J.P.’s Milwaukee Lowend Anthem “Bad Bitty” Is the Catchiest Song Anywhere Right Now

Pitchfork writer Alphonse Pierre’s rap column covers songs, mixtapes, albums, Instagram freestyles, memes, weird tweets, fashion trendsand anything else that catches his attention.

At random points of the day, everyday, for weeks now, I’ll catch myself randomly blurting out, “Hey, huh, bow,” just the way J.P. does on the feel-good ditty “Bad Bitty.” The way he hits the opening notes like he’s practicing the solfège scale and with a little screwball soul makes you imagine that he was once the kid goofing off in rehearsal for the children’s choir at church, always doing too much. It’s the “bow” that really hooks me, held for way too long, until it just melts like a snowflake on your nose. Since January, I must have seen him sing along to those three seconds on Instagram and TikTok and YouTube a thousand times, bobbing his head and shimmying like he’s performing an a capella doo-wop ballad and not a Milwaukee twerk and brotherly love anthem. (Though I’m certain doo-wop groups of the ’50s didn’t mind whatsover if asses were thrown in a circle to their harmonies.) Somehow, I’ve yet to get tired of it, like this song was sprinkled with the addictive white goo from The Stuff.

Beyond its first seconds, the song only gets better. It’s a hypnotic minute and a half of non-stop digitized handclaps, signature of Milwaukee’s emerging lowend scene, mixed with heartily sung dancefloor commands and party instructions: “I say DJ can you put this song on blast/For the hoes in the back shakin’ ass.” The vocals are pretty raw, too, part of what makes it so infectious.

What’s so refreshing about “Bad Bitty,” and the Milwaukee lowend wave in general, is that it is low-stakes, low-budget, high comedy dance rap. The movement has a lot in common with some of the greatest regional dance rap—from Atlanta to Dallas to the Bay Area—with artists cranking out anthems that seemed like they were made to soundtrack local house parties and warm-weather park afternoons and then took on a life of their own. The uptempo subgenre is distinguished by how heavily rooted it is in specific, hyperlocal Milwaukee sounds of the past; for instance, you can hear Ray Nitti’s emphatic enunciation of “Bow” in his 2009 regional hit of the same name and the lighthearted mood of early 2010s Bankhead and Munch Lauren in “Bad Bitty.”

Part of why “Bad Bitty,” in particular, doesn’t sound ultra professionalized is that J.P. isn’t even a full-time rapper: He’s a college sophomore at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, where he majors in music performance and averages about 12 minutes a night at forward on the basketball team. (After watching a few highlights, I would compare his undersized big man game to that of beloved journeyman Montrezl Harrell.) In his spare time, he makes comedic videos and music, like 2022’s blown-out “Juicey Ahhh” and last year’s Dora-sampling “Get Down.” Neither, however, are anywhere near as good as “Bad Bitty,” because they’re more comedy-rap than rap charged up with comedy.

“Bad Bitty” is fun, but it’s still a real song. It wants to make you dance. It wants to make you fantasize about those dumbass nights out that you and your friends will talk about forever. These days, it’s so easy to come across music that is blemish-free, that is more a display of deep pockets than any sort of creativity, that is made exactly in the mold of what you already like. In comparison, the unpolished, unseriousness of “Bad Bitty” feels like it’s from a different planet. It can be stuck in my head however long it needs to be.

Five More Noteworthy Milwaukee Lowend Tracks From 2024

YBC Nas: “Go Bestie” [ft. YBC Shel and 414BigFrank]

I have a soft spot for the twerk songs that are less horny, but more about how the feeling of seeing an ass shake is on par with how theatergoers must’ve felt in 1999 when they saw Neo dodge those bullets for the first time.

Ron: “Woah”

From the more drill or scam rap–inflected corner of lowend, Ron (who has thankfully never heard of SEO) has a light coat of Auto-Tune on his voice as he treats the kitchen to some random Airbnb like it’s a private section at the club.

