#Bandcampgold-Fuel City by The Outfit, TX
Pressing play on Fuel City by Dallas rap group The Outfit, TX is like discovering Three 6 Mafia for the first time. That is not to say they are doing Three 6, this just has the permissive energy of the best crunk you can think of. I love the beginning of Goin’ Up where the opening verse surges into yelling that takes on a three part shout harmony for the chorus. The Outfit, TX are masters in the art of high and low, whenever they start calm they lull you into a false sense of security they explode out from. They have brilliant songs where they turn all the way up (the first three songs: Big Splash, Phone Line, and Goin’ Up) but they are contrasted by whispery low key effortless swagger (Insumnia) and gorgeous middle ground sounds where the song does a hard bop while they maintain a heightened agitated cool (Dez Bryant, Look Crazy). The last similar group this good at flicking the tempo switch up and down to this extreme was Ying Yang Twins and it’s a favorable comparison. Ying Yang twins were one of those authentically dexterous groups, confident in who they were and so unified in talent you never sat back and thought either of them killed one the other on a track, their verses hung together and formed a real themed work(even when the themes were very closely aligned).
Fuel City is one hundred percent smash hits which is why it is only ten songs. They know better than to wear you out. As ferocious, jarring & scary as Told That Bih is on first listen the song before that is a melodic sex brag mutter so minimal (Outta Control) by contrast you can see the authorship in the ordering of songs. It took years and years of work to get things running this tight. Living in Maine I didn’t know of them until Killer Mike demanded people check them out in an interview. Ever since then I’ve been watching them sharpen their swords in hopes of getting to this level. When you hear the warning that ends the final track (Really Off) lambast the listener for sleeping on them (“I’m a give myself and my N’s our flowers on our own s__t and let you listen to it B#$%* @$$ N_ I ain’t waiting on you N’s applause no mo'” It sounds mad extra but he’s right. In the case of a group with the powerful melodic energy of The Outfix, TX ignoring them has grown them to unimaginable levels. As I listen to Look Crazy for the thousandth time I can’t help but think about the first time I heard their name and thought “that name is dumb” they’ve been making me pay ever since by making songs so inescapably catchy and lyrically throttling I can’t get away from them. In the outro the warning accuses us of making monsters and in a rap world full of junkies and exuberant social media warriors maybe a few monsters are what we need.
Stream or download Fuel City below:
Mixtape Review-Candy, Diamonds & Pills by Gangsta Boo
Gangsta Boo has been insinuating this point for years in interviews but let me just state it frankly. Do not compare Boo against other rappers; male rappers, female rappers it doesn’t matter. She has lived an entirely different journey; a better comparison would be against the legendary horror director George A Romero. Like Romero she is the architect for a style that practically dominates today. While Romero gave birth to the zombie craze that has swept up all media and made Robert Kirkman more important than his actual comic books; Boo started the deep dark crunk that became trap that became drill that became Yeezus and so on and so on. Her new mixtape Candy, Diamonds & Pills is about that journey but like Night of The Living Dead at its core it is about identity and character.
At ten songs it never feels short and each song drips with tension and hostility. Sonically a zombie is around every corner whether it’s the scratched repetition of Boo saying “Itching” on Itching or the maniacal laughing throughout Kill Bitches. Her flow always finds its way with both feet planted on the ground, no matter how crazy the production behind her is. Her voice is frustrated but reassuring, melodic and jagged at the same time. This isn’t to give the impression that Candy, Diamonds & Pills is a thoroughly heavy experience. It still has Can I Get Paid which is a top notch stripper song all about butt cheeks and orgies; a welcome addition to the Three Six Mafia stripper song library(Interestingly Can I Get Paid is from the strippers perspective).
The same way Romero needs the best set designers and special effects people, Boo needs Beatking and Stunt N Dozier. Out of the ten songs, the intro and outro are spoken messages from Boo so they don’t count, Beatking produces four and Stunt N Dozier do three. Both have worked with her before and seem to be raising their game from beat to beat. Beatking does Gimme Something which has that stabbing-scene-from-Psycho sound stretched and weighed down with bass. He also gives us Kill Bitches which has a distorted whine of a horn along with a flood of bass. At the same time Stunt N Dozier Meet The Devil will drive you crazy and make you want to smash things. It’s just evil. Gangsta Boo sails on the soaring and crash of strings “them weidos on the internet in my comments talkin’ that big s___ I don’t lose sleep on that nonsense ya’ll playing checkers I’m playing chess. You gon’ f__ around get your nose bus’ I ain’t talkin’ bout from this cocaine my fist be some angel dust.”
That verse is really important. The outro is a passionately delivered explanation of her place within the Three 6 Mafia legacy. At its core, Candy, Diamonds & Pills is her chance to acknowledge that while the internet gives way to millions of negative voices all shouting negative things to bring you down (especially women) this won’t work on Gangsta Boo. She won’t ever sit back and watch her legacy be wiped out; not because she’s Southern and isn’t respected like East Coast MC’s, not because she’s a woman in a male oriented industry. Her voice will always remain louder and more powerful than her detractors; like Killer Mike she doesn’t spit rhymes she roars them.
Stream or download Candy, Diamonds & Pills below:
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged 2015 mixtapes, Beatking, Candy, chicago drill scene, Crunk, Diamonds, Gangsta Boo, George A Romero, Pills, Robert Kirkman, Southern Hip Hop, Stunt N Dozier, Three 6 Mafia, Trap, Yeezus, zombies
Mixtape Review-Blue Dream & Lean 2 by Juicy J
If you don’t like Juicy J Blue Dream & Lean 2 is not going to change your mind. If you are a fan of the raucous king of repugnant imagery and gleeful mischief this is a must hear. Juicy doesn’t just give you the hardcore you are used too but a little more than you’d expect.
We’ve written pretty extensively about Juicy on the site and most interestingly about his age and the fight he’s waged against it. Most artists are forced to develop and acknowledge growth as they get older but Juicy still seems his most content on songs like Anybody where he’s choking necks, blowing grass and daring anybody to bring violence to him. That point in the song where he says something really really nasty, planting an image in your head you won’t get out, that’s when you hear Juicy’s voice perked and engaged. He’s scratching his nails on the chalkboard staring right into your face and laughing. #ClockworkJuicy
That being said Juicy has tempo changes on this one, gear shifts that he doesn’t always use. Stoners Night 3 feels like it should be sped up and made into a Saturday-Night-get-crazy anthem but its mid tempo, Don’t Trust has horror movie piano and a deep baseline with an ominous chorus. When he says “How can a N trust any one of you clowns? When my own family let me down,” it feels like he is taking his hands from the chalkboard and really talking to us. It’s crazy and happens a few times.
The most prominent example of Juicy pulling aside the curtains and really opening up is his last verse on All I Need. He starts the song throwing nasty sex talk combinations; dirty vaginas, blowjobs, etc and hands off to K Camp who swaggers all over the track. This is all very standard in the Juicy J universe and its fun but that last verse goes in a totally different direction “Damn I miss the 90’s, yeah sh#$ was wild. We were living like rock stars dropping Mystic Stylez. Ain’t nobody else believe in what we was putting down. N almost homeless trying to get it off the ground.” It’s the most interesting moment of the project. He talks about how hard it was and how the times have turned and Three 6 has influenced everything, in his own words he speaks of his old Three 6 gang and says he loves them and calls them brothers as his voice echoes the words. For someone following the hostility between Juicy and the old gang this was a jaw dropping moment. I wasn’t happy because I need him to collaborate with Gangsta Boo again; he deserves to be content in his legacy and I’m glad he can look back fondly on the experiences without chewing on the bitterness of small disagreements.
My favorite song is Smoked Out, Dabbed Out which moves at an inch worms pace creating the slowest moving head nod of all time. It feels like uncompromising Juicy translated into summer BBQ music. At least 5 of the 17 songs give production credit to the collective of Juicy J, Crazy Mike and Lil Awree which means Juicy was plugged into this. He didn’t just grab whatever beats were in his email. That doesn’t mean this mixtape is perfect. Workin Hard is just Juicy saying Workin Hard over and over again so I could definitely delete that. Film feels more like a Future song than a Juicy one and those two types of songs are so different that it doesn’t fit. All that said Blue Dream & Lean 2 feels like a new Juicy and the same old Juicy. As shocking as his reflections are on All I Need he sounds like he’s going to LOVE taking revenge on Do It To Em. If you own any Three 6 Mafia you need to download this as its bookend.
Stream or download Blue Dream & Lean 2 below:
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged #ClockworkJuicy, 2015 mixtapes, Blue Dream & Lean 2, Crazy Mike, Crunk, future, Juicy J, Lil Awree, mike will made it, mixtape review, Mystic Stylez, Taylor Gang, Three 6 Mafia
Song of The Year- Double Up and Rewind by 2 $ Fabo produced by King Dominus
I don’t believe that any trend in music is without a valid foundation. That’s why things are so cyclical. As maligned and mocked as the crunk trend became the most popular and best mixtape of 2014 so far is exactly and brilliantly that.
Maybe we were all trapped in sleepy cloud beats for too long, lulled by listless drill snarl so much that one of the members from the crunk hall of fame group D4L had to drop a twenty two track sonic boom of roars and snarls over production so big and silly it keeps killing off pairs of my headphones.
I just wonder how many of the same people cracking D4L Laffy Taffy jokes back in 2006 are pumping 2 $ Fabo’s new mixtape We Amongst You and banging their heads to every AY! The mixtape is full of stupid skits that never get old and ceaseless Pac-Man like energy. The hooting and hollering might recall Lil Jon and his big pimp cup but Fabo can rap when he wants and near the end of the tape (It Was A Nightmare) he gets serious and makes it one of the real high points. Props to King Dominus who creates a stupid fun glow stick friendly atmosphere all over the four tracks he touches (the baseline on My GIK Walk is epic).
I don’t know if anywhere in hip hop gets sillier than Atlanta and I hope we’ve reached a point where everyone knows that that’s a valuable thing.