Song Review-Special by Gucci Mane featuring Anuel AA produced by Murda Beatz and Cubeatz
The reasons you should think of Gucci Mane as a genius lyricist are pretty straight forward: 1. Individuality-built his style on his own not a product of anyone or any other movement (in this way I think of him as the E-40 of Atlanta). 2. Bold experimentation-he’s always folding different talents into his universe and letting them inform it (Lil Uzi Vert, Rocko, Young Scooter, etc). 3-Depth-whether it is how he strings the rhyming together, the uniqueness of the words used or the observations… if you really listen Gucci is KILLING his bars.
Gucci Mane dropped a new album called Delusions of Grandeur which at 18 tracks long gives you all the different forms of Gucci on a polished ready-for-primetime level. Production wise he incorporates Kenny Beats, Tay Keith and J.White Did It into the fold with Southside, Zaytoven, and a bunch of recognizable names. Tay Keith did Sicko Mode, J. White Bodak Yellow, and Kenny Beats took Key! And Rico Nasty to the next level on separate projects. Gucci has always been an amazing talent scout and that continues here. Even Justin Bieber is perfectly placed singing the hook on Love Thru The Computer.
In regard to depth, a line on the song Special really blew my mind. He says “Like Cinderella they think I was born with chedda.” I flinched, and was struck by it…wait Cinderella was scrubbing the floor…we know that as the audience…what is he talking about it? As I thought about it the fog lifted. We know Cinderella’s story as the reader but picture the happily ever after of her life. Any person she meets post-“It’s your slipper!”is not going to know what we know. So she will smile keep her chin up, act stately, and live up to what they think she is. The truth is not even something she has the time to explain, nor does she have the faith they would understand. This mirrors his journey. When Delusions of Grandeur broke people were tweeting things like “GUCCI IS THE GOAT!!” “GUCCI NEVER MADE A BAD ALBUM!” I will tell you that when those mixtapes broke people were calling him disgraceful and dumb BEFORE he got an ice cream come tattooed on his face. I was dismissive of him partly because the wrong white hip hop fans wanted him for their new Flavor Flav. Serious people taught me to get serious about him but I was already suspicious based on killer guest features.
That’s what Delusions of Grandeur is about. Being the best at what you do, the last one standing from a generation with no one left that really remembers how hard it was to get there. No one to stop and say “How cool is it that in 2019 Gucci threw Anuel AA on this track to do a Spanish verse.” It’s a song about being special, not just how cool it is but how bizarre it feels.
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Tagged 1017 Brick Squad, Anuel AA, Atlanta hip hop, best albums of 2019, Cubeatz, Delusions of Grandeur, Gucci Mane, J.White Did It, Kenny Beats, Murda Beatz, song reviews, Southern Hip Hop, Tay Keith, Zaytoven
Fight for The Future of Lil Uzi Vert
We complain a lot. All of us do. In Hip Hop, we get mad at youngsters for not doing what the older generations would do. Real rap problems exist: loss of interesting word usage, too much of a focus on ad-libs, drug addiction creating a generation of junked up kids with no goals. Take a moment and acknowledge that Lil Uzi Vert is a strong component in resolving some of these.
At first, Uzi was discounted simply because of the Lil. The Bad and Boujee feature was blistering but Uzi’s audience is his own and real. He has their attention and uses it. XO Tour Lif3 by September 2017 had 1.3 BILLION listens counting all streaming platforms (Wiki info). That song is about suicide mental breakdowns and heartbreak. He helps a suffering generation express acknowledge and process feeling like crap. In and of itself, that is important.
You might have heard he announced his retirement, announced he had label issues. We can’t let any of this happen. We can’t let labels hinder him. We can’t let him fall into whatever took Mac Miller away. I am not just saying this because he means a lot to his generation. I am saying this because I love this genre.
When he dropped the loosey Free Uzi as a youtube video (not on streaming services) it racked up 9.6 Million views but, more importantly, it’s an incredible song. Free Uzi is the Philly phenom exploding with bars, stringing any word he wants easily onto one of raps best flows. The propulsive beat allows him to easily surf while maintaining perfect breathe control. He’s not a mumble rapper, you can hear him saying things like “I remember when them N_’s all laughed at me,” as he dances in a convenience store with his friends. It’s just him having fun and stretching out his legs while breathing fire. It seems like the giant response to Free Uzi pressured his label into letting some more of his music loose.
Conversely, Sanguine Paradise (the first single they let out whatever prison they keep his music in) is a fully fleshed out single ready for the pop charts. The beat is beautiful (very pretty piano that does not slow down the speed of the song) unlike the speedbag flow of Free Uzi, Sanguine Paradise is a more melodic. Every line feels like a chorus.
This dude can dig into mental health, relationships, or just brag on a level where he becomes James Spader from Pretty In Pink, and SPIT. Find 1017 vs. The World mixtape and listen to him trade with a sober Gucci and stand tall. Not anyone can do that. I genuinely think this dude is the light of a new generation and if you don’t understand “the kids” you should listen to him. He’s the best chance you have.
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Tagged 1017 vs the world, Free Uzi, Gucci Mane, hip hop, hip hop reviews, James Spader, Lil Uzi Vert, Mac Miller, Pretty In Pink, Sanguine Paradise, XOTourlif3
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
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
Mixtape Review-1017 Vs. The World by Gucci Mane & Lil Uzi Vert
Gucci Mane is the Hunter S Thompson of hip hop. While I love Hunter I have never done drugs so I have very few people I can actually share that love with. People get swept up in the drugs and the Ice Cream Cone and forget about Gucci’s craft. Ever since Gucci was released the end of May, he has been laser sharp and out to prove a point. It’s a credit to Lil Uzi Vert that he is able to reach the bar Gucci sets on 1017 Vs. The World.
You know that no one is sleepwalking from the first song. Changed My Phone is audacious and loud and brash. Lil Uzi handles the chorus with intent for you to sing along while Gucci threatens to bury Nas at the bottom of the ocean with the manatees. C Note is the man behind the first two songs and they fit the classically melodic follow the bouncing ball flow but at least they are snarling and bass driven enough to be fun. Too much trap ends up a depressed drug stupor.
The reason I had a hard time getting into Lil Uzi Vert’s career ascension was that his melodic flow is so natural I missed the fact that he was still spitting with impressive technique. While Gucci drops the most rewindable verse of the mixtape on Blonde Brigitte featuring “My ex keep going down memory lane like Minnie Rip-er-ton ho!” Uzi throws down two minutes and twenty seconds in. His confidence level and sensational ability to make everything singable give him a rightful place wherever he wants. I am by no means framing this as a passing-the-torch thing Uzi is not the next Gucci but he very well could be the next Young Scooter.
The knock on 1017 Vs The World is the same on all top tier trap related mixtapes. While a top tier rapper can take risks when he gets enough power (see Kanye West, Kendrick, etc) top tier trap rappers are beholden to the same stable of producers. The same way I can’t eat nothing but pizza or I’ll die I can’t listen to toxic levels of Zaytoven(good thing this project is only 7 songs 2 by Zaytoven).Threesome is a paint by numbers Zaytoven beat. This is the kind of minimal off-key stuff he has gigabytes of hanging around. I yearn for something to change (this is probably why Mike Will Made It is doing more pop stuff to challenge himself).
The best beat is In ’04 by DP Beatz which drops out and charges back in to accentuate Vert’s best performance. Now that Gucci is out he has a rumored album with everyone but Kanye is the one I want for Gucci. I want this, semi-cleaned up, wild eyed wordsmith over the lavish sonic tapestry of Ye’s universe. Listen to 1017 Vs. The World and I think you’ll agree.
Stream or download 1017 Vs. The World below:
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-Black Dollar by Rick Ross
Rick Ross has been artistically splitting in half recently. The dirty Miami bass of Hood Billionaire v. the wordy luxury of God Forgives, I Don’t. The smooth J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League Yacht Club sound of Deeper Than Rap v. the deep growling muscle of Lex Luger’s production on The Albert Anastasia Ep. The problem is not his capability to do both but the distance between the two versions of Ross. His new mixtape Black Dollar (it’s really a free album) answers the million dollar question: how do you bring it all together and make any sense out of the result?
J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League definitely leaves an imprint on Black Dollar they heighten rather than smooth out all the rough edges. The production on the first song Foreclosures is soulful to a ghostly extent that allows Ross to dig into the somber complexity of financial irresponsibility and the chaos that new money brings to the ecosystem around it. He doesn’t just talk about label deals and recouping he goes bigger “Young N’s time to act your wage! Buying belts you seen on other N’s waist. Ho’s F’ing for photos they want to post online, whole time shorty knowin’ I’m the gold mine.” The most J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League moment is without a doubt Icon featuring Anthony Hamilton which leverages Hamilton’s soulful voice against their plush landscape. The light piano keys might lead you to think this is a gentle celebratory song if not for Ross ceaselessly spitting fiery decadent gangsta brags.
Jay-z isn’t just directly mentioned on several occasions but the collaboration between Ross and Meek (World’s Finest) comes on a beat that flips the Reasonable Doubt beat Brooklyn’s Finest. Black Dollar as a whole has a jazzy/soulful production feel clearly derived from Jay’s Blueprint. He wanted to take the air out of that luxury all-white-on-a-boat music and do more than growl over dirty beats. The newer streamlined middle ground gives room for our narrator to just blow. His verses are long and breezy, words just roll into each other easily and we go from crack brags to restauranteur brags feeling the link.
Bill Gates is a weird beat with an odd chunky rhythm that not everyone could manage. It’s indicative of the lyrical development of Rick Ross. He reads Robert Greene books, balances his accounts, and writes verses. Knights of The Templar is creepy as heck partially because it develops out of a Scarface soundtrack sample but also due to how easily Ross can connect telling his story on Oprah to murder and then to Jake The Snake Roberts.
If anything feels out of place, for me, it’s Money & The Powder which is a thick slow thump through a chorus that gets repeated far too often. It’s not a bad song it just doesn’t fit amongst the finest content present elsewhere. By contrast, Drive a Nigga Crazy is by far my favorite song on the mixtape and one of my favorite songs this year. The strings attack your ears and the beat backs it up. Ross sounds at his most confident and his flow is straight up hypnosis
The only features on Black Dollar are people Ross loves to be on songs with: Meek Mill, Wale, Future, The Dream, Anthony Hamilton, Gucci Mane who has the best guest verse, and August Alsina). However you feel about the bawse the rap world is a far more interesting place with Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, and Gucci Mane at their best. They provide motivation for the hard heads; the people who don’t care how good Drake is, dudes who want prison weight lifting music or young men huddled in smoke boxed vehicles getting motivated. Sure the streets need Rick Ross but not just the streets you’re thinking of. Rick Ross’s sonic universe is Game of Thrones at this point; even if you don’t watch you HAVE to know what’s going on.
stream or download Black Dollar below:
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Tagged 2015 albums, 2015 mixtapes, Anthony Hamilton, Black Dollar, Gucci Mane, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Jay-Z, Lex Luger, luxury, Maybach Music, Meek Mill, MMG, Reasonable Doubt, Rick Ross, the two rick ross's, v. hood, Young Jeezy