#Bandcampgold-G-Worthy (G-Perico & Jay Worthy) produced by Cardo
Can I tell you what separates Cardo from his peers at the very top of hip hop production? The Neptunes make anyone sound cool from Kelis to Timberlake to Pusha and Malice to Britney Spears. Not everyone sounds cool on a Cardo beat. Cardo beats are the pure distillation of hearing Snoop and Dre for the first time, liquid metal cool forming and reforming, with the right host on the mic it sounds invincible. This is why when people don’t know who Cardo is I simply say “He built Wiz Khalifa” without the luxuriously unflappable warm sonic world of Cardo to color his incredible personality Wiz would have been another weirdo in a hip hop world full of them. If you don’t have the right personality to sail on these beats you’ll be caught faking the funk but if you match up it takes you to another level.
If you look at the cover of G-Worthy it looks like it could have come out in 1992. Jay Worthy from Compton and G Perico from South Central reassure us that while Rap destroys what it loves to be and rebuilds to the opposite direction every five years…West Coast Gangsta Rap doesn’t.
The album consists of seven songs that feel effortlessly connected without any visible seams. What has changed is the ability for a Blood like Jay Worthy to rap about B hats and his Brazy life right before G Perico raps about violence from a Crip perspective (Getting High). The music is the glue. Jay Worthy is a solid dude who recently released a full length project with Alchemist so he is used to spitting over genius production. Jay Worthy is a game machine talking pimping or gang life or just generally flossing all over the listener. On the single Never Miss he authoritatively asserts “Take a look at yourself, we getting money On the route with these dames, a little lucky.”
Perico is a star his voice his cadence along with the personal specificity of imagery really draw him to the forefront at all time. The best example is his verse on Ain’t Trippin which starts “Middle finger to e’rybody that’s how I do it. Got the glock in the beamer case a n__ want to act stupid.” He talks about how the police are monitoring everyone and that’s not new, that he can’t tell the visual difference between his enemies and friends cops and homies. By the end of the verse you can feel the waves washing over, the uncertainty hostility and powerlessness of this criminalized system. It’s all done economically in a short verse. He loads up and does it again with the subject of women on the beginning of the next track (Scandalous). I heard all of Perico’s work before and liked it but it is Cardo’s production that made his lyrics vivid enough for me to figure out the allure. I think Perico is the best gangsta rapper since YG and G-Worthy could easily become a group without comparison. Not only do they represent a timeless standard few would dream of comparing against but their singles, while fabulous, are just as good as the rest of their output. They shine at a slow bops pace that they could keep up without a trickle of sweat for ten years. I hope they make more money than they ever hoped as G-Worthy.
Stream or buy G-Worthy below:
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Tagged #BandcampGold, Alchemist, California, Cardo, Compton, G Perico, Gangsta rap, Jay Worthy, South Central, west coast hip hop, YG
FME 2016 MVP HONORABLE MENTION-YG
We used to crown “mixtape MVP” but the distinction between mixtape and album is unimportant at this point. Everyone has streaming services and no one pays per album, it is a heartless profit starved reality but it is our reality.
YG was almost my pick for 2016 MVP because he distinguished himself as an artist from everyone else on the planet this year and he did it with his music, his words, and his beliefs. In 2014 when YG released My Krazy Life to an avalanche of critical praise a lot of that went to DJ Mustard.
Mustard was having a huge year and he had hits but it was being presented as if he was the white hot sun of the ratchet movement…which is ridiculous. YG’s follow up album to My Krazy Life called Still Brazy is so important. It features two songs produced by P-Lo of the HBK Gang (IAMSU’s crew) and they were doing the exact same sound at the same time Mustard was. Rick Rock, Droop-E, League of Starz and anyone connected to E-40 predates them. People following the West knew this. Mustard was a part of it but not an originator and not the best at it. People reading the headlines and not the articles thought Mustard owned the West and was propping up YG.
YG charged into 2016 throwing B’s at the listener and smashing each song with his impactful delivery. Terrace Martin brought the burbling West Coast thump and the Roger Troutman talk box to Twist My Fingaz, Swish used all his colors to render the deepest most beautiful landscapes behind Still Brazy’s best tracks (Gimmie Got Shot, Don’t Come to LA, Who Shot Me, FDT). The guests are impressive from Lil Wayne and Drake to Kamaiyah, Slim 400 & Sad Boy. YG became a central part of this year’s narrative by releasing the smash mouth election anthem FDT (featuring Nipsey Hussle) and in a real way he had all the West Coast artists shouting “F_ Donald Trump!” Many were making references to Trump as not a reputable character (see Smoke Dza-Don’t Pass The Blunt to Trump) but YG is way more straightforward than your “lyrical” rappers and way more lyrical than your fun “party” rappers.
Before the end of the year he dropped an eight song project called Red Friday. It featured fun anthems full of braggadocio like I’m A Thug but also serious venting on police brutality (One Time Comin’). When I heard him on Left, Right in 2014 I thought to myself “this is a real move the crowd rapper” someone with a voice and tempo that needs all your attention. Still Brazy and Red Friday add more to our shared definition of YG. On songs where he feels personally affronted by someone it is shocking and powerful because he has deep wells of anger that are fascinating. The songs that are about his beliefs resonate because he can’t help but make his views of right vs. wrong vigorously present. His gang lyrics aren’t sensationalist but grounded, straightforward and powerful. Everything he speaks is vivid. He doesn’t approach these songs like Ali did Frazier, more like how Tyson approached Spinks.
He was one of the first names I thought of because he destroyed the box he was put in and that is what everyone is trying to do. It is not what he did wrong that cost him the award it is the unthinkable performance of the winner.
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Tagged DJ Mustard, Drake, Droop-E, E-40, FME MVP 2016, Honorable Mention, Kamaiyah, League of Starz, My Krazy Life, Nipsey Hussle, P-Lo, Ratchet, Red Friday, Rick Rock, Sad Boy, Slim 400, Still Brazy, Swish, Terrace Martin, YG
Mixtape Review-California Livin by YG x Blanco x DB Tha General produced by Cookin’ Soul
The success of the movie Straight Outta Compton is not just due to the heroism bestowed on N.W.A or the nostalgia we all feel for that exciting time in rap. While the movie stays away from the serious problems (Dr. Dre’s violent history with women) the rough edges are always at least partially visible. The movie owns the objectification of women that N.W.A. trafficked in. It owns that moment where Eazy-E is confused because only homosexuals get AIDS. The uncomfortably incomplete relationship those young men had with gender and sexuality is always a part of the journey for better and for worse.
In saluting that period of West Coast Rap YG, Blanco and DB Tha General put all of these themes on display again. Right from the DJ Drama introduction you can place the beat on Doggystyle. It’s an experience of déjà vu you will have over and over again (we even get the return of renowned fictional radio station WBallz). Driving Like I’m Loco pulls from The Chronic and Cookin’ Soul , the Spanish production team who produce the whole project, know exactly what they are doing by keeping their fingers pressed on your nostalgia button.
The cool thing about this mixture of MC’s is that they all have really weird voices. DB Tha General sounds like a cartoon character losing his mind, he has one gear and it’s the verbal whirlwind of the Tazmanian Devil. YG finally gets to sound the least weird because he does have gears and on Block Party (for example) he sounds cool , confident and in control.
Every song has a line that makes you shake your head and on Block Party its Blanco saying “I’m the bomb; Islamic.” On Mansion Party the first words of the first verse are “Whattup sluts?!” and it’s a bit much. I guess that is part of the journey, these three don’t see the sharp line that divides clever and awful and don’t have much interest in searching for it. They are just seizing fun however they can.
The strength of California Livin’ is that it acts as a sampler plate for these artists. It’s only thirty four minutes total (thirteen tracks with 4 interludes and an intro). It also doesn’t hurt getting a Fiend feature to go along with this weird voice combo platter. The G Thang track he appears on is pulsing and smooth perfect for the International Jones character to resurface for the chorus. Nipsey Hussle gives one hundred percent on LA Confidential. A track as snarling as LA Confidential with gunshot booms and 2pac looped is a wonderful environment for Nipsey. When he says “We don’t never say nothing about that big s—t we did we just see each other and nod and you know what it is” that’s about as West Coast conceptually as possible. Even the fun bravado songs are full of silent signals reflecting god knows what. As joyful as California Livin is its full of subtext about violence, gender, relationships and the nature of our nostalgia; it carries more with it then its length or tone would let on. If you loved Straight Outta Compton, this might be your companion piece.
stream or download California Livin below:
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Tagged 2015 mixtapes, Blanco, California Livin, Cookin' Soul, DB tha General, Doggystyle, Eazy E, Fiend, gender, mixtape review, sexuality, Straight Outta Compton, The Chronic, west coast hip hop, YG
Mixtape Review-CMG presents Chapter One by Young Gotti & CMG
One of the sticky notes slapped on the surface of Southern Hip Hop is the stars that shine brightest rocket upward only to fall into obscurity once the prevailing tide changes or the hit gets old. It’s impossible to make this argument work for Yo Gotti who refuses to be charted on any kind of line graph with dips or hilly progressions. Gotti is a rock solid commodity who does what he does and nothing else.
CMG: Chapter One is a showcase for what makes the crew unique. If you are looking to ride the wave of hits you can enjoy the Yayo remix with French Montana, Jadakiss, YG, and Fabolous which is just as big and awesome as it sounds. K Camp uses his command of the chorus to make Made Me feel even bigger and sillier and more satisfying than feels realistic (although it is produced by Big Fruit and he is Mariano in the 9th clutch).
The players here make a convincing case for deeper consideration. Zed Zilla seems to invent all sorts of sneaky turns of phrase while staying true to the ravenous flow that serves him so well. While Gotti will slow down and stamp down on a word or phrase so you feel the pain or pride in it Zilla just moves. I’m not convinced he’s worried about whether or not you catch his words.
Compilations like this always have pieces that don’t fit. While No Kissing certainly suits that description and runs a blatant repetitious juvenile counter to the thoughtful pain filled trap determination of the project; it’s the only real misstep. CMG: Chapter One is a showcase of engaging hip hop personalities. Wave Chapelle can bubble and pop on a low key track (Like Me) while making Sailor Moon references or sail into the stratosphere on the fake afro and big glasses pimpishly alluring Wavy Baby. Snootie Wild carves out his own great moments like the nutty Future meets Swedish Chef voice on Stackin & Flippin It.
The connective tissue, the spine, the beating heart of this compilation is the earnest mumble rapping of its star Yo Gotti. His stunting always seems to connect to the dead, imprisoned, sick or impoverished. On the opener Talk 2 Em he showcases the snarling paranoid underappreciated rap star, that’s part of who he is, but the other part is a lot like my grandmother. That’s the Yo Gotti on Been Thru It All: world weary, disgusted with poverty and its repercussions, grateful for the love of others, and sad to see so many go. If you want to call him a Trap Star he’s a thousand year old Godfather III Michael Corleone rapping things like “I been through it all Grandma died mama crying had to hold my hurt inside. Ma I had to be there for you! I been through it all. Got signed unsigned got signed waste of time what the F#$% they gon’ do (Been Thru It All)?” This is not just a group of people bound by a stable and engaging leader it’s a stable of MC’s with real chemistry together. They don’t feel like draft picks, more like a real crew with a lot to say and the skills to keep it interesting.
Stream or download CMG: Chapter One below:
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Tagged Big Fruit, CMG, CMG compilation, Fabolous, French Montana, Jadakiss, K Camp, mixtape review, rap crews, Sailor Moon, Snootie WIld, Southern Hip Hop, Swedish Chef, Wave Chapelle, YG, Yo Gotti, Zed Zilla
Song Review-Bompton by YG produced by DJ Mustard
This sounds worse than it is but a lot of music people simply thought of YG as an appendage of DJ Mustard. He can organize the Mustard sound with his energy and flow but without it he’s ok at best. This all changed with his album My Krazy Life which dropped not too long ago and is filled with personal revelations that fit alongside its bangers (and great guest stars ranging from Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, even Drake does well). It has one of the very best Mother dedications in years (Sorry Momma) but it also gives the Mustard heads what they wanted which is ratchet @$$ ish like this. While Mustard is not the only purveyor of this sound he’s out in front of the movement (until people learn how dope Rick Rock is). While others like The League of Starz seem to experiment with levels of their sound Mustard seems to be refining its gorgeous singularity. Not worried if you are sick of Ratchet cause his beats will be so perfectly ratchet that you will still love them.
Why does YG call it Bompton? Blood way to say Compton, don’t worry about it. Feel free to bounce with the intensity of this tracks wobble and bathe in the fear and desperation of the Compton attitude again. This is the kind of anthemic track you can picture crowds yelling along with. Two of this year’s best rap albums are Compton introspections and the year is young. America never stopped loving the horror and intensity of Compton hip hop. What we sometimes don’t realize is that the world never did either.
Mixtape Review-Its Tha World 2 by Young Jeezy
If Its Tha World 2 was a vehicle it wouldn’t be a minivan. The eight track smash mouth Young Jeezy and company mixtape would be a muscle car riding at top speed along a dirt road, leaving trails of dust on the competition.
Young Jeezy might be the most frustrating artist of my time. His great verses are few and far between. The most famously interesting thing about him is the ad-lib (that everyone does a variation of now). Jeezy is the artist people most often turn to me and laud while I’m scratching my head. I’ve never been able to figure out why everyone is so interested in him while so many other great artists are out there. Its Tha World 2 provides my answer.
The sonic world of this thing has no comparison. It starts off with a soul shattering Drumma Boy fist fight trap beat (Foul Play) which will make you want to upgrade the speakers in your vehicle and transitions into DJ Mustard ratchet. Except it doesn’t transition it digests the Mustard sound and snowballs. Jeezy makes everything trap by sheer force of persona. You can feel his twisted smile through every bar and he’s constantly hype, imploring the audience and the beat to get crazier and crazier. The strength and determination of the music go beyond the verses and make every chorus something you want spit out along with him (“Whip it right here in your face! Benihana.” –Benihana)
Jeezy has never been a star builder (hence the Freddie Gibbs problem) so don’t expect songs from YG(Left Right) or Doughboyz Cashout(I’m Dat N_) to blow you away. He needs a crew to fill in whatever spots on songs he’s not interested in filling but it doesn’t matter. Benihana is one of the more star studded songs (featuring 2 Chainz and Rocko) and it’s not even close to the best moment on the project. By the time you get to the super duper catchy In My Head you’ll be head nodding like someone under mind control. It’s Tha World 2 isn’t good or great its unbelievable. Every producer from Childish Major to Tony Rey to Drumma Boy and Mustard just hand over their best beats excited to see what will come out the other side.
My favorite lyrical image is on the song Birfday when Jeezy says “See I’m trying to get these units off then cop a flying saucer, come through w/ a Spanish B_#$ top down banging salsa.” The notion that on the other end of spending all this time in the kitchen and moving this weight is a smiling Jeezy with the top down riding somewhere with salsa music blaring from his car as he lets out a thirty second long YYYYEEEEEAAAAHHHHH is indelible.
For any fan of coke rap the coming together of Pusha T and Jeezy on Pure (with yet another of Big Krits amazing 2013 chorus assists) is the high point. The track (produced by Cam Wallace) whistles with D-boy Colombian flavor while hand claps propel it forward. As great as that song is the next one (Left Right) will have you jumping just as hard. After the second listen I decided that Its Tha World 2 is something I’m going to have to work hard at not listening too. My fingers will want to hit the play button on it everyday. All I can do is sit across from it and enjoy the mad voodoo of Jeezy somehow not being a part of any genre while cackling at the center of everything. Now I need to dig into his older stuff and see if it’s always been this good and my vision was obscured.
Download or stream Its Tha World 2 below:
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Tagged Big K.R.I.T., DJ Mustard, Doughboyz Cashout, Drumma Boy, Its Tha World 2, mixtape review, Pusha T, Southern Hip Hop, Trap Music, YG, Young Jeezy