Sk8star – “whole new meaning” review

This is the 2nd mixtape from Atlanta recording artist Sk8star. Getting his footing 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 put out his previous EP Mogul a month after we saw him live in Brooklyn back in November & eventually rebel at the beginning of this year, but is returning once more to surprise drop whole new meaning.

“new racks” is a cloudy trap opener to the tape produced by toom of Vanguard Music Group with Sk8 blasting about the new money that’s been coming in over his way prior to “mitchell & ness” working in some synthesizer patterns & hi-hats knowing that he’s keep shining when it’s all said, done & over with. “permanent damage” has a more delicate trap sound to it thinking that he needs a bad bitch in his life until the title track brings back the synths & hi-hats once more talking about looking at life in a different way now.

Meanwhile, “say so” discusses being the big dog of this shit with a mystic trap instrumental accompanying him in the background just before “red dead” talks about doubling his cup & the beat having a more psychedelic groove to it this time around. “love galore” switches it up a bit by diving into glitzier territory by melodically detailing how much of a good heart he has & wanting to see the real her, but then “offering” turns back into a more spacious route talking about doing whatever he wants without anyone having to control him.

“hermès” brings in the rage beats with co-production from fellow Vanguard member & Internet Money Records’ very own ReidMD making it clear to cut the laughin’ since this ain’t no joke whatsoever while “light ice” featuring tana & untiljapan is another highlight on the tape for me personally as the trio hop over a cloudy instrumental talking about riding around the coup in the late night with a minimal amount of ice in their leap cups in their own distinctive styles.

The song “trendy” continues to delve further into a more atmospherical sound courtesy of Cxdy talking about everything he does is fashionable or up to date while the penultimate track “in trouble” is a hazier trap cut calling out those who think they’re bigger than him for hallucinating & to watch your back considering the dirtiness of the music industry. And finally, “#staytrue” rounds out the tape with a inspirationally trippy ballad about always being yourself no matter what.

Of the 3 projects that Sk8’s delivered within the last 6 months, whole new meaning is quickly becoming my favorite of the trilogy even though that’s not to throw shade at Mogul & rebel because there are still some rewindable highlights on those EPs. The handful of Vanguard & Internet Money members cook up the most consistent batch of beats he’s rapped over since New World Ørder as he profoundly displays his new perspective of this crazy thing we call life.

Score: 3.5/5

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Ouija Macc – “Detritus” review

This is the 7th mixtape from Las Vegas emcee Ouija Macc. Breaking out in the fall of 2017 after the Insane Clown Posse signed him to Psychopathic Records shortly after putting out his debut EP Trashfire independently, Ouija has since proven himself as one of the most consistent & hard working dudes in the underground by dropping 3 full-lengths, 2 greatest hits compilations, his previous 6 mixtapes & 4 EPs all in the span of nearly 6 years. He even started his own label Chapter 17 Records & made the big homie HEXXX the first signee to PSY’s new subsidiary almost a year ago by now. The previous Ouija tape Fallen Angelic just celebrated it’s 1 year anniversary at the beginning of the month & his latest album Stalewind was a near perfect conclusion to the Element saga, but is now following up the Hideous collab album he dropped with Golden BSP only a few months ago by welcoming y’all to Detritus.

After the “Lost Transmission” intro, the first song “Freak” opens the tape with an ratchet ode for all of those who like it nasty whereas “Dypschyt” works in some bass & hi-hats courtesy of Shaggytheairhead so everyone can go dumb. “Blam Blam ‘Em” spits that gun talk over a dark Devereaux instrumental just before the uncanny trap hybrid “Deadzone” vividly details a demon coming after him for 3 days back to back to back.

“Apollo 17” has a bit of a Memphis flare sonically detailing a murder that he had been planning for weeks leading into “Clown Luv” coming through with a spiritual successor to the joint off Shaggy 2 Dope’s solo debut EP Fuck Off!. “Rich Boy Pacc” pulls some bells & hi-hats together making it clear what he be smoking on, but then “Lumberjacc” is a jazz/trap hybrid talking about punani being all he needs.

Meanwhile on “Rippin’ Out Ur Guts”, we have Ouija spitting the wicced shit over an unhinging beat while “Human Malfunction” switches it up into a cloudier sound admitting to not knowing much other than our days being numbered & cautioning to get back before your shit gets jacked. “Just Go” brings in more bells & hi-hats bragging that his foot’s on the gas with his pockets on swole while “Dream Survey” atmospherically confesses that demons stand by him as he sleeps. 

“Well Wicced” is a short but macabre continuation with a bassy trap instrumental boasting that shit can’t get more wicced than this while “They Don’t Like Me” lays these hi-hats behind a killer guitar throughout getting on his emo shit a bit. “Look Bacc” bombastically tells y’all to keep the past in the past while “Way the Shit Go” brings back the guitars thanks to Billy Martin talking about how life be sometimes. And until the “Found Transmission” outro, the final song “In the End” sends off the tape with a roller coaster ride of an 8-minute closer about the world falling victim to stupidity.

Chapter 17 has quickly become one of the most dominant forces in the underground wicked shit scene within the last couple years & coming off what seemed to be their biggest yet, the CEO indicates that it’s only gonna get bigger from here because I happen to enjoy Detritus more than Hideous with all respect. The performances are more consistent & the production continues to evolve the sounds of his finest full-length that he gave us at last year’s Gathering.

