OG Vern released his EP OG Vern: The Menace in September, still streaming on SoundCloud. The EP is six tracks, including “Lucky,” which Vern released a video for in November.
The project touches briefly on issues with police, jealous peers and Black Jesus. Vern is confident in his moves. His boldness is almost newfound. Almost. He raps, “I was the black sheep now a nigga turned golden,” on “STILLAMENACE,” though it’d be best not to underestimate him. “Three tapes in and they acting like I’m new to this,” he says, a “young menace to society” that has reached a place that he cannot be compared to.
There’s a lot of responding to hate coming from Vern’s peers now that he is getting recognized for his talent. On “F-12” he raps: “These niggas showing they jealous, I see it in they faces / When I come off of the stages I ain’t near none of they ages.” His braggadocio definitely gives anyone dealing with jealousy a few anthems to reply with.
On “F-12” he comments on animosity toward police, and how confidence can be threatening to some. “A nigga young, black, and proud so they might bust me too,” he says. Though some may see it as a tired theme, how young Black men feel about police and interacting with them continues to be an area many singers and rappers find solace in. “F-12” is a standout. Vern, as a Black man from a city that saw its own share of nationally-reported police violence, shares harsh feelings about the boys in blue, probably from personal experience.
The Menace has a sound that I can only compare to East Coast rap, with some boom bap, trap and an odd “Snap Yo’ Fingers” sample thrown in for the hell of it. With production from GZA, @LOKO_LOS and the legendary DJ Premier, each track works well under Vern’s rhymes. It’s a statement to his diversity if anything else.
As a man on his fourth project, the progression is real. Even from OG 3:16, a 4-track project released just a year ago, Vern shows better wordplay and more ease on the mic. His subject matter is not all that profound, leaning on the braggadocio rapping that hip hop is known for. But with his wordplay and choice of production he’s entertaining and free, saying what he wants and giving us a soundtrack to blocking anyone standing in our way. The Menace makes OG Vern a breakout MC, and for his peers, someone worthy to compete with.