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: