“G.O.A.T.” by POLYPHIA has to be one of my favorite tracks of 2018. The word “favorite” doesn’t really capture the feeling I have towards the song though. Favorite implies that it’s the song I like best above a bunch of others, that it is superior in a way that makes me want to listen to it all the time.
That’s not quite why I think this song is so great.
To me, and I’ve said this in a previous article, this song in particular heralds a coalescence of two genres that seem in opposition on the surface: trap and metal. There’s been a noted crossover in these genres recently that I think blends them together more cohesively than previous attempts to blend hip-hop and rock in the late 90’s. The 90’s era of blends usually had a foundational instrumental base in metal or hardcore, with a rap or hip-hop vocal overlay. The current crossover maintains a strong foundation of trap and hip-hop in the composition while adding a dash of punk/hardcore/metal in the instrumentation and or vocals.
This song is unapologetically trap in composition and arrangement. The only difference is, and this is what makes it a G.O.A.T., it’s all played with instruments. The stuttered bass and kick, the guitar jumping from chord strings to higher notes and harmonics, and triplet hi-hat; they all emulate sounds and beat patterns that were originally created electronically. So it’s this full circle where music software was created to help analog instruments and arrangements, to software facilitating the rise in arrangements that could only be created and played electronically, to now where we’re emulating sounds that were meant to be electronic back onto analog gear.
This song will fit perfectly on a playlist with Marian Hill. It is in the context that the skill of Clay Aeschliman is really apparent. He plays a trap groove with all the timing nuances we’ve become so familiar with in the trap genre. I’ve already touched on the triplet hi-hats, but he dashes in vocally phrased grooves on other cymbals, the toms, and even throws in a light-weight ethnic beat at 2:35. Just watch the video and you’ll see what I mean. Clay breaks down the MEINL cymbals he used throughout tracking at the end, so check that out.