Mixtape Review-Vado- Slime Flu 4
If New York hip hop is in recovery it’s a relatively joyless one. While people like Ka and Roc Marciano release great music, the popular sound of New York is the practiced and insincere NY trap of A$ap Ferg and the like. In the world of mixtapes we get mostly questions: where did Lloyd Banks go, why has Cam’ron had a mixtape cover in the coming soon section of datpiff all year?
In the past few years the only consistent things in the world of NY mixtapes have been Troy Ave who floods the market with his own product as well as the very listenable BSB crew compilations and Vado. For his part last year, Vado put out one of the truly remarkable time machine goon rap mixtapes in Slime Flu 3. It had great movie and TV show samples, sludgy slamming beats with odd references. It was the kind of mixtape that felt like it didn’t care about an audience, it has an identity and if you don’t like it… too bad.
Somehow volume 4 is even slimier and more gooned out. Its 19 tracks with four horrible skits featuring every NY participant you can think of (Raekwon, Jadakiss, French Montana, Chinx Drugz, Troy Ave, Maino, Lloyd Banks, Uncle Murda, Noreaga, air horns, Smoke Dza, and Fabolous). When I first heard the terrible skits where two men argue stupidly like Spike Lee characters I couldn’t help but smile. What would a great NY mixtape be without bad skits? Maybe I am part of an older generation but NY rap to me always sounded like the first three Mobb Deep albums or Cormega seeking revenge or G Rap in a Carhartt jacket spitting like it was a warning. Slime Flu 4 leaves no doubt this is the lineage of Vado. Is there a more NY verse than “Target practice shoot any, I aim shot em. Army jacket blue yankee with grey bottoms. You ain’t me if you ain’t Harlem (American Gangster),” what other region would shoot you and tell you what they are wearing?
In a lot of ways Slime Flu 4 is a funhouse mirror of styles that run through east coast rap. Kopy is very much a French Montana song with that radio friendly swaying hook to it. Heard U features Yo Gotti and sounds like Vado fitting his sound into a Trap-A-Holics framework where the horns lead you to the bounce instead of the sludge bap thump overcoming you. Straight For The Summer has Kirko Bangz doing his Texas rap Jodeci hook while Fab and Vado lay raps about ladies in fur coats and high heels.
The high points stick with you after listening to Slime Flu 4, many from its back half. Chest beating local anthem The Town features a great Maino verse that actually overwhelms Lloyd Banks. R.N.S. has chemistry beyond posse track. Jada, Troy Ave and Vado fit like a glove together; Troy Ave with his natural 50 Cent-like ability with hooks fits snugly between Vado and Jada as they talk about living cigar life and being ten steps ahead. It feels like Jada is excited for his verse because he’s thrilled this music is still around. For anyone doubting Vado’s ability to open doors to other topics of conversation—see Remember. Throughout the track he traverses personal stories without breaking the tough consistency of the mixtape. He still mixes basketball references and Papoose Summer Jam memories in with his personal tales of struggle. It all seems tangled up with who he is.
You cannot overvalue consistency. Consumers reward artists for successful experiments but we sure don’t want to pay for the failed ones. Can I think of better rappers than Vado? Absolutely, I can think of a bunch in NY BUT how reliable is their music? How fun is that music to listen too? How many NY rappers can I name that are more reliable than Vado? Not many.
stream or download Slime Flu 4 below:
p.s. Slime Flu 4 has one of my favorite references of this year. Many rappers have referenced the colorful villain Sho’nuff from Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon but Vado went in a whole different direction. “They say I’m the last dragon. I’m Eddie Arkadian with the piranha tank (White Collar).” Now that is a movie reference! http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_T7F7ffynvhA/SYTbhN1HuPI/AAAAAAAAAJs/Pzp0SEtTAH8/s320/bscap0004.jpg