Valee runs up a high score | Pitchfork | Chicago Reader

Music » Pitchfork

Valee runs up a high score

In recognition of the Chicago rapper’s Pitchfork debut, the Reader attempts to quantify his braggadociousness.


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Valee at Lollapalooza in 2018 - ALISON GREEN
  • Alison Green
  • Valee at Lollapalooza in 2018

Chicago has plenty of rappers with distinctive styles, but none is quite like Valee. As he became a national phenomenon last year, several marquee names tried to replicate his nimble, staccato flow, including Nicki Minaj, Smokepurpp, and Tyler, the Creator. But mere imitation can't capture Valee's charm and skill—or his alchemical combination of nonchalance and boastfulness.

This brings me to the very silly reason this piece exists. I got to wondering if I could devise a quantitative method to measure Valee's strengths—specifically his braggadociousness. Harnessing the probably irrelevant power of math, I rated the boastfulness of each of four verses on a ten-point scale, then multiplied that number by the skillfulness of his performance, also rated on a ten-point scale. (You may disagree with my scores, but you're wrong.) Then I divided that product by the time it took him to deliver those bars, thus arriving at a hard number: units of braggadociousness per second. I consider this method completely unassailable, and will not be taking questions at this time.

Fri 7/19, 3:20-4:10 PM, Red Stage

"Two 16's"

Verse: Hope you don't run up, bitch, I'll toe-tag you / Shoot you five times, Christian Louboutin sneaks / Five racks, lean was gone, refill that / Flow mad sticky, spill that Louis Vuitton print wallet, hanging / From my garment bag, Cuban link

Boastfulness: 6/10

Skillfulness: 10/10

Time: 12 seconds

Units of braggadociousness per second (BPS): 5.00

"John Doe"

Verse: In the two-door, color egg yolk / You can miss me with that shit, you ain't talkin' 'bout bread, though / I'm with my Hispanic bitch, but I'm not her man, though / Got two dirty sticks, I look like Commando / And I stay ten toes, I don't gotta stand, though / I pop Addies by the four, I don't fuck with Xans, though / Met that bitch in January, but her name ain't Jan, though / I might have to toe-tag you, now your name is John Doe

Boastfulness: 8/10

Skillfulness: 7/10

Time: 22 seconds

BPS: 2.55

"Womp Womp"

Verse: Asked my mama for bread, she told me "Uh-uh" / That's the day I went out to get my bread up, uh-huh / T-shirt Vlone, leave the coupe runnin', won't be long / Chinese food, wonton, I might as well try that one time

Boastfulness: 7/10

Skillfulness: 8/10

Time: 12 seconds

BPS: 4.67

"I Was on the Block"

Verse: I was sippin' red with my bitch the other day / These Amiri jeans cost me 2.5K / I know all my ex-bitches feel like shit today / I pull up in old-schoolers, runnin' rich today

Boastfulness: 8/10

Skillfulness: 6/10

Time: 13 seconds

BPS: 3.69  v

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →