Abbey Alley – Editor
What exactly is “the sauce?” In Post Malone’s “White Iverson,” one line states, “I’m saucin’, I’m saucin’, I’m saucin’ on you.” In “Feeling Myself,” Nicki Minaj spits, “Let me get a number two with some Mac sauce.” Rapper Gucci Mane once said, “If a man does not have the sauce, then he is lost. But the same man can be lost in the sauce.”
Upcoming 16-year-old rapper Marteen recently released a single with a refreshingly literal take on “the sauce”: “Sriracha.”
There was some negative hype surrounding this single in our reporting room before anyone even knew who would write its review; it arrived in our advisor’s email, and before the song even got a fair chance, it was labelled as trash because of its premise. The reporter who got this story was to be pitied.
Eventually, my online article deadline rolled around, and I stole this article idea from a fellow reporter. Those were trying times. However, I could not write it. I sat down to write, and every time, my mind went blank. Writing a meaningful piece about a rap song is almost as hard as spelling the word “sriracha.”
Listening to this song is not nearly as hard as writing about it. “Sriracha” is insidiously catchy. It seeps into every membrane of your body at an alarming speed; somehow I have learned all of the words, even the small “hypeman” words like “wow” and “that sriracha.”
“Sriracha” is accompanied by a piano part, which is common for rap songs. Many Fetty Wap songs contain a piano sample. The difference, however, is that Marteen actually wrote the piano part for this song. The passage for piano is surprisingly coherent, containing a multitude of jazzy chords and a tiny chromatic sequence. In the music video, Marteen is shown playing the piano; I have no idea whether it is possible to fake playing the piano or not, but either way, it makes Marteen’s performance and talent that much more impressive and surprising.
Marteen’s voice has a monotonous, hypnotizing quality that could rival only that of an Advanced Placement teacher during the first hour of a school day; after a few loops, you hardly notice that the song is still playing.
Despite this minor pitfall, “Sriracha” is still surprisingly easy to listen to. Even if it seems meaningless and shallow at first, some joy is still found in its shoulder-raising beat and hilarious lyrics. It is hard not to do some type of dance with the type of beat that Marteen himself composed for this song; it is both modern and musical at the same time. Somehow, he combined the coursing, steady beat of Broadway style piano chords with a nice, typical beat.
If I learned one thing from Marteen’s “Sriracha,” it is that music does not have to be completely serious or deal with a meaningful topic in order to be valuable or musically viable. Sometimes, looking for a good time in your music rather than the meaning to life or musical complexity is enough. In the words of Ingrid Michaelson, “Let’s not make it harder than it has to be.”