Being cool has nothing to do with style or taste. The icon of cool for a lot of Americans was Fonz on Happy Days but stylistically he wasn’t cool at all. He was set in the forties during the sixties; he looked silly to that audience. What made him cool was trust and reliability. You could always count on Fonz not to dress cool or act cool but to be cool. This is the definition of cool and the mission statement for Scotty ATL’s new mixtape The Cooligan. He wants you to know that not only has he gotten progressively better (this mixtape has some real storytelling happening: see Three Steps Forward) but you can always count on him to be heading in the right direction.
It’s no accident that Killer Mike always shouts out Scotty as a “who’s next” dude. The Cooligan gives you the best version of any kind of song you could like. If you’re a Future/Drake sing-rap guy just load up Neva Switch Up where he spits and sings at top notch levels over a 40-esque piano based beat that KE On The Track could have gotten placed on Drake’s Take Care. Scotty sounds perfectly reasonable next to two of my hero’s, 8 Ball & Devin The Dude, on the epic sex brag song I Needs Mine. Unlike previous projects he doesn’t have to rely on the genius of DJ Burn One, only produces two tracks, and it’s not because the relationship has frayed. Scotty now has more options than ever. Legions of fans are all new and just hearing him for the first time.
The running conversation with a beautiful female voice throughout the mixtape, about giving up the dream and moving on, about people’s faith in you being tested…is a big part of who Scotty is. The last song is Neva Fall Off and Scotty is still talking about family and people around him changing, the world around him switching from poverty to wealth and after all that elaboration he wraps those fears up neatly “they gave me reason and motivation to murder that @$$ be the man in my city and stack a bowl of that cash”. Scotty’s determination is not grim, he doesn’t stew in the negative sides of situations; he announces them and predicts their defeat. Maybe that’s why he gets such great guest verses from people. His reliability stabilizes the sometimes divergent talents of B.O.B on Fantasies and creates the comfort needed to get the very best Cyhi The Prince verse on Ni**a Concentrate. I need to talk about that song for a second. It might be one of the year’s very best collaborations. M16 laces a warm beat with looped background soul cooing and piano keys moving at the right upbeat Bill Withers pace. Cyhi’s verse is funny and personable and charming while Scotty’s (that come before it) is 100% heartfelt. When Scotty says “Everybody actin’ like they trappin'” you know it’s not general (by the tenor of his voice) that he tastes the names on the tip of his tongue but it wouldn’t be cool to say them. So he doesn’t.
If you need a succinct explanation of why and how Scotty will take over the world I only need two words. Speed Up. The song features no one and is an absolute smash hit, gets me in trouble at work for how excited I am under my headphones, produced by Black Metaphor. Scotty nails a perfect chorus, stays on beat and owns every inch of it. It’s a song Gucci Mane couldn’t have made. A lot of the drudging dark trap slithers by and doesn’t have an anthem gear. A lot of anthem level hip hop is as cheesy as in flight movie romantic comedy. Speed Up moves like lightning with its chest out, carrying authority and you know what? It’s still cool.
stream or download The Cooligan below: