Mixtape Review-Jugg King by Young Scooter
From afar I like Young Scooter. When I think about how much trap has changed and how much Scooter’s new mixtape Jugg King is right in the pocket of F.B.G. The Movie mixtape from 2013 my overactive mind wanders. Does Scooter see these new happier trappers and see them as a disservice? Does he look down on them appropriating dealer culture while clearly not having the experience in it (by their own admission)? Is Scooter going to see my review and respond to me on twitter? The answer to all these questions is no, a firm no.
Scooter came into rap with beautiful hooks and a hypnotizing flow dedicating every word to dealing and being independent and he is the same today. If you listen to the title track this isn’t one of those rappers who had a fire in his belly when he started and has become jaded. Jugg King’s hook declares it “I do what I want, you do what you can.” How could he be jaded? He never fell underneath Gucci or Future’s wing, never took a spot on a deep roster of MC’s clamoring for number one. He just forged good relationships and maintained them which is why you still see Metro Boomin and Zaytoven on the production list after all these years. This is why you haven’t heard from him in a while and he drops a mixtape featuring Young Thug, Meek Mill, Young Dolph, and Future.
You can listen to Jugg King front to back a few times without picking out favorite songs. Nothing throws Scooter off his spot, every verse is dope money and deceivers eating his dust. You can just press play and drive. Even surprising turns fade into comfort; Cassius Jay takes Gin and Juice and flips it into a trap beat for Young Scooter who makes OG Snoop an absolutely weird joy. On Cook Up Young Thug’s purposely distorted voice clicks into synergy with Scooter’s cocksure Juvenile sense of melody, that is the group album that should grow out of Jugg King.
Scooter is great with guests but does not need them. Streets on Fire is a straightforward hi hat first beat produced by Stack Boy Twaun and Scooter deals like it is life’s greatest joy “Jugghouse on a one way, I got four in a row I sold more pounds than Boston George, motherfuck Diego I just stuffed a thousand pounds in a Winnebago” I tip my hat to anyone who can bow out of Jugg King on moral implications. If you don’t want drug dealing to be glorified and Jugg King is too much of an advertisement for the wrong message I get it. Scooter is just too much of a snake charmer for me to let go. He knows how to sway with his tone in subtle softer ways like on Life which gets somber and mixes in anger, pride, shame, and parental joy.
His grand sense of DIY means I don’t even have to ponder his next move. He’s signed to his own label (Black Migo Gang). He’s the Xzibit of trap music. The same way X could jump on Snoop’s album, get Dre to produce for his album and never have to sign to any of them is how Scooter navigates between Freebandz (Future) and 1017 Brick Squad (Gucci) while never losing anyone’s respect. It’s impossible to even watch him sweat under the lights. He’s still smiling.
Stream or download below:
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Tagged 1017 Brick Squad, best mixtapes of 2017, Black Migo Gang, Cassius Jay, Freeband Gang, future, Gucci Mane, Jugg King, Meek Mill, Metro Boomin, mixtape review, Snoop Dogg, Stack Boy Twaun, Xzibit, young scooter, Young Thug, Zaytoven
Mixtape Review-In Tune We Trust by Lil Wayne
Looking back on what Wayne accomplished is shocking, even if you start at 2007. By the end of 2008 he had sold 2.88 million copies of Carter III and changed how pop rap albums sound forever. He created the pop mixtape market with his Dedication series that started in 2005. Wayne didn’t fall out of touch he savagely experimented and when he was wrong he was so committed to that wrong that it was unbearable (see Rebirth).
The lessons Wayne teaches are all present on In Tune We Trust which is likely a collection of loosies he had hanging around. Loyalty kicks off the mixtape with a brilliant first verse from Gudda Gudda. The key here is the beat by ChefBoy’RT is simple but filled with kinetic energy that drives at Weezy speed. Wayne taught us all what energy is. Whenever you hear Kendrick get into his take-over-the-world flow you know that comes from Weezy. In an interview Isaiah Rashad called Wayne the Michael Jordan of rap! You can debate the comparison but even on the low stakes freestyle Magnolia you marvel at how easy the art is for him.
The best song is Fireworks produced by Mike Will Made It. Jeezy kicks off the track with a great verse that puts Wayne into his perfect zone. While Jeezy has a pinpoint verse about success and drug dealing, Weezy wanders and jokes (“whip it like a big booty b__ like a cup of coffee with a spoon in it”) with the flow of a master and the mentality of a thirty four year old perverted Dennis The Menace. The difference in the two approaches makes the song work stand out.
The four song length of In Tune We Trust sets expectations low but it is a reminder that while you may think of Weezy as last era’s guy he is the same age as Future. He has just been professionally rapping before he could legally buy cigarettes. I am dead sure that when he does get his label situation right his next album will be a monster.
Stream or download In Tune We Trust below:
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Tagged 2017 mixtapes, Carter III, Dedication, future, Gudda Gudda, In Tune We Trust, Jeezy, Lil Wayne, mike will made it, mixtape review, Southern Hip Hop, Weezy
Top 5 Takeaways from 2 Future Albums in 2 Weeks
Future just released back to back #1 albums (Future and HNDRXX). I wanted to provide five things to think about as you digest this mass of content. Are these in order of importance?
Don’t be a nerd. No one cares.
- Who is Dre Moon?
Dre Moon is 3 for 3 on HNDRXX (Solo, Incredible, and Hallucinating) with some of my absolute favorite songs. I clicked on his Wikipedia page and it says he wrote Drunk In Love and produced a bunch of beloved Drake songs (off Nothing Was The Same). He also produced I Be U, I’ll Be Yours, and Side Effects off Future’s Honest album(which I think is underrated). I am very glad Future has a relationship with Dre Moon and apparently more people should. He provides a rich sound, a large musical world that never seems crowded.
2. Nothing Future Does is haphazard
Future puts out a lot of music. Even Young Thug told him he should slow down. At times, Future has released bad albums and tastemakers have pronounced his run over only to be embarrassed by the success that followed. Future is like Gucci Mane in that he will release a ton of content and 70% of it is great but that thirty percent is still a lot of bad music and in this fickle age it always seems like he is close to falling off.
3.You can be like Future but you cannot be Future
Future just released 34 songs in two weeks and both albums went number one. Be careful about going big picture and turning to your friends with a simple “this is how things are now,” explanation. This is not how things are for Kendrick or Wale etc etc. Future works better loose and in a zone. If you think it’s easy and your just going to autotune your voice and shout “Content! Content! Content!” you won’t be Future. Desiigner is promising but he is not Future. Future is not mumble rap. Future is really vividly articulating his emotional state of mind like a blockbuster movie. On HNDRXX especially you can hear every word he says.
4. Previously Future’s beef with Ciara has been ugly but now that ugly is terrifying
The Future mixtape Project E.T. made me unhappy. As good as anything on there was that Juice song Future did about killing Ciara was no Bueno. This isn’t a double racial standard. I didn’t like it when Marshall Mathers did the killing my ex songs. HNDRXX takes the anguish Future feels about the relationship and takes it to new emotional heights. Testify never comes right out and declares her as subject matter but it’s mad creepy. As he sings “Anything we go through is a test of times. Can you be the one who loves me all the time?” my hairs stood up on end and then the song ends with him hauntingly repeating “confess your love for me…testify” as his voice fades out. The scariest Ciara moment is CLEARLY My Collection. A superbly disturbing analysis of the mind state a man has after a broken relationship. If you’re looking for TMI moments they are plentiful from crooning “this codeine ain’t got nothin’ to do with my little child!” “She told me she was an angel, she F*&#ed two rappers and three sangers.” The hook is paralyzingly gross without any swearing “…even if I hit you once you part of my collection.” The diseased mind that holds these women in some sort of mental art museum is something Future consciously wanted to observe. It’s clear that part of this is in him and part of this is an artist analyzing the emotions that could happen if he doesn’t let go. The complexity of his anger is so marvelously rendered you can’t be mad. It’s terrifying but the beautiful kind.
5. Future is bigger than trap
Think of it the same way we do Mike Will Made It. When Trap was at its white hottest he was lacing Gucci Mane and giving the genre definition (Metro Boomin certainly took the baton and ran) and now you see his production credits in The Grammys Song of The Year category because he produced Beyoncé’s biggest hit off her new album Lemonade. Future still makes rough and tumble Trap, just listen to Scrape or Draco on the self-titled album, but he smashes pop songs as well. Selfish is the duet with Rihanna which comes to mind first but Incredible is a friendly radio hit. Aside from pop songs HNDRXX has one song with vocals from Mayer Hawthorne and production by Jake One (Lookin’ Exotic). Anyone predict that collaboration? He works with DJ Mustard and Detail for that finger snapping ratchet movement and he knocks it all out of the park. This is what Mike Will taught us about the process. Just because Future started in Trap and elevated it, doesn’t mean that is his limitation. He’s incredibly durable and bubbling over creatively.
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Tagged Atlanta hip hop, best albums of 2017, Ciara, Codeine, Detail, DJ Mustard, Drake, Dre Moon, Freeband Gang, future, Future album, Gucci Mane, HNDRXX, Lemonade, mike will made it, Rihanna, Trap
Worst Song of The Year-Juice by Future
Future released his new mixtape Project E.T. it’s a DJ Esco mixtape but it’s obviously Future. Stereogum and Pitchfork (& others) are saying that Future sounds tired. This is code. He doesn’t actually sound like he needs to catch 8 more hours under silk sheets or take a day to himself on the couch with ice cream and romantic comedies to recharge. He’s just been hitting the same two topics way too hard. 1. Drugs 2. His hatred of Ciara. As mighty as DS2 was it was pretty much those two topics for eighteen songs.
I actually like Project E.T. more than others, it has bangers and less depressing content (in spots) and a hall of fame Juicy J feature but I have a hard time returning for repeat listens knowing that Juice is sitting right there waiting for me. The song starts with the O.J. Simpson verdict being read. He references O.J. Simpson and murder in a creepy sing song before flat out saying “Trying to F*** my baby mama dog what’s up with you? You gon’ make me get the heat, I’m pullin’ up on you.” WHAT?! You’re bragging about sex with hordes of women you have no regard for but you are going to shoot anyone Ciara has sex with? Ciara is supposed to curl up and cease to exist? Look, I can totally digest an album where Future owns being a sh__y person but I can’t do four, five or six of them. These things have a shelf life. You loved the movie Dumb and Dumber but if that was a TV show…how much of it could you have really done? When is the last time you rewatched old Beavis & Butthead?
Morally the song Juice is brutally abhorrent. Ciara has done a lot for music and deserves respect. It’s sickening when a successful rapper turns his anger away from his real challenges (industry competition) to the women who desire and like him or used to. Women get picked on in rap too damn much and while Future had a sloppy divorce and deserves to be able to discuss it, Juice is not a song that a grown up makes.
Sonically the song Juice is tedious to its bones. This isn’t Eminem-Kim this is Eminem Relapse. The same way Em slipped back into that stupid serial killer character to cover up for the fact that he was in an artistically unsure place, Juice is a great way to divert away from reality. Future is not going to kill Ciara and he’s got to deal with life as it is, he could use his music as a way to deal with that. He doesn’t and were all kind of tired of him missing the obvious stuff that needs talking about.
Future isn’t tired.
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Tagged Atl, Atlanta hip hop, Ciara, DJ Esco, Eminem, future, Juice, mixtape review, O.J. Simpson, Project E.T., Song Review, Southern Hip Hop
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
Mixtape Review-MMM by Diddy
Diddy is a human tapeworm. His musical career is characterized by the systematic withdrawal of artistic vitality from those he worked with; G. Dep, Black Rob, Shyne, Loon, Craig Mack and on and on. The distaste I have for Diddy is both cavernous and voluminous in ways that should not be expanded upon. No matter how hostile your relationship to him is no one can deny how good he is as a musical strategist and his new mixtape MMM which stands for Money Makin’ Mitch is absolute proof of that.
How could 2015 music from Diddy not seem dated? He’s richer than god from selling liquor and clothes and doesn’t write his own verses. His label’s biggest star is a poor recalibration of Yelawolf (not sorry Machine Gun Kelly). One key ingredient is that Puff really performs these verses and doesn’t pay for wack ones. On the first real song of the mixtape, Harlem, he takes the first two minutes and forty seconds of the three minutes and thirty six seconds to dominate the song alone(then Grizzle comes in). He clearly doesn’t need to do this but he really invests himself in it. His opening verse on the fantastic collaboration Auction (with King Los, Styles P, and Lil Kim) is airtight and damn near steals the song. The production is genius throughout borrowing just enough from Trap music to feel modern but maintaining the personality of that Harlem World swagger. The Hitmen produce but Hit Boy does 2 beats, Young Chop does 2 as well (Auction is one), TM88, Mike Will Made It and Harry Fraud are also in the mix.
Diddy also knows when enough is enough so he limits the mixtape to thirteen tracks with a few interludes. The theme of the project is conceptualized on the intro,Facts, this mixtape is a fictionalization story of a magical hustler who doesn’t take a hard fall at the end like every real hustler. Money Makin’ Mitch goes happily ever after. This opens the door to endless swagger and guest verses from Travis Scott, Big Sean, Ty Dolla Sign sounds fantastic on You Could Be My Lover, and Future comes through for the title track.
The problem a lot of us are having with MMM is it comes off as a label showcase, a reclaiming of the narrative for Bad Boy as a label….but who is on Bad Boy? French Montana is all over MMM but not in an exciting way he’s the same old French, great hooks and ad libs but not saying much. All the biggest stars on MMM are imports like Ty Dolla Sign, Future, Styles P, and Jadakiss. King Los isn’t on Bad Boy anymore but he definitely shows up, thing is if you didn’t know who Los was before this isn’t going to get you into him. If this is a set up for Puff’s album then it works but what happened to Puff going after talent? Remember when he grabbed hardened street lyricists and polished them into finished stars (Shyne, Biggie, Craig Mack, Black Rob)? I have a list in my head of who would really fit on Bad Boy (1. ASAP ROCKY 2. Action Bronson 3. Troy Ave) but Diddy is throwing energy down the French Montana, Machine Gun Kelly sink hole and that’s his business. I remember when he used to do things we didn’t expect and if he still cares as much as this mixtape makes it seem…he should think about changing directions.
Stream or download MMM below:
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Tagged Bad Boy, Big Sean, French Montana, future, Grizzle, Harry Fraud, Hit Boy, Jadakiss, King Los, Lil Kim, Machine Gun Kelly, mike will made it, mixtape review, MMM, Money Makin' Mitch, Styles P, The Hitmen, TM88, Travis Scott, Ty Dolla $ign, young chop
Song of The Year- Can’t Feel My Face by The Weeknd
I am very excited to sit back and watch all the critics who buried The Weeknd two years ago do a pirouette into Abel Tesfaye appreciation. Compare him to Michael Jackson or Prince if you want. You should never have given up on him so easily. We all rocked House of Balloons in 2011. It was a mixtape moon landing that changed the game…where did you think that genius went?
Anyway, the task that Beauty Behind The Madness tackles is going pop respectfully. Translating the deep hurt and jarring imagery into something that can play on everyone’s radio. Instead of rap features we get Lana Del Ray and Ed Sheeran (the only guests). I don’t think Can’t Feel My Face is my favorite song on the album but it’s a smash. I think Shameless is a more beautiful and intelligently written song but Can’t Feel My Face achieves a forward momentum that we didn’t know was in Abel’s arsenal. The reason people jumped off the bandwagon originally was that listening to The Weeknd felt like something you only did at your lowest point on a rainy day, otherwise you get lost in depression town with a long work day ahead. Can’t Feel My Face is the best example of polishing scary content until it’s too fun to worry about. Even more than Future’s DS2 and that’s saying something.
It’s exciting that he’s taken back this maudlin drugged up party kid character and updated him…because this is his character. I always felt weird hearing other people borrow from the persona while we acted like that’s ok. Now that he’s back dropping gems again, it’s like he says on Tell Your Friends (my favorite song) “Last year I did all the politicking, this year I’mma focus on the vision.” When The Weeknd is all vision the outcome is always something to behold.
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Tagged Abel Tesfaye, Can't Feel My Face, Dirty Sprite 2, Ed Sheeran, future, Future DS2, House Of Balloons, Lana Del Ray, Michael Jackson, Prince, sad drug music, song of the year, The Weeknd, Weeknd