tana – “Gaultier” review

This is the 6th EP from Atlanta up-&-comer tana. Coming up in 2018 as a member of the plu2o9 collective under the original moniker BabySantana, he would go on to drop his first 2 EPs Recreation! & Planet Sosa alongside his debut mixtape Quan a couple years later & eventually signed to Lil Tecca’s very own Republic Records imprint Galactic Records the next fall. But coming off his last 3 EPs n(n) as well as Santana & it’s sequel, tana’s ringing in 2023 by making Gaultier his official major label debut.

“y” is a cloudy trap opener to the EP with tana the type of woman to drive you crazy yet the one you’d want to settle down & have kids with whereas “archive” continues to take a more atmospheric route courtesy of Internet Money Records founder Taz Taylor talking about wanting to touch the stars. “saving me” samples “Clairvoyant” by MISOGI confessing that he can’t be saved whatsoever, but then “hell nah” gives me a more psychedelic feel talking about hanging with shooters & telling/showing you how he feels.

Moving on from there with “hell yeah”, we have tana boasting his wealth & being prideful of the position that he’s in currently on top of a pluggy trap instrumental leading into
“fear no man” talking about being afraid of anyone or anything over some hi-hats & synthesizers provided by Zodiac. “gon be ok” keeps things in cloud rap territory promising that everything will work itself out in the end just before the piano-laced “swaggin’ like this”with Lancey Foux finds the 2 showing y’all how they swag out.

The song “as i walk thru the path” speaks on getting faded in light of haters over a peppy trap beat while the penultimate track “hills @ night” has a more wavier groove to it from the synths to the lyrics about wanting to call this baddie his. “hope you feel the same” however is an acoustic-heavy closer to the EP touching on being unable to numb the pain & being stuck in his ways. I also don’t mind the interpolation of “changes” by the late XXXTENTACION at the back-end of the verse either.

Of the 3 protégés that Lil Tecca has taken under his wing & signed to Galactic/Republic so far, I respectfully think tana is the most promising of the bunch & Gaultier further cements that in my personal opinion. From the improved production choices to the passionate performances & catchy songwriting, this is a solid major label debut that demonstrates how much he’s grown as an artist within the last 5 years & gives me the feeling that it’s only the beginning.

Score: 3.5/5

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Lil Yachty – “Let’s Start Here.” review

This is the 3rd full-length album from Mableton, Georgia rapper, singer/songwriter, producer & actor Lil Yachty. Skyrocketing to fame in 2016 by bringing a unique sound & personality to the trap subgenre on his debut mixtape Lil Boat, his subsequent material since then has ranged from being mid at best like Summer Songs 2even his previous mixtape Michigan Boy Boat to absolute trash like Teenage Emotions or & Nuthin’ 2 Prove. But when I heard that Let’s Start Here was gonna be a complete stylistic departure for Yachty in contrast to one of my favorite singles of last year “Poland”, I was sold in checking it out.

“the BLACK seminole.” pretty much sets the tone for what’s to come as Yachty sings about his inner self & compares himself to the titular Native American-Africans part of the Seminole people over a Jimi Hendrix/Pink Floyd inspired psychedelic rock instrumental whereas “the ride-“ with Teezo Touchdown takes a more neo-soul route with the 2 singing about needing the special women in their lives by their sides. “running out of time” has a more summery twang to it addressing a relationship that pretty much ran it’s course at this point prior to Foushée tagging along for the atmospheric “pRETTy” singing about dying the pussy.

After the “:(failure(:” interlude, “THE zone~” to go into space rock territory admitting that Yachty feel at home up until he’s by his lonely with Justine Syke counter-parting him telling him she never meant to make him feel alone & asking if he’d put anyone else above her leading into “WE SAW THE SUN!” having a bit of a Tame Impala influence sonically singing about how shit don’t get better & to take picture for proof. The “drive ME crazy!” duet with Diane Gordon has a more synthpop flare to it as they profess their love for one another with Yachty dropping a cool reference to Kanye’s “Jesus Lord” during the 2nd verse, but then “IVE OFFICIALLY LOST ViSiON!!!!” is an otherworldly experience detailing a bad drug trip over an EPIC guitar riff.

“sAy sOMETHINg” brings back a more mellow vibe instrumentally living the dream & feeling like a teenager again while “paint THE sky” gives me a bit of an art pop feel to it singing about stalling for & overdosing on one’s love. The song “sHouLd i B?” treads the psychedelic pop waters admitting that he needs to do right by his lover & that he ain’t mad at what she did even though he’s unsure if he should be while the penultimate track “The Alchemist.” sings about living a good life over some warm rock production. “REACH THE SUNSHINE.” featuring Daniel Caesar is a 6 minute neo-psychedelic grand finale with them talking about filling a void.

If you told me 7 years ago that the same guy who made “1Night” & “Never Switch Up” would go on to drop a full-blown psychedelic rock album & actually manage to pull it off, I would’ve laughed at you. And if anyone can’t appreciate the artistic growth that Yachty shows throughout Let’s Start Here., then that’s your funeral because the most consistent body of work that I’ve heard from him in a grip. All the artists that he draws inspiration from mentioned throughout the review (i.e. Hendrix, Pink Floyd) have literally made some of my favorite music EVER & the fact that we got a body of work from him in those specific styles of music into his own after being called a “mumble rapper” early on in his career proves ANYTHING’s possible.

Score: 4.5/5

Ty Farris – “Welcome 2 Room 39” review

This is the 9th full-length album from Detroit emcee Ty Farris. Coming up under the name T-Flame, he was featured on a lot of projects throughout the mid-2000’s until the very end of the decade where he started to put out solo stuff at a prolific rate from Tyrant to Room 39. But coming fresh off his 3rd EP Moments of Mayhem alongside his last 2 albums Fluorescent Mud & Pain for Ya Vein respectively, Ty’s liking back up with Trox for a 3rd installment of the Room 39 saga.

After the intro, the first song “Defiant Stance” is an impassioned opener with Ty talking about not tolerating any disrespect & smiling when slitting motherfucker’s necks whereas “Came a Long Way” with 38 Spesh finds the 2 over a soulful instrumental talking about how far they’ve made it in this rap game. “Another Crackbaby” works in a high-pitched vocal sample with some kicks & snares getting on his battle rap shit, but then Rome Streetz comes into the picture for the woozy “Different Bracket” justifiably comparing & contrasting them from anyone else bar for bar.

However with “Disloyalty Meets Greed & Revenge”, we have T-Flame over a mellow ass beat coming through with some remarkable storytelling for 3 & a half minutes leading into the groovy “Please Don’t Overdose” of course talking about that cocaína. “You Didn’t Know You Was in Hell” returns to the boom bap welcoming you to a place where everybody be plotting just before the song “Let’em Out the Prison” going into more conscious territory with a somber yet dusty beat. The penultimate track “Seize It” with Noveliss sees the pair over a flute talking about waiting their lives for this moment & “Venting” is a confessional closer with a slick instrumental.

Everything that Trox has laced for Ty is just absolute gold, so it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that Welcome 2 Room 39 stands as my favorite project that he’s done since the 4th installment of the No Cosign, Just Cocaine series. I know I’ve been like a broken record for the past year by mentioning the long-awaited 5th & final entry set to arrive next month, but this continues to bring the astonishing cohesiveness that made Room 39 & it’s sequel highlights in T-Flame’s discography.

Score: 4.5/5

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Summrs – “Stuck in My Ways” review

This is the 7th full-length album from Louisiana rapper Summrs. Coming up as a member of the Goonie-founded Slayworld collective, he presence has been known predominantly in the plugg scene by constantly dropping projects whether it be his previous EP What We Have or even the last album Fallen Raven that we got 6 months ago. Both of which I highly recommend listening to if you wanna get into his music & is also enough to have me looking forward to Stuck in My Ways when he announced it merely days ago.

“Relying on Roxy” is an acoustic trap opener produced by BenjiCold with dude feeling like he’s dying when he’s strung out whereas “Start Striking” takes a cloudier route picking up where it’s predecessor left off thematically talking about fighting withdrawals. “No Days Off” brings back the acoustics yet again referring to himself as a rockstar & being in the studio constantly leading into the ethereal “Life’s a Beautiful Curse” talking about the ups & downs that come with living in the world today.

However on “Pure Motion”, we have Summrs handling the hook so his younger brother Desire can spit a verse accompanied by a booming GeoGotBands instrumental just before the synth-laced “No Morals” calling out some bitches for being as licentious as they are. “Russian Roulette” has a wavier groove to it admitting that he ain’t in this rap shit for the fame but rather the cheese, but then “Die Rich” blends some synthesizers & bass to talk about going out lit.

“Van Cleef Poppin’” dives into plugg territory droppin’ some vibrant braggadocio along the way while “Addy Geek” brings a more futuristic flare to the mix talking about being fucked up off the Adderall. “The Detox” comes together with some keys & hi-hats courtesy of Chief Keef to my surprise dedicating it to a bitch who be with him because he stays winning while “Drug Traffickin’” is another piano trap ballad about living lavish in the penthouse.

Meanwhile on “Like a River”, things take a more moodier approach encouraging to keep the money flowing while “My Voicemail” is a settle 2 & a half minute R&B joint which is fine except my biggest complaint about it definitely has to be the mixing. “Closing the Book” is a syrupy slow jam singing how he ain’t like the other boys that his girl has been with in the past with the stripped back “Blood Tears” talking about no one being on the same tier as him & that things would’ve been done differently had said person was with him. 

“Miles on U” comes through with a hazy, auto-tune heavy pop rap cut with some romantic lyricism while “Album Just for You” goes pluggnb thanks to Autumn! singing about how he has a whole unreleased body of work on his phone dedicated to the love of his life. “I.K.Y.M.M.G. (I Know You Miss Me Girl)” has a more standard plugg sound telling this woman to call him because he knows she misses him dearly while “Pilates” keeps the synths & hi-hats going talking about everything being exotic.

Following that, “Like My Diamonds” keeps things in plugg turf comparing his girl’s beauty to his ice while the woozy “Baby Blue Gwag” is a catchy little ode about copping this dude’s girl a G Wagon. The track “Switch Sound” is a shimmering trap banger with some boastful lyrics while the penultimate song “Praise da Most High” is a peppy anthem giving his thanks to the man upstairs. The title track then ends the album on an acoustic trap note admitting that he wars his heart on his sleeve & is trying to cover up his sins with the drank. 

Fallen Raven still stands as my favorite Summrs album to date since it shows his artistic range best, but I still came away from Stuck in My Ways enjoying it almost as much. Primarily because of the fact that still brings the pop rap, pluggnb & rage aesthetics that made the previous full-length enjoyable & swapping the drill undertones out by pulling from alternative/contemporary R&B a little bit more than usual.

Score: 3.5/5

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Eto – “Dead Poets” review

Eto is an MC from Rochester, New York who I first caught wind of him in 2018 with his feature at the end of the 6th installment of Westside Gunn’s infamous HWH mixtape series & eventually his DJ Muggs-produced full-length debut Hell’s Roof a few months later. This was followed up with Long Story Short as well as & Front Row & The Beauty of It, but is enlisting Toronto’s very own Futurewave behind the boards to make Dead Poets his first solo effort in 2 & a half years.

The titular intro sets things off with a bare piano instrumental talking about people trying to leave them in the dark & still shining regardless whereas “Vintage” works some raw kicks & snares declaring that he’s still living like the king he truly is to this day. “Bullets & Pills” was a good choice for a lead single keeping things in boom bap turf talking about having to clean up shop if one got the bills prior to Daniel Son tagging along for the gritty follow-up “Make It Out” as they both vividly describe being fortunate enough to get out of tough situations alive & well.

Moving on from there with “Poetry is Dead”, we have Eto over lavish piano chords pointing out the fact that those cut from the same cloth as him won’t live if the grind stops leading into “Cut the Robbin” returning to the boom bap declaring shop to be open for business nor to forget the unforgiven. The solemn titular interlude prioritizes self discipline & addressing that he hasn’t taken any losses or even wins yet just before G4 Jag comes into the picture for the jazzy “Did You Hear?” answering the question if either of them heard what others have said.

“My Poetry Deep” talks about how rare it is to see a costless person fall after learning that scared money gets it all over a boom bap instrumental with some harmonious background vocals while the song “City Broken” with Warlord Ironsheik has a more morbid approach sonically as both MCs advise not to slip & that slowly is the fastest way to get to where you wanna be in life. The penultimate track “Black Star” is a symphonic boom bap hybrid speaking on what those who die good men will receive & “Don’t Listen” ends things with Tearz handling the verses calling himself Van Gogh with a hoodie & Timbs on top of a tranquil beat.

From the moment Dead Poets was announced over the summer, I knew it was bound to be a great comeback from Eto after nearly 3 years of dropping a solo effort & I’m more than satisfied with the outcome of it. Although I respectfully wasn’t too crazy about the features during the back end of the album, Futurewave’s production is incredibly consistent & Swayze himself sounds rejuvenated on the mic.

Score: 4/5

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Smokingskul – “Bready” review

This is the 28th EP from emerging Swedish-American recording artist Smokingskul. Coming up in the spring of 2018 off his debut EP Souls, it wasn’t until earlier this week where my little brother & UnreleasedSnip founder Jacob! played some of his shit for me during a smoke session. Namely the singles “Assembly Line” & “Vlone”. I was so impressed by the witty lyricism throughout both of those cuts, that it intrigued me enough to check out the Geffen Records-backed Nat Cap a few days later. I didn’t get to cover his previous EP Swedish Guy a few weeks later, but was most certainly intrigued to hear Bready following it’s announcement over the weekend.

“Chicken Wing” is a bombastic trap opener spitting about his mob ties even including an insane Backyardagains reference whereas “Aesthetic” comes through with a more synth-based approach calling out those who want his formula kin to a Krabby Patty or matching much like Freddy Krueger & Jason Voorhees. “Blue Zan” delivers a chaotic trap instrumental that he loves the blick more than rednecks along with getting Starbucks & how he ain’t Dunkin’, but then “Comic Con” almost has a cloudy flare to it talking about everything being real with him.

However with “Move”, we have Skul airing out the artists who be purpin’ & making all the opps accompanied by some sub-bass & synthesizers while the song “Fed 2” is a short yet aggressive sequel to the highlight “Fed” off his 22nd EP Da Slimeprint nearly 10 months ago at this point. The penultimate track “Green” goes into more pluggier turf letting y’all know what he’s sipping on & being off that white à la Charlie Sheen just before the rage-inducing closer “Perks on Hand” ties things up talking about staying to himself.

In comparison to everyone else that’s apart of the Taliban collective, Smokingskul has only been further revealing himself to be my favorite member within the past few months & Bready solidifies that for being the kick-off to what I personally believe will be the biggest year of his career to date. The production year again hones in on the plugg sound that he blew up off of as his distinct voice, invigoratingly aggressive delivery & witty gangsta raps continue to cement him as one of the most exciting new faces in the subgenre.

Score: 4/5

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Tha God Fahim – “Dark Shogunn Assassin”

This is the 39th EP from from Atlanta emcee/producer Tha God Fahim. Coming up as an affiliate of Griselda Records alongside Mach-Hommy & Your Old Droog, he’s also built up an incredibly vast discography with a couple of standouts being Breaking Through tha Van Allen Belts & Dump Assassins. Now the last time I covered Fahim’s work was when he dropped his 19th full-length album 6 Ring Champ & the final installment of the Shot Clock King trilogy of EPs produced by Nicholas Craven shortly after last spring, but is reuniting with Griselda in-house producer Camoflauge Monk to drop Dark Shogunn Assassin following the NicoJP-produced Chess Moves only a few days prior.

“Gristle” is a jazzy boom bap opener with Fahim rapping about how the dumpin’ won’t stop until he says as well as bringing the pain similar to that of Method Man & asking who the boogeyman of this rap shit really is. Estee Nack of the Tragic Allies also happens to pop up during the 2nd half of the song to lay down the EP’s only guest verse & he absolutely obliterates it, raising my expectations for Nacksaw Jim Duggan even higher than it already was when Westside Gunn announced it on Twitter a month ago already. The penultimate track “Sword n Shields” blends some kicks & snares with these low-register synthesizers so he can treat his pen as if it was a blade moonwalking over MCs as if the late King of Pop himself Michael Jackson came back from the dead & advising that you can lead a horse to the pond, but can’t make them drink. “Never Back Down” finishes it all off on a more mellow note with Fahim talking about being up for any challenge that’s brought to him & coming up from the struggle.

Blvk Pearl, it’s sequel, Iron Monkey, Iron Monkey: Dump Olympics & Only God Can Judge Me are all essential Fahim projects in my book so my expectations going into this EP were significantly higher than Chess Pieces as a result of that. Needless to say, they did it again with Dark Shogunn Assassin. Yeah it’s only 3 tracks running at 9 minutes, but don’t let that scare you from thinking that Camoflauge Monk’s raw production & Fahim’s elevated lyricism make it more than worth your while because they really never miss whenever they join forces.

Score: 4/5

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Sk8star – “rebel” review

This is the 4th EP from Atlanta recording artist Sk8star. Blowing up in the spring of 2021 off Superstar Status, he would go on to follow it up last year with both the B4NWØ EP & his debut mixtape New World Ørder respectively. The latter being my introduction to Sk8’s music after my lil brody UnreleasedSnip put me on, with songs like “Standin’ on Business” & “YSL Flow” being the standouts for me personally. He just dropped his previous EP Mogul a month after we saw him live in Brooklyn & just so happened to surprise drop rebel here over the weekend, 4 weeks later.

“king of the hill” is a guitar-tinged trap opener with Sk8 talking about a baddie in high heels being totally unaware of how good he makes her feel whereas “mono boots alyx” has a more atmospheric approach asking a shorty what her sign is & shows off the titular boots that he happens to own. “imma ride” works in some hi-hats & strings speaking on being by his homie’s side, but then “status” takes the cloudier route to talk about how he been ballin’. The woozy penultimate track “in the shadows” produced by Indigo finds Sk8 acknowledging that he’s doing better than his enemies & they hate him for it just before “motion” sends things off on a peppy yet melodic note having just that.

If anyone’s still not up on this dude yet, then I recommend you change that because I think one of the ATL’s most exciting up-&-comers at the moment is gonna go even harder than he did last year when I got put onto him & this definitely goes to show it. It’s really fresh to hear him detail where he’s at in his life currently & even displaying his versatility with some the beats that these producers bring to the table.

Score: 3.5/5

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Ice Spice – “Like..?” review

Ice Spice is a 23 year old rapper from The Bronx, New York who actually grew up with a hard knock life at the Hudson Street Orphanage ran by Agatha Hannigan. After being adopted by Oliver Warbucks, she grew up to pursue a music career last summer after uploading a couple viral music videos & landing a Capitol Records contract. Drake eventually flew her out to join him at OVO Fest not too long after & unfollowed her on Instagram rather quickly once the festival concluded, with him calling her “a 10 trying to rap” & that her music is “good on mute” on the highlight track “BackOutsideBoyz” off his recent collab album with 21 Savage that dropped a couple months ago Her Loss. But to prelude her full-length debut, she’s surprise dropping her debut EP in only a few hours’ notice.

“In Ha Mood” is a decent sample drill opener with a jersey club flare to it convincing her mans to stay with him even though she wants to turn up whereas “Princess Diana” compares herself to the late Princess of Wale over some more safer drill production. “Gangsta Boo” with Lil Tjay averagely flips “I Need a Girl, Pt. 2” by Puff Daddy touching on gangsta love & having nothing to do with the late Gangsta Boo whatsoever while the song “Actin’ a Smoochie” staying in sample drill turf getting raunchy. The penultimate track “Bikini Bottom” has a fresh slack-key guitar as she discusses what fame has brought her & “Munch” is a Brooklyn drill closer paying tribute to cunnilingus.

Before I wrap things up, lemme just say the Annie references at the beginning of the review were clearly jokes. As far as the quality of the music being presented, it’s a decent EP. I can definitely see why she’s popular in the Brooklyn drill scene, but it’s just that I’ve heard the sample drill style that she also pulls from on here pulled off better with projects such as RealYungPhil’s 7th EP Dr. Phil & even Pasto Flocco’s most recent stuff.

Score: 3/5

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Trippie Redd – “Mansion Musik” review

Trippie Redd is a 23 year old rapper & singer/songwriter from Canton, Ohio who came up in the 2017 off the first 2 installments of the A Love Letter to You mixtape series. The kid would continue to grow after dropping his full-length debut Life’s a Trip & then A Love Letter to You 3 the following year. However, the quality of his music started to take a nosedive given the mediocrity of ! & A Love Letter to You 4. If you thought it couldn’t get any worse, Pegasus was a bloated mess & the Travis Barker-produced pop punk foray Neon Shark vs. Pegasus is barely better. Last time we heard Trippie though was a year & a half ago now when he dropped Trip at Knight, where nearly every song sounded similar to one another. But for his 6th album, he’s tapping in with the Drill God himself Chief Keef to executive produce it.

The title track is an uncanny trap opener with Trippie dropping some braggadocio whereas “ATLANTIS” finds him & Keef linking up over some rage beats showing off their extravagant lifestyles. Future tags along for the chaotic “PSYCHO” talking about losing their sanity, but then Lil Baby accompanies them both on the bassy banger “FULLY LOADED” talking about being strapped.

“KNIGHT CRAWLER” feels more like a Juice WRLD song featuring Trippie Redd with the main artist himself encouraging to start a riot & Juice plotting to take over the world just before “VAN HELSING” talks about being a chameleon over some synths & hi-hats. “FREE RIO” comes through with a Detroit trap influenced dedication to Rio da Yung O.G. leading into “KRZY TRAIN” with Travis Scott going full-blown trap metal to discuss being married to the game.

Moving on from there with “MUSCLES”, we have Lil Durk coming into the picture as he & Trippie rep their respective gangs up in this bitch over a spacious trap beat while “GOODFELLAS” with Nardo Wick has one of the weaker feature performances with his verse near the end despite the piano instrumental & the subject matter of hustlin’ out kin to one of the greatest movies ever. “KILLIONAIRE” talks about being an achiever backed by some suspenseful production while Big30’s verse on “HIGH HOPES” is no better as much as I enjoy the beat that Chopsquad DJ brings to the table & Trippie’s performances.

“DIE DIE “ with LUCKI finds the 2 back in hypertrap territory talking about the city being theirs & being to fly while the blaring “WHO ELSE!” with Rich the Kid address their mob ties with Rich’s verse being a bit mediocre. “BIGGEST BIRD” sounds like it was made for Summrs’ latest album Fallen Raven since Trippie’s only on the hook & I’ll still take it since that’s his best full-length to date, but “HIDEOUT” with Fijimacintosh kinda gives me sci-fi vibes instrumentally & both showing off mansions.

Rylo Rodriguez’ verse on the energizing “WITCHCRAFT” is underwhelming as the lyrics address recklessness while “TOILET WATER” with Ski Mask the Slump God picks things back up as both parties deliver a grim ballad belittling anyone who dares to step up to them. “PURE” with G Herbo works in some organs as they talk about how they’ve been trapping since they were kids prior to Chief Keef returning 1 last time on the triumphant “Rock Out” speaking on being big dogs.

“ARMAGEDDON” with Rob49 brings back the rage beats warning that they have 100 round drums on them while the song “NUN” being one of the weakest cuts as there is “nun” really going on with DaBaby’s verse although the subject matter of not being told shit is relatable & the production is alright. The penultimate track “Swag Like Ohio, Pt. 2” is a remarkable sequel to one of The Almighty Based God Lil B’s greatest hits with him even dropping a verse at the back-end & “Colors” with Kodak Black ends things with a pluggy Pi’erre Bourne instrumental showing off their Rollie’s.

As critical as I’ve been with Trippie Redd’s most recent output, I actually think Masion Musik is a slightly-above average step in the right direction for him & it has me anticipating A Love Letter to You 5. I like how he switched up his sound quite a bit & But improved his vocal performances, it’s just that the album’s too long & would’ve been better if you took off the joints where the features were punching under their weight.

Score: 3/5

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