D.C.'s Fat Trel is an archetypal, if not typical, rough-edged East Coast rapper. It's an archetype that hasn't really mattered for a long time now, mostly because these sorts of rappers have never adjusted to a changing pop marketplace that seems to have forgotten that it once often let Freeway on the radio. Hungry underground rappers are rarely if ever deterred though, and sometimes that drive for pop success works out well for both the artist and the listener (Meek Mill riding Rick Ross' wave), and other times it doesn't (any East Coast rapper with an ill-fitting T-Pain, or now Roscoe Dash, collaboration).
Fat Trel has a solid fanbase in the D.C. area, but "Rolling" is presumably his play at a nationwide audience, one whose notions of rap, pop, and dance music have long since blurred. The song takes on the dance-rap epitomized by "Like a G6", a hybrid of electro and hipster rap so grossly popular that it could have originated only in Los Angeles. With its dull, ping-ponging synths and deadpanned female vocal, Fat Trel's approximation of the sound is pitch-perfect, but rather than acting as a facsimile, the beat serves as a frame for something individual. For one, the production packs more than it initially lets on: There's a sense of space that nods to hyphy and snap music, and when martial synth horns come in for the verses the song becomes more Rick Rock than Cataracts. Most importantly though, Trel's raps are more vivid than this kind of thing usually requires, as he boomerangs between doing ecstasy in a club ("when I'm on three I could drink the whole ocean"), shopping with a girl in D.C. (while on ecstasy), and taking his talents to South Beach to, well, do ecstasy with Gunplay. "Rolling" is a song that truly shouldn't work, and yet it's one of the best pop-rap songs of the year. It probably won't matter in the grand scheme, but that does nothing to blunt the fun. - via pitchfork