Song of The Year-I’ll Be Fine by Trae The Truth
More than any project before his new album Hometown Hero represents the uniqueness of Trae The Truth. His voice has always been raspy, stabbing, and relentless a fantastic guest feature flow to shake you from your comfort zone. Hometown Hero dresses itself to match. Thematically as honest as its narrator with features from people known for how real they keep it (TI, Boosie, Mozzy). Each song envelopes you in bass as he narrates harrowing stories that range from the stress of wearing awful clothes to the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. It is one of 2018’s best albums.
As great as the features are (particularly TI’s hook on Better Dayz) the song I’ll Be Fine is the absolute best. The hook stretches and relaxes as he explains the hurt and the strength/assurance he will use to move on. Trae wants to feel the pain of loss and not shut the emotions out but badly wants to control the pain. The verses carry that same conflict. He remembers the casket going into the ground in the first verse and wishes he could hug him one more time. As hard as Hometown Hero is it is still about caring deeply; for friends, family, about people who betray you, your own self-care, your city, state, world.
He swims along the deep bass and leaves any possibility of trunk rattling banger behind as he starts off with the verse, sung with both wistful distance and aged resilience. In Houston trunk rattling bass isn’t just for head banging anthems or turning up. Trae has always understood how valuable time is and he doesn’t waste verses. Hometown Hero is for us to understand that he has people he is talking to and if it seems too serious to you just listen to something else. When he shares stuff like “Time ain’t enough. Wish I could tell you how much it been rough. I had to face it. Everything through it was making me tough. My brother my friend everything bout me is still ABN loyal to death all till the day I’ma see you again.” It’s special because he has the fortitude to bleed in public emotionally without being at all manipulative. He’s not professionally sad instead he processes problems alongside blessings. Long live King Truth.
Street Lottery 3 by Young Scooter
I used to think of Young Scooter as mini-Gucci Mane, one of the many understudies the Holy Spirit of Trap (in holy trinity terms the father would be TI and the son is Jeezy) burns through on his long career. It turns out he’s a Frankenstein of Gucci and Future dedicating every rap lyric to drug dealing from a position of power yet hooking like he lost his mind. Anyone who eats off of great hooks and great hooks alone I refer to as a hooker and Scooter is that. He’s not just a hooker he’s a god damn hypnotist. Doin’ Numbers, Rarri’s & Bentleys have the same trap beats your used to and unimpressive word play like “yeah I F_ with Ross my whole hood bout Gunplay (Rarri’s & Bentleys).” You will be singing these damn hooks, he’s so dedicated to the hook he performs every line like its part of the hook.
Scooter is in the street anthem business. If Made It Out Da Hood doesn’t get your blood flowing you might not have much; Kodak Black fits perfectly on the song talking about dirty laundry and indiscretions in Maryland. This is the kind of song that put trap music on the map. For My Hustlas is a classicly zany Zaytoven sounding beat; weird enough for Scooter to fit perfectly. Grind Don’t Stop is an epic continuation of Made It Out Da Hood but on steroids, Will A Fool creates a synth whistle that burns into your ears, Future expands the songs sonic area. These two have always worked beautifully together.
All the Street Lottery mixtapes, even the Juggathon mixtape w/ Zaytoven has just been leading to this bubbling over point where Scooter takes the next leap. Are great hooks enough? Well he also has the production names you need: Metro Boomin’, Zaytoven, C-Sick, Will-A-Fool so this is top level trap but crossing over may not be his destiny or desire. While the project features big names like Future, Boosie, and Young Thug this mixtape has the American flag sitting in cocaine on the cover so it’s not destined for Wal-Mart. The moment that makes you ponder how far he could travel into the spotlight is Ice Game produced by Chophouze and featuring an invigorated & rapping Akon (best feature of the project). Since rap music is so full of street dudes & ex-dealers, hip hop will always be a sucker for anthemic trap music. His hooks raise the stakes and create more of an experience than a hot line could.
Is Young Scooter a great rapper? I have no idea. Hooks are a big part of rapping, if your hooks suck your albums won’t live up to what they are capable of (see: first Jadakiss solo album). If you can make everything sound like a hook isn’t that the genius we loved in Juvenile? That’s dope and while Scooter is not Juvy he’s got time to grow into more challenging writing and he’s certainly working hard enough. He released three mixtapes last year and no one knows what he’s capable of this year.
stream or download Street Lottery 3 below:
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Tagged Boosie, C Sick, Chophouze, future, Gucci Mane, hip hop, hookers, hooks, Kodak Black, Metro Boomin, mixtape review, Street Lottery 3, Trap Music, Will A Fool, young scooter, Young Thug, Zaytoven
Song Review-O Lord by Boosie Bad Azz
When Boosie got out of jail we knew that new music was destined to hit but I’m not sure anyone anticipated the raw nerve emotion of Life After Deathrow. Its way more bravely naked than I expected. This is a 2pacish mental space where the force of will exercised on this set of songs is enough to make a airtight case for Boosie’s importance in the world of music.
On the third track, Streets of Fire, Boosie starts the song by saying “No one thought I’d make it,” and the mixtape builds from that thought; A recently released prisoner stewing in the bitterness and betrayal of people who forgot about him and his accomplishments. It’s about getting out and shouting at all those who disappointed you until your voice is hoarse; holding your family while not holding back tears.
O Lord is the last track and most of the way past the vengeful bitterness that drives the project. The exasperation, fear, sadness and terror of being locked away perfectly expresses itself through this gospel ratchet danceable yet soulful chant rap. Not many artists can make songs like O Lord or mixtapes as forcefully important as Life After Deathrow. The song and project are haunted at times by a tragedy honesty and triumph that’s instantly a special part of 2014. It really doesn’t matter whether you like Boosie or not, once you hear his new stuff you’ll know it’s a big deal. He has a bit of the thug motivation magic Jeezy is famous for but does more to unabashedly express the pain of street life and make you dance to it.