Song of The Year-I’ll Be Fine by Trae The Truth
More than any project before his new album Hometown Hero represents the uniqueness of Trae The Truth. His voice has always been raspy, stabbing, and relentless a fantastic guest feature flow to shake you from your comfort zone. Hometown Hero dresses itself to match. Thematically as honest as its narrator with features from people known for how real they keep it (TI, Boosie, Mozzy). Each song envelopes you in bass as he narrates harrowing stories that range from the stress of wearing awful clothes to the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. It is one of 2018’s best albums.
As great as the features are (particularly TI’s hook on Better Dayz) the song I’ll Be Fine is the absolute best. The hook stretches and relaxes as he explains the hurt and the strength/assurance he will use to move on. Trae wants to feel the pain of loss and not shut the emotions out but badly wants to control the pain. The verses carry that same conflict. He remembers the casket going into the ground in the first verse and wishes he could hug him one more time. As hard as Hometown Hero is it is still about caring deeply; for friends, family, about people who betray you, your own self-care, your city, state, world.
He swims along the deep bass and leaves any possibility of trunk rattling banger behind as he starts off with the verse, sung with both wistful distance and aged resilience. In Houston trunk rattling bass isn’t just for head banging anthems or turning up. Trae has always understood how valuable time is and he doesn’t waste verses. Hometown Hero is for us to understand that he has people he is talking to and if it seems too serious to you just listen to something else. When he shares stuff like “Time ain’t enough. Wish I could tell you how much it been rough. I had to face it. Everything through it was making me tough. My brother my friend everything bout me is still ABN loyal to death all till the day I’ma see you again.” It’s special because he has the fortitude to bleed in public emotionally without being at all manipulative. He’s not professionally sad instead he processes problems alongside blessings. Long live King Truth.
Mixtape Review-Spiritual Conversations by Mozzy
Mozzy is amazing and proof that we are living in amazing times. My favorite part of Black Panther is when we flash back to 1992 and pan slowly across the basketball court, his voice surfs over the beat and a smile wears my face. The moment blew my mind because Mozzy is of the tradition of E-40 & Too Short a California beat busting hardcore oddball who floods the market until you can’t get away. His music is everywhere. If you look up Mozzy’s discography in google you will be flooded with projects solo and collaborative. He works and spits his truth all over the place and that truth changes. He doesn’t just flood the market he sharpens his sword with each project. 2017’s 1 Up Top Ahk was easily a step up from the already awesome Mandatory Check. In the 90’s he would have just sharpened that sword off to the left while the main stage propped up slick pop rap. The TDE come up changes everything, Kendrick grew up on E-40 & Too Short so he loves Mozzy. He catches the wisdom in the verses while others hear Gangsta Rap for its own sake.
I deeply admire people who can do their best work right as the spotlight finds them for the first time. As the whole world hears Mozzy narrate Oakland in Black Panther he dropped a six song ep that is absolutely the best gateway drug to get into Mozzy.
You can hear the influence of Kendrick’s secret weapon Sounwave in the production style of Spiritual Conversations. The bay used to be all slapping speaker rattling anthems now a new lane is open with rich tones and warm piano textures to better articulate yourself over. Sorry Jaynari, Dave-O, Daniel Cruz, AK-47, Vontae Thomas and Terrace Martin(when you hear the horns on Interlude you’ll know its Terrace Martin) all contribute to a very unified sound.
I’m struck by how reflective and boldly insightful Spiritual Conversations is. Mozzy has always been both of those things but underneath thick armor. 1 Up Top Ahk was a teeth out conversation about violence. This project gives Mozzy wisdom the full floor. In the first verse of No Choice he says “When you told me you loved me, I ain’t believe it/But when you show me you love, you’ll receive it.” It’s a great example of his glaring emotional intelligence but not even the only one in the song (“Bruh told on blood ’cause he ain’t wanna do life/I send my condolences in a kite/You know them people gon hang him and that ain’t right/Stare at my daughters to see the light/Went and got him a M, I promise to see it twice.”
I love hearing Mozzy swap bruising verses with the criminally underrated Jay Rock but my favorite song is Who I Am. The crackly casual tone he delivers that chorus in and the insomnia flavored paranoia in bars like ” Bad karma got me lookin’ over both shoulders/Singin’ bout the shit I did, I pray he ain’t told on us.” SOB x RBE got the most burn from Black Panther soundtrack and they sound great. I’m happy they have the TDE machine behind them and sound energized but I know the most important name on that soundtrack… the one that shocked me and delivered and it’s Mozzy.
Stream or download Spiritual Conversations below:
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Tagged 1 Up Top Ahk, 1992, AK-47, bay area hip hop, Black Panther, Black Panther Soundtrack, California, Daniel Cruz, Mozzy, Sorry Jaynari, Spiritual Conversations, Terrace Martin, Vontae Thomas
Purchasable Mixtape review-Thirst 48 p. 2 by Boogie
In a Billboard interview about his new project Boogie was asked,
Q:Is “Two Days” about her, too?
A: Yeah, definitely. Every relationship song on that ‘tape is about her.
By her, he means Jamesha a very specific person he has an on and off relationship with and Thirst 48 p.2 is a vividly unique journey because it covers that turmoil in depth with blame distributed much more equitably than we are used to rappers giving us.
I’m not sure if anyone else does this but whenever I hear a rapper proclaim that they never have sex with a woman more than once I suck my teeth. C’mon. Not only is that a farce and we all know you have feelings and need relationships like we all do…it’s a boring story to tell. I would much rather feel for characters that make rational decisions. Never having any relationship of any depth is not a rational decision.
Thirst 48 P.2 is about Jamesha and while it gives you the frustration of dealing with one another in the immaculately constructed Two Days and the stewing paranoia of Real One he goes just as hard on Prideful and the closer Best Friend (Jamesha pt.2) to illustrate how grateful he is for her. Boogie takes his time painting parts of the picture on each song.
The cool thing about it is Thirst 48 P.2 is not an overly intense listening experience. It is very fun hearing Mozzy and Dj Quik just blow on Fuck ‘Em All or rocking out with the ice-in-my-veins playa anthem Just Might. Whenever the day is sunnier or brighter than anticipated you can put on Sunroof and listen to Dana Williams weave her voice into Boogie’s on the projects best hook (TQ would approve). Amongst all this Boogie raps his @$$ off! On Sunroof for example “I got your intention now it’s my intention to take all that tension and sh_t not to mention…” it feeds right into the hook. While making sure his hooks and melodies are on point he never fails to craft his verses in challenging ways with real content.
The cool thing about it is Thirst 48 P.2 is not an overly intense listening experience. It is very fun hearing Mozzy and Dj Quik just blow on Fuck ‘Em All or rocking out with the ice-in-my-veins playa anthem Just Might. Whenever the day is sunnier or brighter than people anticipated you can put on Sunroof and listen to Dana Williams weave her voice into Boogie’s on the projects best hook (TQ would applaud). Amongst all this Boogie raps his @$$ off! On Sunroof for example “I got your intention now it’s my intention to take all that tension and sh_t not to mention…” it feeds right into the hook. While making sure his hooks and melodies are on point he never fails to craft his verses in challenging ways with real content.
Thirst 48 P.2 is much closer to how a real relationship feels than most albums that have attempted this (I love Twenty88 so I’m not talking about that) because it travels in all the places a relationship takes you. On Just Might or Slide on You he gets scummy, on Two Days he laments erased comments, unfollowing on social media, and text lag time in a way we all understand. The outwardly appreciative songs don’t do a better job of showing how much he cares about Jamesha than the angry ones. No one gets this out of sorts about someone unless they mean a lot. It’s all connected and the production from Swiff D, C. Ballin and Keyel keeps the project totally entrenched in post-TDE West Coast sonics where each note strikes and holds for a second before leaving, while Boogie keeps things loose smart and heartfelt. Listen to Thirst 48 pt. 2.
Stream and purchase below:
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Tagged Billboard, Boogie, C.Ballin, Dana Williams, DJ Quik, Jamesha, Keyel, Mozzy, Spinrilla, Swiff D, TDE, Thirst 48 P.2, Twenty88, west coast hip hop
Mixtape Review-AD & Sorry Jaynari-By The Way
Energy creates energy.
No matter how popular the grim and gritty brooding album is (for showing the wounded humanity of its narrator) to a fan base desperate to connect with dark secrets; it lives that way in contrast to energy projects and it will always need energy to contrast against.
AD is that dude. The first song on his mixtape By The Way has the perfect title-Boom. Boom is exactly what happens when AD jumps onto a song(see E-40’s new AD assisted single On One for more evidence), we are talking about Petey Pablo level energy but laced with determined frustration “…knew that I was destined, knew I wouldn’t be stressin’, knew I was that n_ studio nights at the Westin. N_ slept on me for years but I took that sh_ as a blessing, no weapon shall form against me, my dreams now manifestin’.(Boom)” None of his verses are fluff in any way shape or form.
The production is handled by Sorry Jaynari of League of Starz. League of Starz are really the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League of ratchet, keeping the excitement (finger snaps, mean bass lines) but it’s cleaner and more polished than anyone else can make it. Sorry Jaynari carries that tradition forward; no beat has a millisecond that doesn’t make sense.
G Perico, YG, E-40, Nef The Pharoah, OT Genasis, Freddie Gibbs, Mozzy, Ty Dolla Sign, IamSu, and K. Camp all show up and feel perfectly welcome amongst the clean exclamation point west coast thump. My favorite song is up for grabs, it could be Strapped which features a classic West Coast hook and old time Dj Quik groove that G Perico sounds perfect on. AD swings into the track with more swagger than shouting and it all fits perfectly. Tap In could be the best because E-40 lays a MONSTROUS hall of fame guest verse and Nef The Pharoah oozes all over the song with his exceptional crazy talk.
If you were never into the West Coast sound this project is not going to change your mind. The great thing about By The Way is that if you ever did love that sound, you’ll recognize it here but you’ll also recognize that it has changed. These aren’t hyphy songs overloaded to the point of madness; if you listen to the title track you’ll hear…the song is actually pretty sparse for something this hype. It surges forward because AD is a master of ceremony in the entertainer sense; he whips the song into a frenzy while Sorry Jaynari keeps the ship steady so it doesn’t exhaust you as a listener. The combination of unique talents working to highlight opposing strengths gives the project a real identity and listenability; By The Way is another example of the strength and depth of the West right now. AD could have an amazing future but so could any number of the guests on the project who are young lions with their own dope projects out (Ty Dolla Sign, Nef The Pharoah, Mozzy, G Perico) and that is just a sliver of all the talent bubbling.
Energy creates energy.
Stream or Download By The Way now: