by Mosi Reeves | July 15, 2013
Luxury rap is a demimonde. When Kanye West shouted "Luxury rap!" on "Otis," he tapped a cultural vein that now seems apparent. Rappers may have boasted of their largess for eternity, but leave it to the man known for popping a wheelie on the Zeitgeist to sum up how this lyrical arms race has advanced to depicting lifestyles costing tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars. It ain't about a $5,000 love seat anymore.
A close cousin to luxury rap is yacht rap, with a sound identified by dreamy ambiance and half-speed tempos. It started as a one-man show thanks to Rick Ross' "Yacht Club," and evolved into a full-blown micro-fad (often indistinguishable from the fancifully named cloud rap) with help from Wiz Khalifa, Drake and many others. But to truly understand the complexities of luxury rap -- and, more importantly, leave room for the more electronic sounds of Watch the Throne -- we must dig deeper than the world of "Maybach Music." Whether crushing over MGMT's digital displays on Kid Cudi's "Pursuit of Happiness" or peeking behind Curren$y's "Privacy Glass," this playlist takes a wide-eared view of capitalist debauchery. Come and "Swagga Like Us."