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Mixtape Review: Xtra – Jit

September 15th, 2014 No comments

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Mixtape Review of Xtra – Jit, Courtesy of  Luke McCormick

 

When thinking of Florida rap music one’s mind is surely drawn to Rick Ross or even some remembrance of Trick Daddy’s former brilliance. BUT, there’s one man who is still consistently putting out gut smashing and wrenching music. That man, is of course, Plies. For years Plies has been sliding in and out of the national rap spotlight but all along the way dropping heat and is now sprinkling some of that pure talent on another young Florida rapper, Xtra. The 24-year-old rapper inhabits a great deal of the aspects that make Plies a special rapper throughout Jit‘s 14 tracks. The dude can come incredibly hard, matching his mentor on some songs they share together (Plies shows up four times throughout the tape) with threat for threat or what they’ll effectively do to and/or for a “bitch”.

 

Xtra also has the bleeding heart and introspective side of Plies. There’s no “Family Straight” (Haven’t heard that? Go youtube it immediately after reading this) here but a number of interesting stabs at more heartfelt tracks, like the third person, assisted by the always welcome hooks of Ball Greezy on “It Ain’t Easy”. That track’s proceeded with a ‘for my dogs’ track “Holding Ya Down” about Xtra living each of his days in honor of his dudes who are no longer with him. “I want you to know nigga I’m still holding ya down. When I wake up I point up to the sky.”

 

Xtra even has what could be a bonafide hit of sorts with “Here On Out”. Whatever hit means these days. It should certainly get some burn on MTV Jams or what have you. The track clocks in at under four minutes. It has a simple, shouted out hook that immediately gets stuck in your melon over menacing synths and snaps. Xtra just isn’t putting up with any more guff. The world is his, you’re either with him or you’re not. If you’re not his “bitch” you’re a “thot”. It’s pretty easy and very replay worthy.

 

Another shared trait Xtra and Plies have are their acquired taste flows. Plies has his gravel mouth, two pack of Newports a day bark going while Xtra comes out with a Boosie-like nasal flow only less drawl. These aren’t hindrances but every once in a while during the tape it’s easy to get taken out of hearing what the dudes are spitting, get more into throwing some rap hands, then a few bars will perk those ears up. This happens with Xtra nearly out of the gate on “Kick Me Out Of School” as he documents teachers and adult figures failing him, or not accepting him then drops the line “You crackers smoke cigarettes and preach to me about what I’m supposed to do. Shit, you don’t know what I’m going through.” DAMN. Real talk award of the week goes to this man.

 

There’s not much out there about young Xtra. Most information can be gleaned from his mix tapes, which is a rarity in these days. The dude’s got a little mystery behind him and of course, the backing of the spectacular Plies. If he can build on Jit, with a couple more supremely solid outings it seems like the Sunshine State has something serious on its hands.

 

Download and Listen Live at LiveMixtapes.com

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Mixtape Review: ZelooperZ – HELP

August 18th, 2014 No comments

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Mixtape Review: ZelooperZ – HELP, Courtesy of Lawrence Burney

The irony of using lyricism as the be-all end-all measure of skill within rap is that it’s usually a distinct voice and delivery that sets one rapper apart. Danny Brown has proven to be one of the most effective in that arena in recent memory, playing fast and loose with his range and his tone. On ZeelooperZ’s HELP, it’s clear the artist from his Bruiser Brigade collective has clearly taken some notes. However, where Brown mostly switches between drugged-out shrieks and ernest “no bullshit” bars, ZelooperZ is all over the map. HELP, his latest tape, is as much voice-acting as it is rapping.

Brown’s two distinct personas define his style. ZelooperZ is less focused and maybe less refined, concerned more with making interesting music than telling stories. Unlike Brown, there doesn’t seem to be much of an inner conflict going on with Read more…

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Mixtape Review: Que & Mike Fresh – Que Fresco!

August 11th, 2014 No comments

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Mixtape Review: Que & Mike Fresh – Que Fresco!, Courtesy of Skinny Friedman
 
As it stands, Que is teetering dangerously on the edge of one-hit-wonderdom and that’s a shame. While “OG Bobby Johnson” deserves every spin it gets, it’s worth remembering he first made waves on “Young Nigga”, which got more attention as Migos’s impact song. And while he didn’t exactly cash in on “Bobby”, he’s been consistently good in its wake. The combination of his swaggy delivery and his mastery of overdubs create a unique and catchy sound, especially on tracks like the underrated “Jungle Fever”. It doesn’t hurt that he’s had Sonny Digital in his corner, a murderer’s row of Atlanta producers behind him and a deal with Atlantic.

 

So it’s no surprise that Que and Mike Fresh’s Que Fresco tape is as fun as it is. I don’t know who Mike Fresh is, but he has no problem holding his own in the booth. The project is neither groundbreaking or innovative, but it is rowdy and kind of silly, full of Read more…

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Mixtape Review: K Camp – SlumLords

August 8th, 2014 No comments

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Mixtape Review: K Camp – Slumlords, Courtesy of James Elliott

K Camp’s stock is currently high thanks to his bubbling hit “Cut Her Off.” The triumphant synth horns and banging drums can be heard at concerts, in clubs, and in headphones all across America; it’s clearly one of the songs of the summer. With all eyes on him, Camp is taking the laudable step of sharing the spotlight and putting on for his crew, the Slum Lords with a new tape (called Slum Lords). Not necessarily named after someone worthy of praise, the Slums (as the affectionately call themselves) sound like a ragtag group of budding emcees and singers. But while there are few hiccups along the way, the crew is impressive and diverse. For the most Slum Lords is a great introduction and has solidified Camp’s true loyalty.

 

The Slums crew is comprised of Dan Diego, Sy Ari Da, Marissa, JokerTooCold, and Damar Jackson. Among them, the fellow Atlanta based emcee, Sy Ari Da, is the standout. “Under The Sun” is one of the strongest tracks on the entire tape, with an interesting mix of personal testimony and trap braggadocio. After one listen, you will find yourself chanting “tell me something I don’t know” repeatedly. His verse off “WWYD” was also strong and notable. Damar Jackson and JokerTooCold also impressed, with the latter showing up often. They were both able to bring a lot of group energy to their features; especially when they were together, like on “Shoot Up The Club.” Neither are necessarily the strongest lyrically, but they do offer a lot in terms of pure excitement and ability to create catchy hooks.

 

(Not to be outdone, K. Camp’s solo “Slum Anthem” is a great song to kick off the mixtape and defines the ambiance for the songs that follow after. Supreme Team crafted a banger of a beat, making it a solid template for the type of street anthem that could become Camp’s specialty. This is one of the few songs that finds the Slum Lords’ commander and chief rapping solo but he takes full advantage of that time with a flurry of tough lines.)

 

Unfortunately, one of the stronger members of the crew was overlooked for majority of the tape: Marissa. With only one full track to call her own, “Rules”, and one feature, the songstress didn’t have the same amount of time or room to shine like her rapping counterparts. However, when she did show up, she showed out. “Rules” quickly became one of my favorites from the tape and her hook on “No Love Lost” is incredibly smooth.

 

Slum Lords does feature some people from outside the camp, notably Peewee Longway, Too Short, Yo Gotti, and Wale, but they never detract from the family affair. It is a solid offering, one that will force you to look at a lot of these emcee’s back catalogues. K Camp is doing his thing and now we know his crew is too. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Download and Listen Live at LiveMixtapes.com

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Mixtape Review: 808 Mafia – Free Agent

August 6th, 2014 No comments

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Mixtape Review: 808 Mafia – Free Agent, Courtesy of James Elliot

Since they hit the scene, 808 Mafia have been a reliable for hard-hitting backdrops for street and club anthems. When Lex Luger and Southside joined forces back in 2010, they formed one of the most influential and important production crews of the past decade. Their client list spans a number of generations, reaches passed a number of state lines, and comes from all walks of life. Close to four years old and having worked with everyone from Waka Flocka, to Kanye West, the family may have expanded, but they remain as tight and productive as ever.

 

However, 808’s founding member, Southside, has aspirations beyond sitting behind the boards. Unbeknownst to many fans, the producer has been emceeing for sometime and steadily releasing tapes and guest verses. Some of this confusion might be due to his change in moniker when in the booth, but Sizzle will be a great discovery for those ready to destroy their speakers and turn up. His latest 808 Mafia & Bricksquad collaborative project, Free Agent, could be one of sleeper tapes of the summer (even though the songs refuse to let you relax at all).

 

Right off the bat, it is obvious that Read more…

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Mixtape Review: Lil B – Hoop Life

July 7th, 2014 3 comments

lilbhooplifeMixtape Review of Lil B – Hoop Life, Courtesy of Skinny Friedman

Hoop Life follows (kind of) Brandon’s quest to make the NBA. On wax, he’s a burgeoning high school star riding the ups and downs and selling weed out his locker. Despite his obvious talent and his numerous bitches, our hero is humble and hard-working. He understands the value of loyalty (“Peyton on the Broncos, Jordan on the Wizards”) and dedication (“Hoop Life”). Even at his most proud (“Call Me Coach” and “Lockdown”), he brings himself back to Earth with the self-flaggelating (yet still danceable?) “Foul Out”. It’s worth remembering that the events of Hoop Life are somewhat based in reality. Lil B did actually attend open NBA tryouts and his music pissed off Kevin Durant. We all know what happened next.

Lil B’s entire career has been more about concepts that execution, so it should come as no surprise that he’s not particularly committed to Read more…

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Mixtape Review – Slutty Boyz – Da New Kool

June 27th, 2014 No comments

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Mixtape Review: Slutty Boyz – Da New Kool Courtesy of Lawrence Burney

From Fat Trel’s early days, it’s been evident that he would always gonna find a way to involve his group of childhood friends from Northeast D.C., the Slutty Boyz. Whether it be from Instagram posts or just shouting them out in his records, the SBSB brand has been as visible as Trel with almost every member having some kind of material dropping on YouTube on a regular basis. Now with Trel’s MMG affiliation, Slutty Boyz’ latest project, Da New Kool, raises the stakes with more standout guest spots and a big step up in production from their earlier posse tapes. The tape’s first track, “Take Em Back (We On)”, fittingly borrows from the dons of the posse cut, Three 6 Mafia, by sampling “Mafia” from their Choices album. It’s heavy on piano and looks back at the group’s rough D.C. origins. “Giddy Up” is about getting to the money while Migos’ Quavo gives a more spirited hook than most of SB’s verses. and “Y’all Ain’t Ready” is an easygoing Autotune crooning track.

 

D.C.’s lone international success, Wale, lends a Read more…

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Mixtape Review: Bad Lucc – Outchea

April 7th, 2014 No comments

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Mixtape Review: Bad Lucc – Outchea Courtesy of Skinny Friedman
Bad Lucc’s Outchea EP comes smack in the middle of the best run California rap has had in years. After the 00’s failed to produce Detox, fully realize the Hyphy takeover or generate any mainstream stars besides The Game, the West Coast is finally hitting its stride. Your mom knows Kendrick Lamar’s name, YG just put out the best album of 2014 thus far and DJ Mustard rules the radio (with help from Ty$ and Sage the Gemini).

 

While Bad Lucc’s labelmate Problem hasn’t seen the kind of crossover success of some of his LA brethern, his patented brand of molly-fueled dirtbag party rap is an undeniable part of the current California rap renaissance. On last year’s formidible, Young Bleed-inspired hit “Like Whaaat”, it’s clear how Problem and Bad Lucc Read more…

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Mixtape Review: RondoNumbaNine – Real Nigga For Life 2

March 27th, 2014 1 comment

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Mixtape Review: RondoNumbaNine – Real Nigga For Life 2, courtesy of Lawrence Burney
Where Chicago rappers like Chief Keef & Lil Durk rely heavily on auto tune to stretch their voices when they’re in sing-song mode, affiliate RondaNumbaNine has the natural pitch for it. His harsh, late-2000’s Wayne-esque warbling adds dimensions to his delivery that aren’t present in other drill artists. That delivery is what makes his newest tape Real Nigga For Life 2 a solid collections of drill joints. “Up Now”, though it’s not an eventful cut, is effective with Rondo’s harmonious rasp as it guides us through him celebrating his come up. The Nito Beats-produced “I’m Hot” is a tag-team effort between he and Lil Durk as both are on attack-mode. Durk also shows up on “Brothers” with a heartfelt hook while Rondo’s auto-tune-laced verse whirls through the bass. He wails, “They took my bro L’A man I can’t even picture/ They took a fucking savage man, bro was a killer.” L’A Capone—the 17-year-old rapper who RondaNumbaNine references here—was a frequent collaborator with Rondo and Durk but was murdered in September of 2013. “Brothers” is an unofficial tribute that does him justice.

 

His recklessness can be Read more…

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Peace to Queens and Polo

November 7th, 2012 2 comments

I want to take a minute to properly dap what New York City rap has going on right now. If you rock a lot of Polo, hang out with Harry Fraud and/or are from the borough of Queens right now, I’m probably fuckin with you (assuming you rap). That’s a really vague way to describe an entire rap scene, but fuck it.

Harry Fraud gets Action Bronson on a track with French Montana for this Scion-sponsored “Mean” joint and I like it. French is great at singing badly on hooks (like not Young Thug bad but still bad in a good way). It’s some chilly riding music. (I’m aware French isn’t from Queens.)

Action Bronson’s been getting the Read more…

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