Mixtape Review-Zero Fucks Given by Emilio Rojas
The first song of every single Emilio Rojas project is absolute fire. He starts off things the way Ice Cube used too with that “EVERYBODY MAKE WAY I AM ABOUT TO DOMINATE” song. He does it yet again on his new mixtape Zero Fucks Given “Nobody help we did this on our Fing own. All these other cats that’s out just a bunch of Fing clones. They don’t even dress themselves a stylist pull they clothes, somebody making them fly they like a bunch of Fing drones (ZFG Intro).” The difference this time is that the rest of it holds that sense of urgency.
In the past his mixtapes lost steam and digressed into club songs about how girls can’t get enough of Emilio Rojas. I’ll give every mixtape allowance for at least one of these songs. The road must be a lonely place and songs about how delightful ladies find you can ensure companionship on those lonesome stops along the way. I don’t need 7 of them. On Zero Fucks Given those songs are replaced with laser focused intelligence. This is evident from the first track onward “167 baby I got the whole block with me! I’m where the poverty created an economy, everyone selling souls now the devil on a shopping spree (Trouble)!”
Rojas has a flow that craves the spotlight. It can speedbag and dazzle or stamp down on the right line so no one misses it. Even with Nore growling and spitting a great verse Rojas stands center stage on Trouble. I had hoped we would get more work like Zero Fucks Given when I heard he got signed to Maybach Music. MMG seems to be a label full of artists who are almost hitting their potential and this mixtape feels like Rojas as Popeye taking the spinach (does anyone even get that reference? I’m old.)
Zero Fucks Given is noticeably and stylistically darker than previous works. I’m thinking about the church bells and ghoul voice in the background repeating the song title 167. Or the interlude at the end where a car accident hits a woman and Rojas urgently requests no one move her. To his credit Emilio never pushes a tough guy angle. He presents himself as slick, intelligent, and unrelenting while admitting he didn’t have to sell drugs (rather than acting as if he did). The ferocious bars in the project seem to carry the weight of his hopes for his community without directly overstating them. He talks angrily about kids ignoring educational goals and girls not being raised to pursue sensible outcomes. The tone of his voice makes you believe none of his concerns are general, the names and faces are in his head as he spits (listen to track 8 Dead Presidents for an example). This is the lean (11 tracks) brazen Rojas I can wave like a flag in front of kids who are looking for something new and ill. The happy go lucky king of the club song has been replaced by the world weary smh of Bitch is Crazy (Joe Budden heard the song title and was like YES I WILL THROW A VERSE ON THAT) and clear headed confessional The Only One. He never loses track of himself or takes a detour or turns confession into self-pity; all the way to the warm celebratory last track (Dynasty) this is the Emilio Rojas I wanted. The one I talked about to anyone who listened; standing under the stars on my house phone saying “If only all the songs could be like the first one!” way too loud.
Stream or Download Zero Fucks Given below: