Song Review-Richer Dad by Sonnie Carson produced by DR Period
When I first heard the mixtape Most Likely to Succeed I started telling everyone about it. Carson has an old school NY tough guy DITC feel to his flow even when he’s rapping about normal things. The contrast between the “I took your B_” voice inflection and the domestic responsibilities of fatherhood is what makes this song amazing.
Does it get any better than the line “I’m addicted to money, he’s addicted to pancakes” which has to be one of my favorite lines of the year. This song goes so far beyond simply outlining how much his son means to him. You get to visualize through his words aimless X-box games that end with questions about where they should go for dinner. At one point Sonnie talks about his inability to boil an egg. This is on the same mixtape where Don Cannon yells “My life is like a sandwich!!!! Either way you flip it my bread comes first!” to introduce a track. So yes it’s a fun listen.
I’ve heard a thousand hip hop songs about how much that rapper loves their child or hates the child’s mother; the Cat in The Cradle theme of wishing for more time with said child. Richer Dad isn’t really about any of that, its about making it to the bus stop on time; finding a babysitter. It assumes you already know he loves his son and declares that the song is not about the mother. This is a heavy piano keyed sincere song that appears as track sixteen on a mixtape thick with sneering NY attitude (including production from Buckwild, Best Kept Secret, and the Heatmakerz and blistering features from Vado and Styles P). It’s an overstuffed (5 songs too many) mixtape but what works is always worth putting in the rotation and Richer Dad is one of those smile-on-my-face songs. Not because I’m a father or because I have no idea how to boil an egg but because it’s a dope song.
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Tagged addicted to pancakes, Don Cannon, DR Period, mixtape reviews, Most Likely To Succeed, my life is like a sandwich, Richer Dad, Song Review, Sonnie Carson, Styles P, Vado
Six Degrees of Drake
The widespread success of Drake has caused the spread of a new sound. Does anyone remember when Ghostface Killah started doing sing heavy hooks and it was controversial? People were mad and questioning how hardcore his music was…now being able to sing or fake sing the chorus (sometimes several on one song) is mandatory. Thank Drizzy (and Kid Cudi) for that. The spread of this new sound has created a lane for like minded artists and some of them have put out some pretty great B-movie level mixtapes.
Gerald Walker-Yesterday You Said Tomorrow
I will be honest I used to listen to Gerald Walker and just laugh. He sounded just like Drake and stayed sing rapping about how dumb people were for thinking he sounded like Drake, over Drake beats. I downloaded every tape and actually looked forward to new projects just to be able to chuckle over the situation.
While I was chuckling Gerald Walker was making leaps and bounds. It doesn’t hurt that he can get a Cardo beat any time he wants (5 out of 11 on this project) or that he can switch into singing quite naturally. This is the most refined project in the history of Gerald Walker. He now has a cool detached bop to his flow that really suits him and the years in the game to justifiably teaching lessons on perseverance and patience on the hypnotically soulful Cant Have It All At Once “you don’t realize your worth nobody gotta give you sh__ if you want it go out and work. See I know N’s who got deals who was blessed to take the wheel and drive to they own success but they didn’t…shout out to Pill.”
All the funny things I looked for: the off-putting confessions, baffling missteps, and direct Drake lifts are gone. In place is a mixtape that glistens with professional polish from the balanced new school groove production feel to the perfect vocal mixing. I’ve listened to the song Nerves a thousand times and hummed it to myself in the supermarket. I used to suck my teeth when I saw Gerald Walker featuring on a track, shake my head when he sung his own name like it was the two most beautiful words he could think of. Now I’m singing along, so he wins.
Download or stream Yesterday You Said Tomorrow below:
Kirko Bangz-Progression IV
Kirko Bangz is NOT someone ripping off Drake. If he raps over every Drake beat for the rest of his career that’s something Drizzy OWES HIM. Kirko is actually from Houston. Remember Houston? That place Drake lifted his sound from.
Kirko turns the autotune most of the way up and belts out some straight up somebody-rockin-knockin-the-boots type music. They Don’t Know is perfect Houston 2014 booty music and the best part of Progression 4 is that Kirko is not nearly as emotionally cagey as Drizzy. Drizzy is half emotional half public relations expert for his emotions so every admission feels heavily vetted, Kirko just drops real live weirdness. Don’t Matter To Me is one of my favorite songs of 2014 so far. It starts like this “I heard about you baby but I ain’t worried bout you baby. I know some N’s had you fore I got you but it’s my time I got you baby. I head about the sh__ you did with Slim Thug. I heard Propain could have hit you at the club and I heard Doughbeezy had you on the southeast but let me tell you bout me. Girl I wouldn’t care if you was a prostitute and you hit up every rapper that I ever knew.” Only Kirko would make a catchy sexy jam about how many nasty things you can have done and still love him. Or make a song about how much he wants to bang Rihanna where he talks about her monkey in the first line (Love Rihanna). At one point in this mixtape he says he gets so much sex from lovely ladies he doesn’t have to do his chores. I don’t even understand that but I love it. Sometimes Kirko feels better than Drake not just cause he’s authentically Houston and brings B.A. Houston guests (Propain, Killa Kyleon) but because his music feels like what Drake would do if he lost his mind when he was drunk. Tell me you wouldn’t listen to that?
Stream or download Progression IV below:
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Tagged autotune, booty music, Cardo, Drake, Gerald Walker, Ghostface Killah, Houston, Houston hip hop, Killa Kyleon, Kirko Bangz, mixtape reviews, Progression IV, Rihanna, Six Degrees of Drake, Slim Thug, Yesterday You Said Tomorrow
Song of The Year-Knicks by Freddie Gibbs produced by Madlib
When the full album collaboration between these two forces was announced some aspects of it were certain. The lyrics were going to be tough. Gibbs has a range of toughness that runs anywhere from Rambo going back in Vietnam to win it himself to Carlito Brigante narrating from a leather jacket about how the worlds changed while walking in the rain. The lyrics fall somewhere in between on their album Piñata with Madlib being the true wildcard. Instead of throwing the oddest collection of acid jazz and obscure funk samples behind Gibbs, Madlib makes everything feel dusty and soulful which serves well in amplifying the spotlight on Gibbs natural anger and fascinating flow (even if it does partially sedate the listening experience).
While Piñata is a true underground album that sneers at the very concept of “hits” or “stand alone singles” Knicks is my favorite sports song in years. It directly follows a song dedicated to the Lakers that’s joyously about their winning history, hot California girls and Magic Johnson owning the Dodgers. Once Lakers stops and Knicks begin the tone change is like stepping into a freezer. The sample sweetly calls and Freddie is watching Jordan carve up the Knicks (or later on watching Lebron do the same thing) within forty three seconds he’s shooting up someone’s home. He seethes with thoughts of revenge for dead friends. While the Lakers song is all celebratory, the Knicks song is all cold hard anger a perfect backdrop for the team with the biggest spotlight and the worst record at utilizing it. By the end of it he actually just starts laughing at the Knicks for all their losses in the Jordan era (Bulls fans old enough to remember Jordan are ALL like this. Terrible to be around like I would be if my sister became president and I did nothing but brag about it forever after. Great team, great fans…just saying…).
Piñata is a weird album. Not better than Gibbs scalding Man on Fire style Jeezy revenge album ESGN from last year but better and better with repeated listens. It’s an album you just need and a song like this is right at its beating pulse.
Mixtape Review- Alley Shakur: The Soul of a Runaway Slave by Alley Boy
I think a lot of us are conditioned (through Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix examples) to believe that our most important artists burn brightly for a short moment and then leave the stage forever. It’s only as you get older that you realize how much better a career Audrey Hepburn had than Marilyn Monroe. At this stage a lot of my favorite artists are like Alley Boy not bound to burn the brightest but like a subway train there whenever I need him with the ability to get me where I need to be.
Alley Boy churns out mixtape after mixtape with startling consistency and ferocity. On his new mixtape Alley Shakur we aren’t even out of the Intro before he’s threatening to piss on his opponent’s graves and do physical harm to their children. Everyone prizes the good old fashioned NY Goon music well this is Atlanta Goon music, twenty one tracks of it. While its hardcore it doesn’t fit the bounce of the Trap movement and its too focused and lyrical to be Atlanta Pop Rap.
The connection this mixtape has to 2pac Shakur is supposed to be his seething anger and pursuit of truth but I don’t think that’s really it. All the interludes woven into the project lead us there but in reality Pac was the type of dude that made every song important and Alley wants to connect to his audience like that. Back when I was in the military during down times we would all put our headphones on and sing Hail Mary together in 2pac voice…it sounds silly now but it wasn’t, the song meant a lot to us. While Alley’s fantastically satisfying chanting on For The High captivates and demands re-listening I can’t even fathom Alley getting to that level. Partially because music doesn’t work like that anymore, we have so much of it we don’t attend it as well as we used too. Partially because Alley isn’t willing to get very personal on his music; try to find anything on Wholes or Too Many that’s personal beyond personally threatening.
Starlito, Kevin Gates, and Trey Songz don’t feature on talentless artists projects though. Alley Boy can switch from a song about hitting on a lady (Come On Over) to how wonderful he is (Great) and not betray his sensibilities while making them all fun. I couldn’t find production credits but all these tracks bounce and warrant copious bow throwing while containing admirable lyrical dexterity. Celebration uses the finger snap DJ Mustard feel, When I Ride could be on Jeezy’s first album. Alley Shakur is long but doesn’t feel like it because within the twenty one tracks we get a lot of different shades of the ATL goon sound.
It makes perfect sense that Alley was one of the guys Master P grabbed up when he re-emerged as his old self. No Limit was built on a roster of minor miracle artists that could absolutely kill verses, tracks, even albums while staying in the background waiting for their time. The theme of Alley Shakur is Alley asking when his time is. No matter when that is, a lot of people respect his grind.
download or stream Alley Shakur below:
Song Review-How U Feel by Fat Trel produced by Harry Fraud
Trel’s new mixtape Gleesh feels like the proving ground for the number one Maybach Music question: does the luxuriously clean production style of the label fit the gritty goon content of the roster? Fat Trel is full of violent bluster with a magnificent evil frog monster voice to boot and feels comfortable over dark stabbing Gucci Mane style production but Maybach has a signature sound. Its radio friendly and refined and sometimes doesn’t make sense for the artist. Some songs don’t seem to work on Gleesh but the most interesting ones seem to provide enough balance for an answer. This is the best example.
Harry Fraud finds the perfect equilibrium between echoing club friendly bass with gentle guitar and a melodic spook that lets Trel lead with his determination and sneer. Lyrically Trel never lets you get comfortable, contradicting every image of attractive women showing him attention with bad neighborhoods and violence. If you think he’s thin in terms of content I can’t really argue but with the delivery and voice I could listen to this dude rap the phone book. When you couple that with one of the most impressive Harry Fraud beats (how consistent is Harry Fraud? I’ve heard the criticism that he only makes one kind of beat but DJ Mustard does the same thing and we love him…Fraud is one of those consistent dudes who seems to make everyone’s project sound better) in a while its hard to beat that for a stand out song.
EP Review-IVRY by 100S
Pimp rap is a hard thing to explain support of. All you can say is that when it works its amazing. The job of a pimp is to make you choose his or her services, so a great pimp rap musical experience should be just as engaging; something that sucks you in and draws you to its center as if by hypnosis(at the very least manipulation).
The production on IVRY distills elements of ratchet, funk, cloud rap, and anything else that will seduce listeners into the 100S world. The sound of IVRY is so important this project has five executive producers (three of which have production credits). 100s is not only one of the executive producers but one who shares two credits on songs that straddle styles. One of them is Thru My Veins which is 50% cold blooded bluster “Perm on my back, rolllin’ through these streets never pack heat I shoot when I spit…” and 50% super catchy chorus. It has a lot of the open reverberating space that cloud rap had but with a blustery 808 build you might associate with the trap sound. F*ckin Around is the other one he had a direct hand in and it’s the first moment you can stop and say Roger Troutman would have loved this song. West coast funk is deeper than Dr. Dre it goes back to Con Funk Shun and beyond and this song carries it all. While the funk bubbles 100S stays in pocket with harsh rhymes like “Who said the best things in life are free must have never met a mother#$%@* like me!”
Different Type of Love will transport you to that post-disco R&B Rick James frame of mind as if Daft Punk and DJ Quik merged power sources. These songs are so unexplainably catchy. You can play them in a car with whoever and they will just sing along never thinking about what the heck they are actually saying. IVRY is a total of eight songs and at least three feel like solid gold West Coast smash hits that should have been in my mp3 player years ago. All the rest fit from the intro to the last track. People have been trying to tell me about 100S (FME Contributor DL for one) but I was never swayed either way until I first heard the cooing chorus of Middle of The Night over that amazing drum pattern. I remember thinking, “Wow, now I have to go back and listen to Ice Cold Perm again.” Better late than never there.
Stream or download IVRY below:
Song Review-Bompton by YG produced by DJ Mustard
This sounds worse than it is but a lot of music people simply thought of YG as an appendage of DJ Mustard. He can organize the Mustard sound with his energy and flow but without it he’s ok at best. This all changed with his album My Krazy Life which dropped not too long ago and is filled with personal revelations that fit alongside its bangers (and great guest stars ranging from Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, even Drake does well). It has one of the very best Mother dedications in years (Sorry Momma) but it also gives the Mustard heads what they wanted which is ratchet @$$ ish like this. While Mustard is not the only purveyor of this sound he’s out in front of the movement (until people learn how dope Rick Rock is). While others like The League of Starz seem to experiment with levels of their sound Mustard seems to be refining its gorgeous singularity. Not worried if you are sick of Ratchet cause his beats will be so perfectly ratchet that you will still love them.
Why does YG call it Bompton? Blood way to say Compton, don’t worry about it. Feel free to bounce with the intensity of this tracks wobble and bathe in the fear and desperation of the Compton attitude again. This is the kind of anthemic track you can picture crowds yelling along with. Two of this year’s best rap albums are Compton introspections and the year is young. America never stopped loving the horror and intensity of Compton hip hop. What we sometimes don’t realize is that the world never did either.