Tag Archives: Lex Luger

Mixtape Review-The Motivational Speech by Curren$y & Lex Luger

Mixtape Review-The Motivational Speech by Curren$y & Lex Luger

by Dan-O

Simple story: 2 critically important figures in the history of hip hop link up and prove to the world why they had the power to change it in the first place. If you roll back through Luger’s best beats none of them are timestamped or outdated. Luger changed how trunks rattled forever he redefined loud for a generation and he’ll never lose that touch. From the opening song of The Motivational Speech (Get to It) the bass comes like a tsunami and the 808’s dance over top of the waves.

In six songs Curren$y manages to add an important paragraph to his legacy. When his brilliant Pilot Talk series was reissued in one set we all had to reassess Spitta’s place in history. Back when he was dropping projects fast and furious the rep was that he was a rap machine who could drop an EP every week. The Motivational Speech highlights a very different aspect of the New Orleans legend (sorry, all time great MC). As underground and independent as he is Curren$y has smash hit songs that stick in your head and form a titanic playlist. From 2010’s Michael Knight to 2012’s Armoire to 2015’s Bottom of The Bottle to 2017’s Pressure or In The Lot. So many songs here are hooky melodic and sing a long worthy but each has the same lyrically unique perspective that draws you in. On Michael Knight Spitta said “I got high’d up so I could autograph the sky.” It set him apart in that he could bring tension hostility and danger to his verses but he also knew how to release it and marvel at the world.

He’s utilized that durability time and time again working with every important producer: Alchemist, Harry Fraud, TM88, Ski Beatz, Cool & Dre, Cookin’ Soul & on & on. He is always his own “so offbeat I’m back onbeat” self but the textures are different. Luger brings out the teeth, paranoia, and deep determination he first committed to history on the most beautiful album about asserting independence (Pilot Talk). I love The Motivational Speech and I would love more collaboration between Luger and Spitta but I love just about every major project he releases. If he wants to make a more polished radio friendly Canal Street Confidential or talk fly @$$ ISH like Legend of Harvard Blue I’m too deep into appreciating to send requests. I love all directions of Spitta.

It is magic to hear an elite MC slay a Luger beat again. Luger proves to be the southern Just Blaze.  Let The Motivational Speech teach you how to Just Enjoy This life.

Stream or download The Motivational Speech below:





Mixtape Review-Black Dollar by Rick Ross

Mixtape Review-Black Dollar by Rick Ross

by Dan-O

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:


Classic Relisten: The Albert Anastasia EP by Rick Ross

Classic Relisten: The Albert Anastasia EP by Rick Ross

by Dan-O

I know some very intelligent hip hop fans that can’t comprehend what makes Rick Ross so darn popular. They see the cartoonish imagery of a man wearing a gold medallion of his own face, making up mob stories and passing them all off as real and despise him. Some people might think that this is an old school vs. new school debate but I’m not sure. I think some musical projects are classics but we are scared to admit it for an assortment of reasons. The Albert Anastasia EP is exactly that.

When Dr. Dre dropped The Chronic in 1993 it made a gangster mentality so appetizingly palpable that rich kids memorized every word. Across the nation roughnecks rode to it but middle class kids were dreaming of putting hydraulics in their parent’s car. Over time those layers of fans learned new terminology and perspectives and the hardcore pre-existing fans of hip hop had to accept their newfound commonality. As beloved as that album is today it wasn’t universally so, not then.

Rick Ross did something very similar in 2010 with The Albert Anastasia EP. Blowin Money Fast was everywhere and kids were screaming Big Meech and Larry Hoover with absolutely no intention of googling who they are. The thick bigger-than-your-headphones sound of Lex Luger was at its ageless peak on MC Hammer and BMF but that’s not what makes this a classic. Forget the fact that the biggest hit song of the year came off a mixtape and what that did for the medium. Forget that the project somehow mixed the strangest guest stars in one place and worked (Ne-Yo, Kool G Rap, Birdman, John Legend, and Styles P). It’s the agelessness of Albert Anastasia that sets it apart in history.

Rick Ross has a ceaseless dedication to his flow throughout that’s hypnotizing. Half the time you know exactly what he’s going to rap next (even if you’ve never heard it before) but he somehow flips that into a positive. 300 Soldiers, MC Hammer, and Blowin Money Fast are dick grabbing mean mug sing-a-longs for everyone. The lyrics all seem to grow out of the melody; just the right words arranged to keep that avalanche of momentum carrying over. On Money Maker when he says “Where that Bugatti driver? Where that big booty diver? Where that Rocky roll I rocka? Where that new body slider?” you never feel a connection to great lyricism but you enjoy it the way people did when they first heard Elton John sing Crocodile Rock or Benny and The Jets.

So its fun; fun on a legendary level and every year I listen at least a few times. The luxury in Maybach Music isn’t just in the lifestyle it’s in the music. Doesn’t matter how you feel about Ne-yo or Yo Gotti its how their used and as a conductor Ross is flawless on The Albert Anastasia EP. How good is Rick Ross? Fans of his reading this are yelling at their screens “This isn’t even his best mixtape?!” You could prefer Ashes to Ashes or last years Rich Forever and I could not argue with you. I just love to hear the bonus track Nasty and can listen too it until I’m told I can’t anymore. I even love the rambling Diddy Intro. Over the years all its faults have fallen away and what’s left endures even better than it did when I first heard it. If anyone asks you what classic even means, that’s it.

stream or download The Albert Anastasia EP below:


Mixtape Review-King Chip-44108

Mixtape Review-King Chip-44108

by Dan-O

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:


Project Pat-Cheez N Dope mixtape review

Project Pat-Cheez N Dope mixtape review

by Dan-O

History is not always written by the winners. Sometimes it gets written by random people. For most of my generation all narratives formed about hip hop were written from New York publications, often times about New York Hip Hop. Once Southern hip hop took over the radio (as West Coast Hip Hop did before it) these outlets were forced to accept it and begrudgingly, they did; as did hipster alternative blogs. Where I live, in Maine, the most common Southern Hip Hop phrase is “I love Southern Hip Hop I listen to Outkast.”

It’s easy to understand how unique someone like Gucci Mane can seem if you don’t know who Project Pat is. He knows though. When a diss song called “Birds Of A Feather(All My N#$%’s)” surfaced it had Gucci doing his thing: dissing TI, Young Jeezy, Yo Gotti and everyone else but in the midst of all the ill will he admitted who his favorite rapper is…and it’s still Project Pat.

The Memphis legend’s mixtape from earlier this year named Cheez N Dope is likely the reason for that. If this art form is known to explore the bad guy character, no one has done it more thoroughly than Project Pat. Its twenty six tracks long with six interludes and an intro which for anyone else would break up the flow and consistency of the project; for Cheez N Dope they make a strange kind of sense; a rambling unhinged narrative that holds together an aggressive body of work. Drumma Boy and Lex Luger lend their trademark spooky muscular bounce to the menacing landscape of penitentiary talk, strip club scenery and gun shot sound effects.

This mixtape came out in January and its June right now, no singular project stands as more unremittingly hard-hitting; from its first real song Bare Face Robbem all the way to track twenty six You Kno What It Is (which opens with Pat putting a gun in someone’s face and asking to open the safe). In a sing song sway of a flow he laces remorseless sexist and violent verse after verse that I can’t get enough of. As an example “…needed her light bill paid her knees hit the floor, oh my golly on that molly she’s a sexy dolly, ran through her p*&$% like some tracks my dick the trolly (Papers N Cups).”

If you are looking for an example of how cruel and politically incorrect hip hop is Cheez N Dope would be a great political football. It’s completely unapologetic and because of that just as cohesive. Getting sucked into it is like entering a different world, maybe its best to think of Project Pat as the hip hop version of Johnny Rotten spitting into the crowd or Lemmy growling Ace of Spades. He wears the persona so completely that the five guest verses from associate Nasty Mane seem only to highlight the difference between legendarily nasty and common place nasty.

Southern Hip Hop history isn’t a tidy mixture of UGK and Outkast, its 8ball & MJG cracking skulls, Devin The Dude in the bathroom (Boo Boo’n) and Project Pat playing with his voice while he threatens everyone. His music is more hardcore right now than Gucci Mane, Chief Keef or anyone else in the mixtape universe. Drank and That Strong, Weed Smoke, and Jack One are mean mug classics as harsh as they are catchy and proper respect should go to DJ Spinz, Lil Awree, Ricky Racks, and everyone who brought this ugly pulsing sound to Project Pat. I’m sure he sneered when he heard every beat, as ugly and depraved as Trap degenerates into the more it fits him like a glove. How scary is that?

Nastiest track-Burn Me A N#$%%

Least Nasty track-Keep It 1 Hunnid

stream or download Cheez N Dope below:


Curren$y-New Jet City review

Curren$y-New Jet City review

by Dan-O

So many rappers have claimed a link between their lyrics and the novels of Donald Goines. I don’t think any of them do it as a shallow reputation boost, Goines is still the biggest selling African American author in history…a jailed genius who spun ghetto landscape into Shakespearean tragedy. For those who grew up with Daddy Cool and Whoreson its a standard you shoot for. Curren$y’s mixtape New Jet City which dropped on super bowl Sunday is the closest thing to Goines you can find(outside of early Ice-T).

It gets its name from the movie New Jack City which is a pretty clear rise and fall story, Nino Brown and his crew take power, ruin themselves with it and pay the price. The New Orleans MC has always been able to spin specific images that grip you from a laid back drawl, conversing this time about peanut butter colored leather and brown liquor but it’s the tiny fragments of concern and contemplation that texture the experience. On Clear for instance, Jadakiss weaves punch lines like “You ain’t got enough bars, bad service,” but the line that sticks the most is Spitta’s own sports metaphor gone street “Speed kills and them newer cats is mad quick.” A lot of New Jet City is bragging but even that is Jay in ’96 great “We on Yachts waving, champagne cases, cocaine traces found seeping from the speakers when the bass kick (New Jet City).” It’s not just the conversational form he’s honed over the years or the high level of wordplay he brings its meticulous relaxation.

This year has already had a few high profile mixtape flops that made me reconsider the countdown mechanism on these mixtape websites. As I stare into the ticker waiting for the tape to be released I build unfair expectations, the hype takes hold and the product never stands up to it. Curren$y should have fallen into that trap; this project features guest verses from Juvenile, Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, Kiss, Styles P, multiple Lex Luger beats, Harry Fraud. It seemed bound to be epic and came out subtle…with one exception.

New Jet City orbits around the third track(Choosin’) a song which features both Khalifa and Ross alongside one of the best Luger beats in recent memory. The stomping bass and hand claps are complimented by a chorus featuring two car sound effects made by Curren$y. It’s the type of song you could listen too every day and not get sick of. The rest of the tape is nothing like it. Luger contributes the wonderfully heavy footed Coolie in The Cut but King Thelonius is the production core giving everything he touches a soulful propulsion. Living for the City might be the dopest track of them all and its only two minutes and ten seconds long. This is what I mean by meticulous relaxation. As stoned and unconcerned as he seems to be he is exactly that amount controlling mastermind. It’s no accident that this has the most subdued Juicy J verse we’ve heard in years, a fourteen track maximum with at least one barely over one minute long. He’s not a gifted smoker but an artist controlling every element of your headphones canvas.

Upon first listening you might sit back and lightly remark how good it is, seven listenings later it’ll be different. You’ll get how seriously he takes this, how serious he is about smoking, women, and a life of personal determination bound for success with no second option. “Impressed with how I dress and this ain’t sh#t B I’m just chillin’ I’m never stressed never let em see me sweat (Three 60).” He never does but we can feel that he will and were rooting for him. It’s the same we all felt reading Donald Goines main characters.

Stream or Download New Jet City below: