Mixtape Review-Red Corolla by Domo Genesis
Odd Future turned out to be a pretty awesome buffet of talent you could pick and choose from. I chose Domo Genesis from the very beginning, a no nonsense rappers rapper with an endless appetite to spit. When Domo put his debut album out last year he was in his Sunday best bringing buttery R & B singers in to hit the hooks, high profile guest verses, and jazzy production with horns or piano or both. Genesis is fine but it doesn’t play to his strengths like this year’s project Red Corolla.
It is ten tight tracks and none of them are long; none of them are overly conceptual. The production is short stabbing sounds over big drums. Evidence and Hi-Tek fit perfectly in the mix. Only two guest features pop in and both are fantastic. King Chip leads the way in the standout collaboration Honestly, Just Wanna Have A Good Time and Styles P drops another dope guest verse (for his guest verse hall of fame portfolio) on Overthinking.
The production is better because it provides tension that pushes Domo forward. The gentle plink of piano keys doesn’t feed the adrenaline in the same way these beats do, they push him to push harder. Even a song like Vintage Doms that you can think of as a straight up exercise in rapping is full of gems: “With a swag meaner than a broke bitch,” “Since Bishop fell up off the roof the juice I got it now.” He still brings melody in when he feels like it, on What It Means he kicks things off catchy with a splendidly sung hook but clears room for bar after bar afterward.
All the decisions he makes fit the concept of the red corolla, the cheap car that grounds his experiences. On the title track he explains it on the first verse.
“No longer focused on my broken ways
All I know’s the only way is to get loaded paid
But funny how the changes turn page when the dough exchange
Got me trying to float away
Back to red Corolla days”
It is a clear concept but one with enough room to breathe as a writer. The decisions just have to fit the personality of the man who once drove that vehicle. Red Corolla might be my favorite mixtape of the year and I don’t know if it has to do with the pure lack of rapping rappers we have now. Not taking any shots but guys like Domo who fearlessly lace rhymes are a rare breed at this point. It has made me a better listener and more appreciative. Mixtape Domo doesn’t have any concern about what will fit on the radio or jump up to first single level importance he just does the work and it all fits together perfectly.
I’m not saying album Domo isn’t valuable; I just want a bridge built between the two so we can arrive at a sonic compromise that makes everyone happy.
Stream or Download Red Corrolla below:
Song of the New Year-See You Down by King Chip
I would like to present King Chip with The Pretty Tony award for hidden gems. Pretty Tony is easily the second best solo album Ghostface Killah ever produced (I love me some Fishscale guys I’m just saying), the problem was he produced it at a time when Def Jam first forgot how to market rap music. When I saw it in my local record store (yes we used to have local record stores when I was young) I thought they were stocking bootleg mixtape compilations. It still stands as one of the truly perfect slept on non-limelight albums.
Likewise, Chips new album Clevelafornia arrived to a literal anti-buzz. Die hard fans of Chip (I am probably pretty close at this point) were tweeting things like “Chip has an album?!” He does and it’s the first important one of 2016. I’m not going to start trashing his label for not pushing him; Chip must be a marketing challenge. He doesn’t have a professorial teaching angle, not an honest to god gangsta rapper with a spellbinding flow. His voice is so gruff you can lose track of how brilliant he is with chorus’s. Every hook on Clevelafornia is proper. I love this song because as direct as it is about the culture of negativity that surrounds public figures it doesn’t wallow at all. This is still an anthem, one that plays in Chip’s head at award shows when his name is called and everyone wants to see him fall on his face. This song is in his mind playing, keeping his feet steady.
Don’t forget about Chip. Don’t sleep on something different when we as an audience spend so much time complaining about the people who sound the same.
Stream the song below:
Mixtape Review-Produce vol. 1 by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
One of the uncomfortable conversations I will be forced to have with my son is how our generation turned Pop Music into a negative term for simple elitist gains. We snickered at chart topping hits and re-classified the ones we liked into other genres. Whoomp There It Is was pop music but surely Smells Like Teen Spirit wasn’t even though both were overexposed. As we got older the questions became too much. Was Buddy Holly Pop Music? If I hate Pop so much how come I know the lyrics to every Queen song? Any re-examination turned our group pretension into a fun-house mirror of distinction leaving one real apparent truth. Bottom line-we need our pop music.
Life is full of terrible things: uncomfortable talks on public transportation, dental appointments, embarrassing public school moments, interaction with comically ineffective authority figures that change the course of your life and you need happy music for some of that. When Dale Jr. Jr. decided to put out a mixtape following what I thought of as the best album of 2013(The Speed of Things) it threw some for a loop but made perfect sense to me. Listening to Jr. Jr. is like Tommy James and the Shondells laid lush pop classics over Gangstarr era Primo beats. As smooth and buoyant as their music is it always bangs with a hip hop car stereo flavor. The sixteen tracks that Produce Vol. 1 consists of are full of surprises however.
What sinks a lot of rockers hip hop mixtapes is trying to utilize it as an opportunity to assert some sort of toughness they don’t normally get to highlight. It ends up coming off like a mockery of the medium. Dale Jr. Jr. see it purely as a way to have fun in different ways like putting Biggie lyrics over the Beach Boys song I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times and getting sublime results(Beach Boy Biggie). The rappers pulled in for guest verses are expertly selected including names like King Chip, Chuck Inglish, Murs, and Asher Roth. Murs does an amazing job with his tale of love turned racial violence in Lover Lover Lover but the songs I love the most are the outlandishly danceable ones like the War Zone Goldenboyz remix or Jean Jacket Girl. It can be dismissed as cute but cute is valuable and if done properly can be brilliant.
Right from the first song (Old Friend From The Radio) Produce Vol. 1 aims for one goal-to be as fun as possible and it hits that target. With a beat that Pun would have loved Asher Roth spits crazy references(on Curtain Call) and you forget all the pre-text about his career and whether he sucks or not. The vocals are brilliantly sung over a background of clatter that shakes with countless elements jingling together in a kind of Muppet-like happy madness. It’s not supposed to be a cohesive artistic statement just a fun way to explore their style fully while showing datpiff kids who hadn’t heard of them what they bring to the table. It’s also great for waiting at the Dentists office.
Stream of Download Produce Vol. 1 below:
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Tagged Asher Roth, Biggie Smalls, Chuck Inglish, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., datpiff, King Chip, mixtape reviews, Murs, pop music, Produce Vol. 1, rock music, The Beach Boys
Mixtape Review-King Chip-44108
Who is King Chip? He’s the sound coming through the weed smoke in fleets of Fleetwoods, the head nodding stimuli in clusters of Caddy’s all throughout the Midwest. Before his new mixtape 44108 came out I felt like it was going to be important. I was nervous.
Chip is not one of those “flood the market” dudes. He releases long conscientiously assembled mixtapes and he’s been getting better with each one. This strategy requires a lot of patience and patience necessitates forethought which always pays off.
Named after the zip code for his hometown Cleveland, Ohio 44108 is filled with a diverse array of shocking moments. A couple tougher than beef jerky Lex Luger tracks that Chip chews through (Stand Up King and Its Real w/ Fat Trel), smash hits that could dominate the radio (Another You w/ Tony Williams and Kanye West or Vortex w/ Kid Cudi and Pusha T) and shocking hardcore. A N Shot Me feels like early Ice T hardcore story-song, Police in The Trunk has Chip wrapping a police officer up in a blanket and throwing him in the trunk. 44108 has tough music in abundance; sometimes the tracks are stylized mayhem like Thornhill Dr. but the most shocking moments are genuine parts of Chip confessional. Whenever a song begins “My N’s own father shot him in the stomach like four times, he took a step back looked his pops in the eyes and he survived (B*%^ A$$ World),” the artist has your total attention. Chip’s pen is mightier than it has ever been.
The biggest development in Chip is that 44108 is chock full of quotable verse that not only feel necessary but essential. I’m not talking about profound digressions about the world I’m talking about laugh out loud stuff like “I told her to save my name as Shaft, Long in her damn phone,” from Another You or “please excuse my bluntness, oh you don’t smoke…well scuse my blunt B#$%” from Stand Up King. He’s always had the ability to create a vibe in his music that carries it (I’ve always associated this with his close connection to Kid Cudi) and still does on tracks that meander at a gorgeous pace like Actavis but this time he’s rapping on a different level. I’m talking about song of the year candidate If I Die Today where he spits alongside MJG and Scarface(MJG says when he dies bury him in the liquor store)…and holds his own. 44108 see’s King Chip rap alongside Pusha T, Layzie Bone, Fat Trel, Freddie Gibbs, GLC, Travi$ Scott and never once get outshined.
That’s not his greatest accomplishment. He gets great features and great production and really always has. BLK On BLK is one of the best Cardo beats I’ve heard in two years and its suitably bookended with beats from top producers but Chip owns them. He blasts through ever verse, every hook like this is his shot. 44108 proves that King Chip doesn’t really need any gimmicks or proper timing to climb the ladder. He’s climbing it regardless.
stream or download 44108 below: