit so much harder when paired with his comedic and disarming persona. This idea of humor mixed with emotion is best exemplified in Bill’s first published mixtape, Ramona. Named after the love interest from Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, this 90’s influenced album explores themes of good vibes, bad vibes, love, lost love, and mental health.
The first track, “Backwoods,” describes the current situation of our character Bill. He stays at home all day smoking weed and playing video games. An already depressing situation is made worse by the chorus. “And I’ve never been as happy as right now/But shit, I gotta cope with the fact it dies down” Bill knows that he’s not contributing anything by doing this but it makes him happier than joining society and the mundanity of it. The songs “Hola” and “F**k” deal with Bill’s relationship with rap music. In the first song, he talks about his fascination with it and he knows he could be great if he could get off the couch. He does this in “F**k” and begins creating music.
In “Chinatown,” Bill’s life is turned upside when he meets a woman in the Chinatown district of his town. Despite a language barrier, Bill falls hard. This song boasts some of Bill’s best imagery and lyricism, painting an image of perception becoming warped by someone’s beauty.. From this point in the album, the instrumentals become jazzier and more romantic with the lyrics become more emotional. The next track, “Dream Eater” deals with Bill starts to become less interested in his art and less motivated after meeting this girl. Despite rap being his dream, he’s willing to throw it all away for her, making her his dream eater.
As Bill reflects on the effect that this relationship is having on him, he starts to explore themes of mental health. “Black Coffee” is about having ADD and anxiety while in a relationship and feeling as if you’re constantly distracted from your goals, including your partner. The instrumental on this track is a stand-out, giving the imagery of smoke in a coffee shop. The track “Then There’s Me,” deals with reflection upon Bill’s childhood. He laments having no brothers to hang out with as a kid, forcing him to spend time playing video games and watching anime. This track is probably the most fun on the album with a goofy sample from a novelty 70’s song. Going back to my analogy of the best hang out session, this is the laughing until your sides hurt portion of the night.
“Conversations with Gravity” is when things start to turn for Bill’s relationship. He starts to feel as if his personality is being intertwined with this woman. Spending time with this woman makes him happy and he feels loved but he starts to feel as if they maybe aren’t meant for each other and he feels like he’s being ripped apart by her. The next track, “Waterwaterwater,” is written from the perspective of Jinzo the Trap Lord, one of Bill’s personas. He describes this woman as something beautiful that he needs to live.
In my opinion, I think this is where the mixtape starts to lose my attention and the storyline gets muddled. The next track, “Abandoned 2,” is a sequel to a song by Rav, in which the two rappers discuss feelings of abandonment and separation to the rest of society. It’s a fine song but it doesn’t fit well with the rest of the album. The song “Pork” starts out with the theme song to the adult swim show, Aqualab 2021. It shows promise for a top tier sample flip but then the song suddenly cuts to an entirely different song. This anthem about anxiety and it’s effects on the mind, Pork is a good song but the Sealab sample makes no sense and honestly kind of ruins the song for me.
Bill completely departs from the story with “Good Luck Chuck,” a story song in which a friend of Bill’s starts being stalked by a man named chuck which culminates with her killing Chuck with a shotgun in self-defense. It’s a good song but seems weirdly placed. “Slow Jam Moogy” starts where we began, with Bill playing video games and smoking weed. he laments certain aspects about who he is, including his ability to burn bridges. At some point, in all of his introspection throughout the album, Bill lost his girlfriend, giving in to his thoughts and melancholy. It ends with Bill thinking about how different his life is after he met her.
“About Last Night” is my favorite song on the album. Bill rushes to her door, and like a rom-com character, asks her to marry him. She declines and says she wants to be friends. Bill apologizes and says he’s drunk. This is a lie. He comes home and wallows in his rejection. He realizes why she declined and who he became. He throws furniture and says he’d rather be shot than go through this. The song ends with Bill turning on one of his favorite anime, FLCL. the final track of the album is “Summertime [The Overflow}.” Due to being in the same friend group, Bill and the girl still see each other. He reflects on their relationship and admits he still has feelings for her. He knows that she’s happier without him and knows that he is a better person due to the reflections and changes he had during the relationship. The album ends with Bill wishing her luck in the future.
The end of Ramona has the same vibe as leaving your friend’s house at 3 AM. It’s cold and you have a long walk ahead of you. You smile, knowing that you had a life-changing experience, due to both the good and bad feelings you had.
My final thoughts about Ramona are as such. It has brilliant ideas and tells a magnificent story but, like Bill himself, can’t always focus on the point. When Bill is focused and on point, however, It’s a game changing album.