Myaap: “Smackin”

“Smackin” is the highlight on Myaap’s January mixtape, Big Myaap, Not the Lil One (amazing title). The handclaps feel more powerful than usual and she blends pretty solid rapping with the more New Orleans bounce–style chanting that usually dominates lowend.

Court Loww: “Get in Mode”

I check Court Loww’s YouTube religiously because you just never know when you’ll just stumble into some nutty ass shit like “Get in Mode.” It’s so unintentionally funny because of a sample that I can’t imagine anyone actually shaking ass to. (The source material is obvious; don’t make it hot.)

414BigFrank: “Eat Her Up”

According to J.P., 414BigFrank’s “Eat Her Up” was the direct inspiration for “Bad Bitty.” It makes sense, since Frank is another rapper-comedian hybrid who has found a way to merge the two without veering into parody rap. “Eat Her Up” is just as good as “Bad Bitty,” too, with a fully-charged, fast-paced beat that is perfect for all the frantic, loose-limbed Milwaukee dance moves.

Mixtape of the Week: TisaKorean’s Mumu 8818

TisaKorean’s thing since the days when “The Woah” was the new hot dance has been making modern-day versions of the kind of snap and ringtone rap that is probably sitting on your 15 year old iPod Classic right now. (Sidenote: 10k.Caash’s 2019 mixtape The Creator had some heat.) On last year’s Let Me Update My Status, though, I thought the Lone Star State native veered too far into nostalgia by doing near-Neptunes and early Soulja Boy karaoke instead of putting his own twist on vintage styles like usual. Mumu 8818 is a necessary course correction. Since A Guide to Being a Partying Freshman, Tisa’s lodestar has been SouljaBoyTellEm.Com, but he moves beyond that inspiration by infusing his music with robotic Auto-Tune croons and digital-romance beats that call to mind Speaker Knockerz, Kwony Cash, and Soulja Boy when he linked up with DJ Scream and Swamp Izzo. (Tisa literally name drops “Zan With That Lean” on “Ucci.”) Still, it’s more than Tisa recreating their old music; songs like “SlutTalk” and “Silly Night” are goofier and dreamier than his influences. The real misstep of the mixtape is “8818,” which is a knockoff 808s & Heartbreaks ballad. Boring! Why do your “Say You Will” when you can do your “How Could You”?

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Baby Fifty: “Stop Barrin on the Men”

The spooky, percussion-heavy beats that dominate DMV street rap are usually so formulaic that any time one is slightly different, it throws me off completely. For example: TrapMoneyBiggie’s instrumental for “Stop Barrin on the Men” (no idea what that title even means), which lays the traditional sputtering drums over a wonky sample that sounds like a DMV crank producer scoring an adaptation of an Agatha Christie murder mystery. (TrapMoneyBiggie is actually from the Netherlands. It increasingly feels like the Netherlands and Scandinavia birth underground rap producers the way North Carolina does basketball players.) The beat is so evocative that all D.C.’s Baby Fifty has to do is keep the eerie mood intact, which he does with a motor-mouthed, slightly off-track delivery that makes straightforward hostility sound like casting a spell.

TyBass: “Anguilla” [ft. Lsdvas]

The New York summertime anthems are coming. On my early admission list: Cash Cobain and Bay Swag’s “Fisherrr,” Xaviersobased’s “KlkMiHijo,” any Baby Osama song, and whichever 41 leak actually comes out in full. There are more contenders on TyBass’ recent mixtape Gyallery (Side B), a breezy blend of sing-rap melodies and lush, reggae-infused vibes that call for wheeling out the powerful sound systems. Among the highlights are the dreamy “Tantalize” and “Handle Datt,” a sort of romantic player’s ball. My favorite, though, is “Anguilla,” where constant pitch shifts, stops and starts, and gunshot sound effects make it feel like the DJ at a backyard party in Canarsie is losing his shit. In the right setting, you’d want to do anything but sit down.

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