If it wasn’t enough that Future dropped his self-titled album & HNDRXX earlier this year along with Young Thug dropping Beautiful Thugger Girls mixtape back in June, the 2 Atlanta trap superstars are now coming together with a surprise collaborative mixtape. The opener “No Cap” sees Future & Thugger getting braggadocious over an eerie beat from 808 Mafia co-founder Southside & then on the next track “3”, they channel their inner pimp over a futuristic-ish (no pun intended) trap instrumental from DY. The song “All da Smoke” is a party anthem with a fitting cloudy trap instrumental & the track “200” is yet another braggadocious tune, but this time with more of an atmospheric trap instrumental from Tre Pounds & Wheezy. The track “Cruise Ship” is a Thugger solo cut & I love how insanely energetic he sounds over this dreamy trap instrumental.
The song “Patek Water” is basically Young Thug & Offset rapping about not wanting to go back to being broke & not only was I disappointed that Future only did the hook on here, but Offset’s line near the end about “her sucking on semen” made me cringe a little bit. However, Future makes up for it by having the track “Feed Me Dope” to himself as he raps over a sinister instrumental. The song “Drip on Me” sees Future & Thugger linking back up once more to get mafioso over a wavy instrumental & then the track “Real Love” is an spacey sex tune with Future sounding more slick to set the vibe in contrast to Thugger sounding hype. The track “4 da Gang” is another Future solo cut, but with him talking about how nothing’s changed & repping his Freebandz crew over another cloudy beat from Fuse.
The song “Killed Before” is another Thugger solo cut & despite the verses being decent, I really love how he got London on da Track to bring back that country rap vibe from Beautiful Thugger Girls. The penultimate track “Mink Flow” gets back to the braggadocio bars over a hard beat from Mike WiLL Made-It & with the closer “Group Home” venting about their break-ups, Future’s verse is more sad & Thugger’s is more fittingly hostile considering the fact that he broke off his engagement with his ex-fiancée Jerrika Karlae recently.
Modern trap fans would dream of someone as unique as Future doing a collab project with someone as versatile as Young Thug & in the end, I think this is better than the Drake & Future collab mixtape What a Time to Be Alive that they did back in 2015. Sure it’s not super lyrical, but I see that Future has a more natural chemistry with Thugger then he did with Drake. On top of that, the production is almost as lively & the deliveries are just wild
To commemorate the 10 year anniversary of their classic debut Below the Heavens: In Hell Happy with Your New Imaginary Friend, Blu & Exile are returning with their 3rd full-length album & it happens to be a prequel to that debut. The opener “Soul Provider” gets braggadocious & Exile’s production enhances the happiness of Blu finally making it. The next track “Another Day” vividly talks about a day in the hood over a lush boom bap instrumental while the song “Constellations” gratefully speaks on success & the hook on there is just as beautiful. The track “All These Ladies” talks about gold diggers over a funky yet smooth instrumental & the song “Party for 2” gets romantic over a jazzy instrumental.
The track “Back to Basics” tells the listener what he’s gonna do for the culture & gets vividly reflective over a laid-back instrumental. The track “On the Radio” vents about wack shit getting mad radio play over a hard boom bap instrumental & his hook is super catchy. The song “You’re Gonna Die Someday” gets vents about the current state of over a soulful instrumental that actually has an amazing J Dilla vibe to it. The track “Life’s a Gamble has some decent verses from Blu & the 3 artists that’re featured & I love how the beat starts off with some spacey synths & a fitting Marvin Gaye sample during the first half, but the switches up during of the second half was unnecessary to me. The song “Things we Say” with Emanon sees Blu & Aloe Blacc both rapping about the stuff they say hypothetically coming to life over a soulful piano boom beat.
The track “Hot for Y’all” has a joyous instrumental & for some reason unlike “Life’s a Gamble”, I think Blu & Donell Smokes compliment each other very well on here. The song “Hard Workers” with Blame 1 gets insightful (especially the latter) over a funky boom bap instrumental & the scratch hook hits the nail on the head. The penultimate track “Sold the Soul” has a nice smooth boom bap beat, but I was Blu was actually rapping over it rather than just talking & then later singing on it. The album closes out with “Stress Off the Chest”, where Blu’s talking about keeping his head up despite the bullshit around him over a nice Latin sample.
This definitely feels like a Below the Heavens b-sides compilation with some of the tracks already being previously released, but it’s a well put together thank you to the fans for supporting them for the past decade
A little over a year after the release of his last album Top of the Line, Georgia rapper Rittz is releasing his 4th full-length album & his last with Strange Music. The album opens with “Middle of Nowhere”, where Rittz is talking about on how far he’s came over an ambitious sounding instrumental from 7. The next song “Press Rewind” sees him reflecting on his rough adolescence from getting in trouble at school to his father’s abuse towards him over a gloomy instrumental. The track “Indestructible” is an uplifting anthem about staying strong no matter what & the hook also does a great job of giving that vibe as does the instrumental. The song “Down for Mine” speaks on being just that & the rap rock instrumental from M. Stacks will make you get down to party.
The track “Shootin’ Star” gets charismatically braggadocious over a mellow instrumental & the Peso Piddy produced “Dork Rap” is an unapologetically abrasive shot at all the dork rappers out there (hence the title) along with bringing the hardcore back. The track “Crash & Burn” tells the story of his friend & his ex-girl having a kid over a wavy instrumental & the way he tells it is so vivid. The song “Reality Check” talks about getting your life together over a nice country/rap instrumental & the track “Different Breed” tells the haters that he’s like no other over a twangy guitar/trap beat from Matic Lee.
The song “Illumination” is another empowerment joint over a futuristic sounding instrumental & the auto-tune on here is an awesome throwback to the late great Roger Troutman. The track “Into the Sky” is another braggadocious tune & the bass on this thing is absolutely perfect for your whip. The song “Fuck Cancer” is a diss track towards cancer & the way he uses his experiences from seeing his wife’s friend & one of his closest friends successfully beating it was very personal. The track “Lose My Cool” starts with some nice piano keys & DJ scratches, but then some hard drums are incorporated as he’s delivering his frustrated bars. The song “So Long” is an endearing eulogy to a friend who had committed suicide along with another who was murdered & to his own grandpa over a somber instrumental from The Avengerz. The track “Victory Lap” is basically his farewell to Strange over a smooth instrumental & the standard edition closer “I’m Only Human” talks about all of his mistakes over a airy trap instrumental & the strings at the beginning & end are gorgeous.
The first bonus track “Live & You Learn” is about just that & the keyboard instrumental from Mista KA reminds me A LOT of Scott Storch. The next one “Win” with Hitman Shawty & Kane sees the 3 rapping about success over a laid-back instrumental from 7 & while Hitman Shawty & Kane are the only 2 featured MCs on here, their verses were just ok to me. The 3rd bonus track “Good Life” talks about living good over an intergalactic sounding instrumental & then the 4th one “Side Note” is about the current state of hip hop a bunch of creative name-dropping over a southern-tinged beat. The penultimate bonus track “Spiraling Outta Control” then vents about his deer of the world ending (especially with Donald Trump as our current president), but the beat is pretty uncharacteristic. The album then closes out with “Happy Ending”, which is Rittz ambitiously talking about his hopes of maintaining success despite leaving Strange Music.
Given the title, Rittz is walking away from Strange with his greatest work yet. The production is on point, the lyrics are passionate & the lack of features is very refreshing as well. Can’t wait to see what he’s gonna do in the future
After a 2 month push-back, Atlanta trapper/singer Young Thug is finally releasing his Drake-executive produced 13th mixtape. The tape opens with “Family Don’t Matter”, where he’s talking about his homies over a beautiful country/trap instrumental. The next song “Tomorrow ’till Infinity” is about Thugger wanting to spend the rest of his life with his fiancé Jerrika Karlae & the production on here is just THUNDEROUS! The track “She Wanna Party” if you couldn’t tell is about a wild party chick over a smooth ass instrumental. The song “Daddy’s Birthday” gets braggadocious over a mellow instrumental from longtime collaborator London on da Track & surprisingly Scott Storch.
The track “Do You Love Me?” is another song about Jerrika & while it kinda reminds me of “LOVE.” off of Kendrick Lamar’s latest album DAMN. (especially during the hook), I thought the one line on here like about “busting in her hair Milky Way” was funny as fuck. The song “Relationship” is a duet with Future & I love how they trade back & forth about treating their ladies right over a joyous trap instrumental. The track “You Said” with Quavo sees the 2 talking about their relationships with Jerrika & Quavo’s side-chick over a Latin guitar-tinged trap instrumental, but I didn’t think it had to be 7 minutes long. The song ”On Fire” has a dreamy instrumental & lyrically, Thugger is asking Jerrika for a threesome but in a hilarious fashion. The track “Get High” is a nice down-tuned piano party anthem & while I wasn’t crazy about the Lil Durk verse, the Snoop Doggverse is perfect for this considering the fact that he’s one of hip hop’s biggest stoners.
The song “Feel It” melodically raps about having sex over a just as intoxicating instrumental & despite not being crazy on the songwriting with the track ”Me or Us”, the way he sings over an acoustic guitar & some heavy bass is just beautiful. The song “Oh Yeah” gets introspective about being a father & a future husband over a spacey instrumental. The penultimate track ”For Y’all” expresses his gratitude for his success over an acoustic guitar with some triumphant horns during the hook & the closer “Take Care” beautifully speaks on posing to Jerrika over a surprising almost-electronic instrumental.
Despite me never being huge on Young Thug, I think this was just as great or maybe even better than his last mixtape Jeffery. Primarily because it’s a prime example of how versatile Thugger really is, despite him being a polarizing figure in recent years
When it seemed like 2014’s A Better Tomorrow would be the almighty Wu-Tang Clan’s final group album, they’re now returning with their 7th official full-length album (excluding the single-copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin) & they have enlisted Wu-Elements member Mathematics to produce it in it’s entirety. After a 91 second instrumental intro with a spoken word sample & then an actual spoken monologue from the Clan’s de facto leader RZA, we are then treated to the album’s first song “Lesson Learn’d”. Here, Inspectah Deck teams up with Redman to remind you that they never play around over a hard hitting boom bap instrumental & I also didn’t mind Deck’s jab at the Once Upon a Time in Shaolin purchaser Martin Shkreli near the end of his verse, given that he’s an evil culture vulture. The track “Fast & Furious” is pretty much Raekwon & Hue Hef getting mafioso over a menacing instrumental & while Hue was just ok, Rae definitely made up for it. After a short instrumental interlude that takes it back the group’s early days with a Kung Fu sample, we are then lead into the next song If Time’s Money (Fly Navigation). It’s pretty much a Method Man solo cut, but he makes up for his last album The Meth Lab by hopping on an instrumental you can really kick back to & spitting a long yet charismatic verse.
The track “Frozen” may have a lazy hook as it recycles a couple Rae & Ghostface Killah lines from “4 Horsemen”, but the verses from Meth about pushing the limit as well as the vivid storytelling from Killah Priest & the lethally angry Chris Rivers make up for it some keys along with a bass guitar & a regular guitar. After a 45 second skit with a soulful instrumental in the background, we then get into the next song “Pearl Harbor”. Here, the late Sean Price gets with Meth & RZA to confrontationally spit bars like being the greatest & telling your crew to wear shorts with an image of you on it over some gritty horns as well as some keys & an organ. I also love how RZA brings back his Bobby Digital alter ego during his verse & the one line he makes midway through his part about how he can turn Lady Gaga heterosexual again was pretty hilarious. The track “People Say” sees Deck, Meth, Rae & Masta Killa linking back up with Redman alongside to get braggadocious over a very soulful boom bap beat. “Family” is a 1 minute skit containing a sample of a mother talking about family (hence the title) & the next song “Why Why Why” is basically a conscious RZA solo cut over some funky bass & some decently sung vocals from Swnkah.
The track “G’d Up” is basically Meth & R-Mean talking about being just that & the beat is pretty luscious, but the Mzee Jones hook sounds like a cut-rate T-Pain. The song “If What You Say Is True” sees Cappadonna along with GZA & Masta Killa getting with Streetlife to spit some abrasive battle rhymes over some sinister horns. The “skit” Saga is less of a skit & more of RZA spitting about haters not wanting the Clan grow & even a cool reference to the Flint water crisis over some beautiful strings. The 91 second “Hood Go Bang!” has a decent Redman hook, but then lone verse that Method Man delivers nearly has the same rhyme scheme throughout that it’s crazy. The final song in the track listing is “My Only One”, where Cappa along with The Abbott & Tony Starks rap about their boos over a grimy instrumental. The next 2 tracks are just a 2 minute interlude with a funky instrumental & long spoken word sample & then a 45 second monologued outro from the RZA over the same instrumental as the one in the intro.
At the end of the day, this was a lot more consistent than the last few group albums. It feels more like a compilation considering the fact that there’s only 1 or 2 group members on a number of tracks & U-God not being on it at all, but everyone including almost all the features go & Mathematics probably made it the Clan’s most well produced album since The W
When it was announced in January that indie hip hop icon Tech N9ne was releasing 2 Collabos albums this year & his next solo album being in 2018, I didn’t really mind it at all. However, I found the first one of the year Dominion that dropped back in early April to be average at best due to feeling like his Strangeulation duology due to the entire Strange Music roster being the sole features & having the label’s in-house producer 7 produce in it’s entirety. And while that is being repeated on this new Collabos album here, I think Strange Music is one of the best indie hip hop labels of all-time & that’s why I’m still giving it a shot.
The album opens with “Cold Piece of Work”, in which a 30 second snippet of closed out Dominion. Here, Tech teams up with JL alongside Strange Music’s 2 newest signees Jay Trilogy & Joey Cool to compare their flows to cocaine over a creepy trap beat. The next song “Minimize” with Stevie Stone & Krizz Kaliko is a jab at all the shit-talkers & the production is absolutely HAUNTING! The track “Let’s Go” with Big Scoob & Darrein Safron spits that g shit over a hard hitting instrumental, but Darrein’s rapper verse isn’t as obnoxious like his usual singing voice that’s blatantly bitten off of Chris Brown. The song “Happen” is pretty much Tech by himself talking about how the label stays working & not only is the instrumental super funky, but Tech’s signature chopper-style delivery is insane too. The track “Dangerous” with AboveWaves is a beautiful romance tune, as frontman Ryan Bradley & Tech N9ne are telling their significant others about how deadly their love is & the instrumental is dreamy yet gorgeous.
The song “Stick It In” sees Tech getting braggadocious over a demonic instrumental & the Krizz Kaliko hook is great as well. The last 2 tracks in the standard edition “These Hands” with Prozak, Wrekonize & Mackenzie Nicole as well as the Bad JuJu preview seem very similar to how Dominion’s standard edition ended. “These Hands” like a sequel to “Jesus & a Pill” off the last Collabos album as it contains spiritual lyrics & an explosive rap metal instrumental while the Bad JuJu preview is a 30 second snippet of a song with King-ISO that‘s more than likely gonna pop up on Tech N9ne’s next solo album Planet. I’m not gonna get too deep into the bonus tracks as almost all of them sound like they’re gonna be on upcoming albums, but I do wanna talk about the 2nd one “Off My Square” with ¡MAYDAY! & Rittz. It’s the only one out of the 5 bonus tracks where Tech N9ne appears on, but I do enjoy it as they tell you that they can’t be to fucked with over some funky bass along with some explosive drums & a psychedelic-esque guitar.
While I did have some concerns given that the last Collabos album was just ok, but I’m glad that this new album put them to rest because it overall sounds more well-put together Dominion from removing the needless interview skits to the step-upped performances
Just the day after denying the rumors of singing to Kanye West’s GOOD Music, Atlantan trap trio Migos ending the first month of 2017 by delivering their sophomore full-length album. The title track kicks the album off & the spacey instrumental from 808 Mafia members Tre Pounds & DY is really great, but the DJ Khaled intro makes it feel like an outdated leftover from his latest album Major 🔑. The next song “T-Shirt” is a charismatic braggadocious tune with a menacing instrumental Nard & B and the Quavo hook on here is just INFECTIOUS! The track “Call Casting” talks about cocaine over a bass-heavy piano beat & as for the next song “Bad & Boujee”, it’s not hard to see why this is their biggest hit yet. Sure Lil Uzi Vert fills in for Takeoff, but it’s a really fun track in every aspect from the energetic deliveries to Metro Boomin’s production. The track “Get Right Witcha” talks about how the trio has been too busy working & not only is it catchy, but I also really love the flute that Murda Beatz incorporates into his thunderous production. The song “Slippery” with talks about the lavish life over some wailing synths with some heavy bass & the Gucci Mane verse on here couldn’t have been any more perfect. The track “Big on Big” is a reflection of Migos’ overall success within the past few years & the orchestral string sections that Zaytoven incorporates into the instrumental are just gorgeous. The song “What’s the Price?” has some piano chords in the background that sound like it was buried in the mix & honestly, I think Takeoff’s verse about finding a better route & not being heard out was really sincere. The track “Brown Paper Bag” talks about flexing albeit boringly & the Zaytoven instrumental sounding like it was originally made for Gucci. The song “Deadz” talks about counting money & despite the 2 Chainz feature being short but sweet, the Cardo production sounds like pure evil. The track “All Ass” is a fun tune for the ladies, but [Offset]’s line about a stripper “looking like a Kardashian” did make me cringe a bit. The song “[Kelly Price]” with [Travi$ Scott] is pretty much about them partying with a significant other & the instrumental has a super eerie atmosphere to it. The closer “Out the Way” was such a disappointing finish to the album, as it’s pretty much an “All Ass 2”. I’ve never been a fan of Migos, but I’m not gonna lie when I say this was alright. There are definitely some lackluster moments, but sounds more well produced & they come off a lot less obnoxious & more energetic than usual. Especially Quavo, whom I personally find to be the most animated & charismatic member of the trio. If you weren’t big on these guys & you wanna give them another shot, then give this a listen because it might be their most well groomed effort yet