A&R Rep Kolby Turnher’s “Scam Rap” Playlist
From infamous grifters like Anna Delvey to the explosive Fyre Fest debacle, to election and identity fraud, we’re living in an age of scam—and for every age, there’s an art movement. Creative director, A&R rep, and industry pro Kolby Turnher tells us about the rise and appeal of the “scam rap” genre, and shares a playlist of 40 tracks that epitomize it, with songs by Cash Kidd, Coco Vango, Desiigner, and more.
“Scam rap started within Detroit a few years ago, with artists and groups like the BandGang, City Girls, ShittyBoyz, people like Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti… a lot of the, you know, ‘SoundCloud artists’ got their initial careers started based off of money they made scamming or with scammers, running scam plays with their little crew. A lot of them went to jail for scamming, and a lot of them are known for having scam bars and popularizing them in their raps.
They’re talking about identity theft, different bank scams, money scams, online scams, stuff like that; they have so many different methods, which is what makes the music so interesting. If they’re even rapping about it in-depth and in detail, nine times out of ten, the methods they mention are already burnt out and don’t really work anymore, or if they do still work, it’s for petty money. The kids who are really getting knocked down for scamming and getting arrested, it’s usually for really obnoxious amounts of money.
It’s not necessarily glorifying it so much as telling you the paranoia behind it, the comedy behind it—and sometimes about mainstream perceptions of the underground society they live in. Like, for instance, Teejayx6 referenced how he got lost on the dark web, landed in a red room, and saw a girl kill herself. That’s really dark comedy. The average music listener isn’t going to get it, but a millennial, or someone who is a little more meta, a little more internet-weird, will. Although it’s dark, it’s gonna make them laugh.
Once you get deeper to the root of the genre, there is a specific sound, but I would definitely say scam rap is more characterized by the lifestyle and the lyrics, because that’s how a lot of these kids are making money now in urban communities (and even suburban communities), as opposed to the ’90s or early 2000s, where everything was robberies and drug money, and so on and so forth. Now, it’s almost like, the more nerdy you are, the more people are going to want to be cool with you, because they’re gonna think you know how to scam. It’s a sign of the times, I guess. It’s where we are in culture right now.”