Pitchfork's review of Bobby Sessions' "Like Me"
Bobby Sessions’ “Like Me” is a wrathful, compelling rap drama about the ongoing distress of being black in America, predating the nation’s birth. The song follows the tendrils of systematic oppression back to their root: the transatlantic slave trade, its auction blocks, and plantation fields. As the Dallas rapper traces the through line of black struggle, with his visceral scene-setting and storytelling, Sessions reveals himself to be both a thoughtful and forceful MC.
On “Like Me,” Sessions’ flow is rage-fueled and breathless, forcing some ideas out in fragments. “Need an angel/Dream the day of free escape and leave the cages,” he raps, before reenacting an attempted getaway. The beat buzzes and the drums patter, as if to replicate the urgency of shuffling feet retreating into darkness for a chance at life. He gasps like he’s the one being chased, as it gradually becomes harder to tell if he’s remembering slaves running from their masters to freedom or envisioning suspects fleeing from the cops to escape a life in bondage. The parallels are almost painfully obvious, and he draws them with great finesse. His second verse more bluntly unpacks the ramifications of generations of black bodies being bought and sold and handled as property—the physical, psychological, and economic toll taken, how plantations begat trap houses. In the banner photo on his SoundCloud page, Sessions wears a hoodie that simply reads “Legalize Being Black.” On “Like Me,” he forces the issue.
Dallas rapper Bobby Sessions, Paul Rosenberg's first official signing as the CEO of Def Jam, has unleashed “Like Me,” a gutting new single—his first on the label—that will make your jaw drop and your head nod.
Opening with an airtight and focused flow, Sessions’ clinical precision on the mic is offset by the camp of his inflections—call it laughing off the pain. Over a whining bass line, the single embodies everything we love about hip-hop: punchy, poignant, political, and powerful.
Bobby Sessions doesn’t let things get heavy-handed. The hook is simple—all the right words in all the right places—and plays like the foul end of an acid trip. “Things don’t look good if you look like me, like me, like me,” Sessions croons until his voice descends to a demonic pitch. His scathing howl finally reaches a reprieve once his voice cracks and a mellow synth lead replaces the static cacophony.
“Like Me” is Sessions’ first single under the Def Jam banner, one that will set him up for a potentially prolific tenure.
Bobby Sessions is here to spread a message with his music, even if he loses his voice in the process. The Dallas-hailing rapper recently inked a deal with Def Jam Recordings and has shared his first official single under the label, "Like Me."
Over a beat from Dallas-based producer Sikwitit, Sessions confronts racism with a captivating flow that's both acrimonious and awe-inspiring. Sessions' spitfire delivery relates systematic inequalities black people in America face to the lineage of slavery.
DIRECTED BY TRAMAINE TOWNSEND