Young Moe-Humble Hustle 2 mixtape review
Free Music Empire contributor D.L. aptly characterized the goals of Humble Hustle 1 in the last sentence of his review from April of last year (https://freemusicempire.com/2012/04/16/young-moe-humble-hustle-2012/), “Here is a bizarro gangster Trap Rap mixtape that fills in the gaps left by caricature, and shows a real person’s struggle and strife in a very conflicted, shady world.” While Humble Hustle is all about filling in those gaps and articulating that struggle, Humble Hustle 2 revolves around taking that struggle to cinematic heights while maintaining the pre-existing levels of heartfelt realism at the core of the listening experience.
Its nineteen tracks long culminating in the most engaging outro of the year. Within it he goes from talking about how he grew up using candles cause the light bills weren’t paid and living hungry to showing his Egyptian side by rapping in a different language (Arabic?), speaking about the importance of planning and wanting to be a good father; all of it taking place over a thumping cooing masterpiece by Basshead Music Group. The reason I highlight the outro is how often is it a throw away? Most of the time it’s a rambling post it note tacked onto the work, or if it is rapping its a few bars and a wave goodbye, this is a real song and its dope.
Careful craftsmanship smoothes out every contour of Humble Hustle 2. Rich Lou alley oops the duo of Fat Trel and Young Moe a twinkling cinematic gem of a beat on Million Dollar Dreams and it does not go to waste. No one works better with Trel, Moe is all grizzled determination and scratchy voice as he spits “waking up with nothing make you dream about a lot of sh#t, you need your proper sense if you’ll be making every dollar flip,” while Trel croaks a joyously confident chorus about bricks of gold and million dollar clothes. Young Moe can spit Trap squared, so paranoid world-weary and driven that it seems multiplied in its potency. He can also switch gears and leave tire marks all over what you expected to hear.
The intro track is a post-cloud rap cloud beat by JRB that Young Moe digests with skilled bravado, talking about snitching, police, haters, and the basics. The first real track on the tape and the one that follows the intro nearly got me quivery lipped on the first listen. A Letter 2 Amarie is a slow powerfully authentic song to his son not filled with platitudes but warm facts. He holds him while he does the dirty dishes, driving for hours just to see him for thirty minutes. He wants to be alive for his son and wants his son to assume greater responsibilities, the way he broaches being around for his son in contrast to his father is jarring in its sincerity, to quote “but to leave you I can’t imagine, so I’m guessing I love you more than he loved me.” It’s really special and not the only example of Young Moe showing gifted levels of introspection and empathy.
This is not a perfect musical experience by any means. I could certainly do without Bus Driver, where Moe sells female listeners on an extraordinarily short term sexual paradise, but that song isn’t meant for me anyway. The special moments are undeniable in the sense that no other new emcee can replicate the sympathetic hardcore he brings to the table. Listen to how personal Freeway gets in his impressive verse on Dreamin’ and know that’s just what happens when you are on a track with Young Moe. You step up your levels. I Don’t Trust A Smile is a perfect example of the level Moe is on. Basshead Music Group use strings and strong drums to set the stage for Moe who laces a tremendous four minute warning about sexual relationships. This is not a don’t trust women song, all characters fail and the results are felt “Mama told her farewell, now she use a jacket as a pillow in the stairwell.” The way he says it, the image of the jacket as a pillow is exactly what makes the Humble Hustle series amongst the very best series of mixtapes. Young Moe is creating characters and feeling their mistakes, feeling their soreness and giving it to us. When he achieves he does the same, those powers of projection are carried over 100% from the original to the sequel and the beats are better. So it’s a massive win.
stream or download Humble Hustle 2 below: