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
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-Trapzuse by Zuse
Having a non-traditional flow or style is cooler than it’s ever been. Weirdo rap runs strong not just from Rich Homie Quan and Young Thug but IloveMakonnen and down the line. That doesn’t mean that some things don’t still take some time to get used too.
I think it takes a project and a half to really fully get behind Zuse. I’ve listened to everything he’s ever put out, largely because of the massive critical acclaim his uniqueness brings, but his newest mixtape (Trapzuse) is on another level above anything he’s done previously. Half of that has to do with the level of production, which has destroyed my preferred headphones (Metro Boomin produced one of the only songs that didn’t bass-destroy my audio setup). The Drumaticz did three songs and deserve a huge shout out. The production is so good that you don’t even realize Metro Boomin and Sonny Digital are a part of this; they don’t really stand out amongst the great contributions everyone makes.
The other half of why Trapzuse rocks has to do with assimilating my ears to the very authentically reggae flow that Zuse has perfected. Once you tune yourself to it you can catch the tongue twisting alliteration on Chipotle, the chilling murder scenario at the end of I Can’t Wait. His hooks have taken a massive step up and are now in the top tier of available trap. On every song he’s chopping chickens and hitting the hook like a heavy bag but it works. Run To It is expertly sung. His voice actually gets weirder on Trappin On Da Clock as he stretches the first word and repeats it following it with the other three in one bunch (holding the end of the last word until you beg for him to let it go). As hip hop listeners we are used to reggae rap in the KRS-ONE way; the I’m-going-to-do-this-for-a-song-or-two, maybe-a-verse-here-or-there, but-I’ll-come-back-to-the-standard-so-don’t-worry style. Zuse has been polishing this flow for a while, it’s all he does and it shines.
The weirdo superbowl takes place on the fourth track: Plug is Latino when Young Thug comes together with Zuse who sounds even brusquer than usual to counter the high and meandering tones of Thugga. It’s everything a weirdo rap fan could hope for; two mad flow scientists just having a ball.
I love this mixtape front to back but the truly strange thing is that the three best songs are the last three. As it ends Trapzuse feels like it is the prequel to some next project that is even more powerful, focused, catchy and strange. Money Come should be a pretty standard I’m-out-for-this-money song but Zuse throws down! His third verse is as good as any trap verse in 2015 and the chorus has infinite replayability. Till I Die might be the best beat on the project; it just writhes and twitches and bumps while Zuse delivers a muted and heartfelt ballad about staying alive. Post Malone has my favorite feature on my favorite song on Trapzuse. Before we are a minute into On God Post Malone is laughing in the background as Zuse brags about mixing Reggae with rap and confusing the world. It’s fabulous adrenaline altering braggadocio and the essence of Trapzuse. He manages to do all the things we are used to in a way that sounds completely different. The energy is contagious.
Stream or download Trapzuse below:
Mixtape Review-Necessary Evil: The Preface by Yung Joey
However you feel about the trap and drill section of the rap universe when you see a mixtape with production credits that include Southside, 808 Mafia, Metro Boomin, Mike Will Made It and features from LL Cool J and Dej Loaf…you have to take notice. Instead of putting out another long and arduous 19 track mixtape where all the production sounds the same (common in the trap/drill world) Yung Joey gives us a project that is equal parts lean and mean.
The combination of the massive ugly thump that well done Trap production provides and the slick Jamaica Queens delivery of Joey creates a different vibe. His reference points are different (see: out of nowhere Silence of The Lambs mention on What Up) and he’s not married to the vocal meter Trap usually necessitates. His slick NY goon talk is always visceral and hostile matching the production perfectly, but he doesn’t need to shout to be scary.
While some of the beats kind of sound like bass avalanches others are smokey and soaring. Big Dawg is produced by Southside, 808 Mafia and Metro Boomin’ which is like having the three producers of the strongest coffee brew a batch together. Not only is the bass overwhelming but it has hisses whirs and pops going in the background that are positively fascinating. Joey raps fast when the time is right and slows down, elongating his swears, when the time is right.
The promising part of Necessary Evil is that its best parts are merely teasers. You can’t begrudge a mixtape for leading you into the album and ReRock ,in particular, is quite effective at this. The version here is one minute and thirty seconds long but I’m certain the full song is saved somewhere safe for the official release. It’s too nasty and gorgeous to just hand out as some sort of interlude. Doe Pesci makes it spooky and thumping while Joey whips drugs like he’s whipping up grits. Doe does four of the ten total tracks and really does have the best ear for what Joey hopes to achieve. A window into the present day and future that incorporates the fun and street sensibilities of trap while staying true to all the complex contradictory elements of a NY rap personality. Road To Riches sounds like it could be on a Mobb Deep album if Doe hadn’t tweaked it fifteen degrees into trap territory.
So Joey can pull off classic NY sound enough to make LL Cool J comfortable and fresh on I Can Tell You (thank you The Audible Doctor). He sings the chorus and doesn’t try to overextend his voice. Joey works his strengths and lays a mean verse into the proceedings. Lyrically he doesn’t change the world on Necessary Evil but he does enough to keep your eyes wide open and your ears attentive. When he says “So much pressure to be great the sh## be stressin’ me, my cousin F’d the game I told him keep it wet for me…” on the song High it sends a tremor of surprise through you. He just knows those push button phrases and where to sprinkle them, how to take advantage of the spotlight they draw to convey what he wants to say. I was guilty of not paying enough attention to Joey before this but if he can step up with this many people behind him and win like this…I need to do my homework. Add another page to the book of people on the move.
Stream or download Necessary Evil: The Preface below:
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Tagged 2015 mixtapes, 808 mafia, Dej Loaf, Doe Pesci, livemixtapes, LL Cool J, Metro Boomin, mike will made it, Mobb Deep, Necessary Evil, New York Hip Hop, NY goon talk, NY Hip Hop, Queens, Southside, The Audible Doctor, The Preface, Trap, Yung Joey
Song of The Year-I Serve The Base by Future produced by Metro Boomin’
I’ve disliked everything Future put out this year…on first listen. As a listener I was too accustomed to the passionate determination music. Future puts so much of himself into his flow that through the robotic vocal effect you really feel that he’s being honest. So when his content took a dark turn I believed that too and it threw me off. I was consumed with his hostile lean music as a cry for help and I missing the god damn music.
What Future is saying in I Serve The Base isn’t just horrifying it’s fascinating “I can’t change I was god given, tried to make me a pop star and they made a monster.” Now he’s talking about things that he hasn’t touched before and sometimes it makes me uncomfortable, that’s because he’s doing it right.
The other person doing it right is Metro Boomin’ who is listed as at least co-producer of ten out of the thirteen primary tracks on DS2. He’s the guy you need in your address book if you want it louder than you’ve ever had it. He will figure out how to do that. Some people aren’t looking for loud, they want dusty or smoky or minimal…call Metro Boomin’ for LOUDER than what you imagined.
Both Metro and Future have taken on the mission: to make this the loudest and most audaciously fun depressing album of 2015. Have you looked at the track titles on DS2? Some Examples: Slave Master, The Percocet & Stripper Joint, Blow A Bag, Blood On The Money. Like all this year’s greatest albums DS2 can’t really be judged by its first listen but by its fifth. Once you think you’ve heard everything and find yourself getting lost in all the things you missed. My first reaction wasn’t unfounded; it’s a hopeless project put out by someone with clear problems…but it sounds amazing. Both things can be true.
Song of The Year-Club Goin’ Up On A Tuesday by ILoveMakonnen produced by Sonny Digital & Metro Boomin
Whenever the 2014 mixtape universe gets discussed a large part of that shouting match is dedicated to how delightfully strange Atlanta hip hop has been. The first name given as an example of the engaging ATL oddity is ILoveMakonnen. His self titled ep glistens sonically with extremely polished production (a lot of it comes from Metro Boomin and Sonny Digital) running its seven track length. With no real guests to speak of it’s the kind of full introduction that earns you a fanbase.
I have no idea whether ILoveMakonnen has a great voice or not (listen to Tonight and tell me). His sing-shouting covers a lot of tracks. I know he creates fascinating herky jerky melodies over a completely different kind of production from Young Thug, Gucci Mane or any ATL trap sing/shouter. Interestingly enough he’s using the same producers those guys go too. His skill set allows them to stake out trails in different directions. It’s still muted and bass beautiful but the foggy remnants of a club beat are barely visible through the haze of broken trap space. He doesn’t seem to be interested in goofing around with his voice like Young Thug but he does do drug talk. It just feels like drug talk from space(like trap discovering David Bowie). Not only is this one of the best songs of the year but the ILoveMakonnen EP is one of the very best short form listens in 2014 hip hop. Not just from Atlanta. From anywhere.
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Tagged Atlanta hip hop, David Bowie, Drug Talk from Space, Gucci Mane, hip hop, ILoveMakonnen, ILoveMakonnen EP, Metro Boomin, song of the year, Sonny Digital, Trap, Young Thug
Mixtape Review-Real Nigga Shit by Kolley
While it’s easier to be a Southern rapper than it ever has been, it really depends on how Southern you are considered. UGK and Outkast are deeply embedded in the public mind as architects of the south. If you ask the same hip hop elitist who reps these groups if he has the same affection for Eightball & MJG or Goodie Mobb you’d be surprised at the rebuff. Some artists are TOO Southern and still make the industry uncomfortable.
The cover of Kolley’s new mixtape Real Nigga Shit is about as uncomfortably in your face as possible. He’s flexing gold teeth with his chain in his mouth; inside his gold shades gifs of dancing lady butt and money fans dominate. This mixtape is not for the faint of heart and it’s also not for the tragedy chasers who need their Southern rappers to be ignorant lean sipping Kamikaze cases. Kolley is not rapping about how pointlessly off track his life is; it’s quite the opposite. This MC with a beasts voice from Bassfield, Mississippi (2000 Census said it had a population of 315 people) tells us right off the bat how special he is on Follow Me “Even though I am a sinner god saved me; took me from the mind state of crazy into the mind set of pay me.”
A mixtape consisting of sixteen tracks should feel perfect but this is a long journey. No inserts or interludes shorten the ride and it’s full of high energy growling tracks that burst with energy and wear you out. Hanna could cause a club riot. Seen Shit could have your head nodding so hard you forget that the Bobby Johnson beat just destroyed your car speakers.
I’m not sure how much buzz exists about Kolley outside of the music industry (partially cause I’m a music reviewer who avoids a lot of other music reviewers) but it’s evident that the South knows how dope he is; since this is a debut mixtape with a Big Krit feature and production credit not to mention other beats from trap generals Zaytoven, Metro Boomin, and TM88 of 808 Mafia.
Kolley will infuse you with his ferocity on Hanna and have you riding reflectively in the Krit assisted Poetry In Motion (is anyone better at rapping about driving cars or cars in general as Krit?). This mixtape has a full spread of emotion tackling love, pills, violence, money, success and all of it in the assured manner of an artist who has been doing this for years and years. If you think I’m talking about another knucklehead Lil John rip off listen to the first verse of Real Love and tell me this dude isn’t the truth. I file Real Nigga Shit in the “Who is this kid?!?!” category.
I wanted this mixtape to be terrible so I wouldn’t have to use the N word so much. The first listen turned into the third listen so quickly that I had to make up my mind quickly. My preferences don’t matter. Kolley has artistic presence on tracks that needs a full spotlight and it’s his title. It reflects an artist dictating realness in a different light and it works on every discernible level. Even though the journey feels long its not, it’s just big.
Stream or Download Real Nigga Shit below:
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Tagged 808 mafia, Bassfield Mississippi, Big K.R.I.T., Eightball & MJG, Goodie Mobb, Kolley, Metro Boomin, Mixtape, mixtape reviews, Real Nigga Shit, Southern Hip Hop, Zaytoven