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Mixtape Review: Bloody Jay – #NAWFR

Bloody Jay - #NAWFR

 

Mixtape Review of Bloody Jay – #NAWFR courtesy of Luke McCormick

Bloody Jay would like you to take him seriously. The 26-year-old Atlanta rapper knows you heard him on Black Portland with Young Thug and he knows he’s in danger of being an afterthought as Thugger continues to shine. But he knows he’s signed to Rocko’s A1 Records and he knows what a Young Thug cosign means.

 

And so, Bloody Jay has gone and invented a hashtag as his new tape title: #NAWFR stands for “NahForReal” as in, “no really, I can stand on my own two”. Jay makes a good case. #NAWFR is a streamlined 13 tracks (only 13!!!), mostly produced by the very solid Trip The Hit Maker. Rocko and Young Thug are the tape’s only guests. As a result, it rarely lags.

 

Throughout #NAWFR Bloody Jay shows off a variety of vocal tics and flows. Jay fills the first half of the tape with a near Cee-Lo (from Goodie Mob, not from The Voice) sing-song flow; he lacks the range but he maintains the slight lisp. On track’s like “NawFr” his drawl takes over, making for a more stilted flow. He sounds like he could be a long lost Nappy Roots member. Trip compliments Jay’s wavering raps with low key electric guitar noodling on almost every track.

 

Despite the potential star power, Jay shrewdly avoids turning himself into a Young Thug clone. Rarely on the tape does he come close to aping Thugger’s chirpy fast rap, but when he does he can nail it (“It Don’t Matter Tho”). When Thug shows up (along with Rocko on “Bittersweet”), all three emcees hold their own, pondering their “bittersweet” success. They reach goals but also lose friends and face consequences — Jay himself just got out of jail.

 

There’s glimpses here of a rapper with a heart, tentatively toying with the idea of an emotional range. But those moments are often dashed by something fun or cringeworthy. On the seemingly tender “Walk With Me”, Jay starts telling his lady she can take her heels and her make up off if she wants, she is beautiful as she is. Then he offers up how he’s her “protection” and how when they’re in the bedroom there’s “no protection”. Woof.

 

#NAWFR finds Bloody Jay at a near tipping point. He’s out here trying to become his own commodity. To hop out of any shadow of his more well known collaborators. He’s taken some very, very strong and high-five worthy steps toward this goal here. Doubling up on all this tape’s strong points on his next outing might just put him in conversations of his own.

 

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