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
Ca$his is a Chicago born/Irving, California raised rapper who first gained prominence as a member of The Renegadez. They sent a demo tape to Shady Records & Interscope in Early 2006 in hopes of getting signed. However, the labels ended up signing Ca$his as a solo act. He would then be introduced to wider audiences by appearing on 6 tracks off of Shady’s Re-Up compilation & now he’s releasing an 8 track EP to promote his full-length debut. After the opening 55 second skit where Ca$his is talking to a drug dealer, we are then treated to the EP’s first song “That Nigga a Gangsta”. Here, Ca$his is getting braggadocious over a menacing instrumental from his longtime collaborator/high school friend Rikinatti. The next track “Gun Rule” talks about being strapped & the production from Ca$his’ mentor Eminem is just EXPLOSIVE! The song “Ms. Jenkins” is a vividly told story of Ca$his murdering someone over a somber Eminem instrumental & the “Bohemian Rhapsody” sample he uses is perfect. The track “Just Like Me” is a sincere dedication to his kids & the Rikinatti beat enhances the overall emotion of it very well. The song “Pistol Poppin’” is yet another menacing gun tune but this time, we also get the EP’s sole feature from Eminem & his verse doesn’t disappoint. The track “Thoughts of Suicide” is similar to the classic Biggie track “Suicidal Thoughts” or even “Kurt Kobain” by D12 member Proof, who was unfortunately murdered the year before the release of this EP. As Ca$his is venting about his suicidal thoughts over a gloomy instrumental from Ron Browz. The bonus track “Lac Motion” is the last in the track listing & given the title, it’s about cruisin’ down the street in a Cadillac over a smooth instrumental from Eminem. Despite this being Ca$his’ only release with Shady/Interscope, I think it would also be his best. I understand how some would find the gangsta content to be derivative, but he sounds authentic about it & also hungry as Hell. And on top of that, the gritty production suits these rhymes fantastically
Almost a year after the release of his major label debut Radioctive: Amazing & Mystifying Chemical Tricks, Alabama rapper & Shady Records signee Yelawolf is now releasing his 3rd EP & he has enlisted legendary blink-182 drummer Travis Barker to produce it in it’s entirety. The EP opens with “Push ‘Em”, where Catfish Billy is energetically rapping about getting crazy over some super fast drums to give you that feeling. The next track “6 Feet Underground” talks about brawling, but the instrumental has a weird reggae feeling to it that doesn’t match the gritty descriptions & the Tim Armstrong hook doesn’t add much to the equation other than the shouts. The song “Funky Shit” picks back up as Yelawolf’s rapid delivery is fantastic, but the electronic-tinged instrumental was just ok. The penultimate track “Whistle Dixie” has some crazy rhyme schemes over some drums that’re going off like machine guns & the whistling during the hook fits in perfectly as do the eerie bells. The closer “Director’s Cut (Michael Myers & Superman)” kinda reminds me of the song “Kim” by Yelawolf’s mentor Eminem, as it vividly describes Catfish Billy murdering his girlfriend & the man she’s cheating on him with over a haunting rap rock instrumental. However, it works very well. While that Slumdon Bridge EP that Yelawolf did with Ed Sheeran several months prior was just ok, this was much better. Primarily because I see an actual chemistry between Yelawolf’s rapping & Travis Barker’s production aside from a couple duds. Hopefully we’ll get a follow-up at some point in the future
Almost 8 months after releasing his 6th mixtape Trunk Muzik Returns, Alabama rapper & Shady Records signee Yelawolf is now releasing his 4th EP & he has enlisted DJ Paul of 3 6 Mafia fame to produce it in it’s entirety. The EP opens with “Get Straight”, which has an hard hitting trap beat & not only are Catfish Billy’s rhyme schemes just batshit insane, but the yelled hook makes you wanna sock someone in the face. The track “Mastermind” talks about being just that & the Pink Floyd sample that Paul uses gives it a super creepy atmosphere. The song “Bowties” with former Slumerican now Strange Music signee Rittz talking about Chevys over another dark yet abrasive instrumental complete with a sample of the classic Metallica song “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. The penultimate track “Party Prophet” if you couldn’t tell is a club banger & this is actually the only song on the entire EP where Paul spits a verse. Needless to say, it was a great fit. The EP closes out with Light Switch, which describes Alabaman life from his perspective over a rap rock/trap fused instrumental. Honestly, I think this is one of Yelawolf’s best releases. His delivery is super energetic on every single song & DJ Paul’s dark abrasive instrumentals compliments these energetic performances fantastically