Tag Archives: Mixtape Revew

Mixtape Review-Route the Ruler by Young Roddy

Mixtape Review-Route the Ruler by Young Roddy

by Dan-O

Rappers always want to join prestigious crews but imagine the reality of it. You run with the Jet Life crew underneath the guidance of Curren$y who has been making music so long he was signed to Moses (and dope back then). Meanwhile Smoke Dza is snarling and snowballing confident slam dunk smash mouth tracks over the best production in NY. Did I mention that Fiend is dropping at least one mixtape a year where he switches between Barry White singing and No Limit era Fiend bar destruction…what’s so special about you? That’s the problem Young Roddy faces down on his new mixtape Route the Ruler. His proximity to these larger figures has made him seem smaller, his reviews always address him in diminishing terms as Spitta’s mini-me or sidekick.

Route the Ruler is ice cold, confident, riding music with no off putting features or beats that don’t fit. It is perfectly within itself and centered on the polished production of Blair Norf (who produces six out of the twelve tracks) and the religious determination of our narrator to succeed. “..and I hope this high don’t never come down. When I had sh#* them hoes ain’t never come around. A true D-boy don’t ya’ll ever cut me down. A prince turned king when you see me you should bow (Charge It To The Game).” Young Roddy builds his thesis song after song that the desire for him to have money is not horrifyingly materialistic or gaudy it’s the American dream. A dream of professional success, proud family, and prosperity that carries for generations. How is his desire for success any different or less honorable than any other aspiring businessman? This is laid back success music for those that have succeeded or feel they haven’t yet but must today.

While moving forward and getting money he reflects with a chuckle that he understands why he’s not on the radio and with seriousness when he talks about how birthdays were the worst while in poverty (Chain Smoke). This isn’t one of those mixtapes where the rapper espouses a lifestyle that doesn’t seem realistic or how an adult would live. The content is forcefully mature. A product of an overwhelming desire that starts with the Intro.

Over the sensible thirteen track project it’s hard to find anything that stands far above anything else (maybe Baby which is pretty darn triumphant) but it all fits and suits its purpose. Absolutely nothing goes wrong. The only features are Smoke Dza, Fiend, and Curren$y all doing exactly what you’d want them to do. The sampled soulful moan on Money behind Roddy’s insistent chorus, earnest two minute relationship tribute on Loyalty and infinitely listenable lesson in flow on Ridin all become glue tracks. A team of scrappy underestimated veterans that know exactly what the mission is; if this mixtape was an NBA championship team it would be the 2004 Detroit Pistons; deeply slept on with Rip Hamilton moving off the ball slipping three pointers in as his defender swears under his breath, media people scratching their head looking for the superstar…the narrative. The only people not in shock as the trophy gets raised are the team on the platform. Young Roddy would tell you that’s exactly how it feels to Route the Ruler.

Stream or Download Route The Ruler below:


Mixtape Review-By Any Means by Kevin Gates

Mixtape Review-By Any Means by Kevin Gates

by Dan-O

A cynical person would probably say that Kevin Gates is a product of the modern rap landscape. A lot of his songs have to do with longing for female companionship or trapping and the melody in everything he says might be considered a post-Juvenile trait. As any reader of this site knows I am not cynical; Kevin Gates is a standout artist. If you gave ten of your current favorite rappers use the same beat same song concept alongside Gates he would have the version that sticks with you. It’s more than a skill at half-singing or his voice being a weapon of a thousand growl variations, Gates is a master of tempo and balance.

By Any Means is his new mixtape and more evidence of the thinker at work. His trap contribution Arm and Hammer growls and throttles your speakers but isn’t full of outrageous lies either just proper amounts of good humor, paranoia and determination. He brags along with the best of them on Amnesia showing genuine excitement over the birth of a child on Movie and one other thing I forgot to mention, no one feels betrayed better than Kevin Gates. The ability to swing from slyly not remembering people (Amnesia) to shaming those who betrayed his trust (Stop Lyin’) is an emotional strain. I’ve never heard a Kevin Gates song and thought to myself that he was doing this one for the club or to hit some target demo. It’s a saving grace especially when we get to the really gross sex songs. I’m not sure how a reasonable person could make it through Go Hard featuring Rico Love, where we hear dripping in the background while Rico croons a chorus about how he wants to give oral to his lady until she goes to sleep, unless we knew he was coming from an honest place. He is an honestly gross dude just like he’s an honest trapper or street tale storyteller, honest in the sense that he means it.

His internal rhyming is meticulous and everyone sounds great on songs with him. Plies sounds re-invigorated and 2 Chainz sounds ferocious. Production is handled by Dun Deal, V12 Tha Hitman, Beewirks, Honorable C-Note, The Runners and others and it’s exactly the Gates sound you found on Luca Brasi and Stranger Than Fiction; that big rippling boom brought to order by a true master of ceremonies. A conductor of the track who can make you cringe your way out of a head nod with shocking confessions like the car crash “don’t know how I’m walkin’” portion of the lead single Don’t Know. He sews little shocking fragments of stories into his verses that make you want to learn so much more. It’s not because he is in an emotional zone or it’s a topic on the top of his mind. He’s smart and knows how to lead an audience where he wants them. By Any Means doesn’t blow away any previous offerings, Stranger Than Fiction was the high point of his bouncing vocal changes and Luca Brasi felt like it told you everything you needed to know but once you are a fan of Gates music you are in it for the long haul. If you don’t understand you aren’t yet a fan.

stream or download By Any Means below: