Bfb Da Packman has his legs planted wide and his chest all the way out, and he lifts a mop like it’s a dumbbell. He’s wearing flip-flops with socks, blue shorts covered in turtles, and a crewneck sweatshirt emblazoned with the phrase “HIV POSITIVE.” He’s running around the exterior of a low-rise apartment-building complex, dancing with a little kid who he finds out there. He does everything in his power to look ridiculous, and yet the video itself is nowhere near as crazy as the song that it soundtracks.
Over a bouncy piano beat, Bfb Da Packman’s erratic flow suddenly gets loud: “All my fans pray for me, I’m kinda crazy in the head!/ And I done fucked a couple bitches with they baby in the bed!” Packman talks about having anal sex while listening to Vince Staples. He brags that his mom found his gun and that he bought another one. And he makes a confession: “I talked to Drake on the phone, he couldn’t sign me/ He said I’m too damn fat and too damn childish.” He’s joking. Probably.
Like a lot of people, I caught on to Bfb Da Packman because of “Free Joe Exotic,” his insane masterpiece of a Sada Baby collaboration. The “Free Joe Exotic” video went up online about a month ago, and it immediately went crazy. I clicked on the video because of Sada Baby, quite possibly the best rapper in the world right now. If Sada Baby is on a song with anyone, I’ll watch the video. Usually, Sada absolutely blows them off the track. “Free Joe Exotic” might be the first time I’ve ever seen Sada Baby get upstaged. Sada Baby goes hard on “Free Joe Exotic,” but the sheer delightful spectacle of Bfb Da Packman overwhelms him.
Here we have this bowling ball-shaped motherfucker in nerd glasses and a bright orange “STILL HIV POSITIVE” hoodie rolling around on the ground, doing an absurd belly-exposed lean-backwards arm-dangle dance, pretending to fuck a car. Almost all of his bars are self-deprecating jokes: “I hate to eat fruit, my diet bad so she hate to swallow/ I’m really fucked up, they put gin in my baby bottle.” “I’m super healthy, mixing syrup with the Jamba Juice/ You ever got head from a fiend that was snaggletooth?” “She said she can feel it in her stomach, stop capping/ Ol’ lying ass bitch, my dick ain’t that big.” I had to know who this guy was.
Bfb Da Packman, it turns out, is a Flint, Michigan native who lives in Houston and who has a day job as a mailman. (He had to get a guest-feature discount from Sada Baby so that he could afford to make “Free Joe Exotic.”) Packman has been doing this for a while, putting up videos since 2014. He released two mixtapes last year. “Free Joe Exotic,” which now has eight million views on YouTube, is his breakout hit. But Packman also has a bunch of other videos with views in the six and seven figures, though that might have something to do with all the people like me who went digging on his YouTube page after hearing “Free Joe Exotic.” A whole lot of those videos are great.
I’ve seen a lot of people compare Packman to the Fat Boys, the original fat-guy rap jokers — a comparison that mostly works because it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a rapper quite this willing to make himself the butt of his own punchlines. Packman’s a no-shit great rapper. He’s a clear product of the Michigan underground, with a hard-splattering delivery and a wild, unstable energy. Even in between jokes, he’ll sometimes let loose with a stinging emotional truth: “My daddy mad I said he smoke crack in one of my songs/ Man, I don’t give a fuck, you let another n***a raise your son.” If he ever abandoned the jokes completely, he’d still be worth your attention.
But the jokes are what set Packman apart. His lines are endlessly quotable: “Screenshotting DMs just for clout, selling rabbit food in a drought,” “From the windowwwww! To the wall!/ Fuck Trump, I pledge allegiance to my balls,” “I sell a ho a wish, I hope she find a well/ Bitch say I ate her ass? She ate mine as well.” He works with the director Oshotyoufilmz on all his videos, and he shoots them in drive-thru lanes, pizza joints, mall food courts. He dances around with traffic cones on his head, or sticks traffic cones out between his legs like they’re dicks.
Last week, Packman teamed up with the Houston rapper Dice Soho on “Made Me Mad,” his first new song since “Free Joe Exotic” made him online-famous. He hasn’t changed yet: “I bought these clothes from Wal-Mart, is they really fly?/ Saw Boosie arguing with Webbie, and it made me cry/ She said I had the best dick, did she tell me lies?/ My kids kinda ugly — had to ask her, is they really mine?” In the video, he eats a French fry off a sidewalk.
The energy around those Packman videos reminds me of DaBaby at the beginning of last year — another viral-video goofball with serious and obvious rap chops and a gift for not taking shit too seriously. That role worked out pretty well for DaBaby. In a YouTube interview earlier this month, in between telling his kids to be quiet, Packman mentioned something coming soon with DaBaby. I can’t really picture Packman becoming a world-conquering star like DaBaby. But I can’t really picture him keeping that mailman job forever, either. Maybe Drake should rethink that whole hypothetical can’t-sign-Packman thing.
1. Oddisee – “No Skips” (Feat. Ralph Real)
Sometimes, I like to pretend that I don’t like old-school comfort-food rap. Then I hear Oddisee, and I remember that I only don’t like old-school comfort-food rap when it doesn’t have any depth or personality. That’s not a problem for Oddisee, who is still making deliriously pleasant Pete Rock head-nodders in 2020.
2. Sada Baby – “Kourtside” (Feat. Lil Yachty)
As a person, Sada Baby is probably a terrible influence on Lil Yachty. As a rapper, though, Sada brings out the absolute best in Yachty. The churning piano on this beat is amazing, and I just absolutely lose it when Sada namechecks Kevin Costner.
3. Shoreline Mafia – “Perc Popper”
The members of Shoreline Mafia are all in their twenties, but the way they use handclaps is pure 1988. Right now, nobody rides handclaps better.
4. Moneybagg Yo – “Protect Da Brand” (Feat. DaBaby)
It feels like it’s been a minute since we’ve heard DaBaby jump on a beat this weird. He still knows what he’s doing. Moneybagg Yo has a casually in-control charisma that I really like, and it’s only growing stronger over time.
5. BandGang Paid Will – “Locked In” (Feat. ALLBLACK)
The age-old connection between the Detroit and Bay Area undergrounds is one of my favorite things in rap music. May it live forever.