In Yoshi Flower’s world, an admission of wrongdoing is as good as an apology.
Yoshi Flower is broken, damaged, diseased. He needs you, female object of his affection, to fix him. He’ll give you diamonds and money if you put up with his shit. If you can’t, he’ll probably turn it on you and say something like “I thought I told you I was reckless,” which is how the Interscope recording artist opens his new release Peer Pleasure. In Yoshi Flower’s world, an admission of wrongdoing is as good as an apology, exempting him from any need to improve and exempting his girl from the right to complain about it.
“I’m sorry if I’m sounding psycho, I’m just trying to be honest,” he ends that same track. To Flower, honesty alone is virtuous enough to exempt anything he could possibly say, and honesty is the house on which he builds his brand. Flower follows in the footsteps of rappers like Lil Uzi Vert, Trippie Redd, XXXTentacion, and especially the late Lil Peep in pairing trap with the angst and aesthetics of mid-‘00s pop-punk and emo. He has problems, which make him “real,” and which puts him at odds with “perfection“ and “beauty”—things he distrusts, resents, and envies.
The problem is we don’t really find out what his problems are. There’s no discernable underlying source to his anguish. Maybe he’s depressed, though nothing suggests that aside from the constant malaise. Maybe he’s a drug addict, though that’s unlikely given that he tries to make coffee sound like the most badass drug ever by calling it “muddy in my veins.” He doesn’t really tell us how he feels except in the context of his disagreements with people trying to hold him accountable, and his elusive feelings mostly exist as ammunition for his non-apologies.
“I’ve got so much to give,” he repeats at the beginning of “love,” and by that time in Peer Pleasure, the line comes as a relief. So what does this guy have to give? “All this money to spend”—shoulda guessed. Flower, who lets clouds of smoke issue past his gold grills in promotional shots, is always talking about his money, his gold, his diamonds. This gives him both rap swagger and something to essentially bribe girls with so they’ll stick around and listen to him lash out.
Flower, who’s described himself as a mix of Deepak Chopra and Lil Pump, talks a lot in interviews about meditation. This seems odd given that five minutes of introspection should be enough for the dude to figure out the source of his problems. He has nothing to offer (except money), but his emotional hunger is ravenous. To be his girlfriend is to be a martyr; “you’re my favorite exit,” he sings to one.
“I hate the things that I can’t change,” he sings on “Space.” We hardly believe that. He treats his shittiness as something inseparable from himself, an essential part of his personality, something you have to either take or leave, and of course he thinks that makes him noble. He’s like Peter Lorre in M, wheedling about his superiority to the other criminals because… these feelings! I just can’t control them! “I never learn,” he sings on “empty.” It’s just as well. If he did, what would he write about?