Score: 4/5

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Lil Keed – “Keed Talk to ‘Em 2” review

This is the 6th & final mixtape from late Atlanta rapper Lil Keed. Emerging in 2018 off his first 2 mixtapes Trapped in Cleveland & Slime Avenue, it was enough to catch the attention of local trap pioneer Young Thug & sign him to Thugger’s very own 300 Entertainment imprint YSL Records shortly after. Keed eventually made his YSL debut with his 3rd mixtape Trapped in Cleveland 2 & & eventually landing a spot on the label’s Slime Languagecompilation that summer. The follow-up Keed Talk to ‘Em on the other hand is undeniably his best tape & Long Live Mexico wound up being a decent full-length album albeit being his only one, but Trapped in Cleveland 3 & even 3.5 were mediocre to say the least. But as I like many others were hoping that he would bounce back last spring, Keed unfortunately passed away of eosinophilia at the age of 24.

“Go See” opens things up with a sample based-trap instrumental as Keed talks about those who thought he was a disgrace were amazed how far he came until his untimely passing whereas “Bags to the Sky” has a more tropical quality to the beat thanks to JetsonMade touching on going from Ralph Lauren to Gucci. NAV tags along for the hypnotic, Bollywood inspired “Muso Kuso” talking about the type of swag they got leading into Keed’s brother Lil Gotit joining him for “SRT” admitting that neither of them wanna fuck over some strings & hi-hats.

However, “Hottest” with Big Sean seems to be an attempt at a spiritual successor to “Hot” by Thug & Gunna down to the instrumental that falls flat on it’s face until the Offset-assisted “How Many” picks things back up with it’s orchestral beat & the lyrics pondering the amount of bitches they took. “Get Money” with Trippie Redd has some more rage vibes surprisingly as they touch on their respective hustles, but then “Think About It” comes through with a heartfelt trap ballad touching on the paranoia that he was feeling.

“Long Way to Go” is a pop rap jam that I think YSL made the right choice of making the lead single as Keed admits that he was feeling like he was closer than ever while “Can’t Fall Victim” comes through with an acoustic trap fusion touching on him feeling the symptoms of being rich. Big Slime dominates “All I Wanna Know” for a compelling ballad produced by London on da Track asking if anyone’s rocking with them as his fallen protege only pops up for the final verse while “Lost My Trust” with Cordae finds the 2 over some woodwinds & hi-hats calling out hoes for sleeping with their homies.

Moving onto “Hitman”, we get a trap beat with some heinous piano melodies & lyrics about how his assassin never takes days off while “Betty Boop” with Karlae comes through with a pop rap/trap crossover providing a strip club ballad for all the baddies out there. Lil Jairmy comes through with one of the weaker feature performances on “Off Land” despite the Einer Bankz instrumental & the themes of stepping on shit like soldiers prior to the Wheezy-laced “Big Bag” with Thugger & Dolly White picking it up with a harp/trap hybrid about wealth.

StickBaby’s verse on the bassy “Kick Back” is underwhelming although I love how the Render brothers were both thuggin’ à la the greatest Grand Theft Auto game of all-time San Andreaswhile the song “Self Employed” was my favorite single that was released leading up to the tape with a touching pop rap cut talking about the self paid life that he was living. The penultimate track “Love Me Again” reaches the climax of the tape on an emotional note showing off how young, fly & flashy he was with the gospel flavored closer “Thank You Lord” enhancing the bittersweetness up to 11.

Despite everything that’s been going on with YSL for the past 10 months, Keed Talk to ‘Em 2 is surprisingly the best thing to come from the label since then & a solid sendoff for Keed. The production’s better, the dosage of features are just right although there are only a couple of them who missed the landing & you get a good look as to where here was at in his life before God abruptly decided to call him home. If this is the last time we’ll get a project from him, then they did him right.

Score: 3.5/5

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Ty Farris – “No Cosign, Just Cocaine 5: The Final Sniff” review

This is the 11th mixtape 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 returning for the 5th & final installment of the No Cosign Just Cocaine series.

After the “80’s Cocaine” intro, the first song “The Coca Leaf” works in a drumless loop as T-Flame spits about that cocaína prior to Jae Skeese tagging along for the gritty “We Never Backing Down” talking about refusing to fold. “Alejandro Sosa” has a slicker yet cinematic groove to the production courtesy of Trox speaking on the man only concerned about the quota, but then “Dean Smith” takes a more soulful with it’s bare sample & the lyrics concerning the rap game’s dean’s list.

As for “Dope Speak 4 Itself”, we have J. Arrr & Vega7 the Ronin joining Ty over a cavernous boom bap instrumental provided by Stu Bangas to show off their lyrical prowesses just before “The Thoughts of Ghost” comes through with a standout from the horror flick-inspired beat that Big Ghost Ltd. cooks up to the bars about being a hot boy before Lil Wayne could start to curse in his music. Flames Dot Malik drops a husky verse on “The Twilight Zone” as they continue to son motherfuckers on the mic over what is possibly the darkest Wino Willy beat I’ve ever heard leading into “Underestimate Me” weaving some synths, kicks & snares speaking to those who underrate him.

“The Most Feared Threat” with Mickey Diamond, Pro Dillinger & Snotty finds the quartet over a shimmering boom bap beat from Finn referring to themselves as problems in the game while “Critically Acclaimed” has a richer quality to it taking a dive into his dark mind. The song “Brown Bags Over Revolvers” with Daniel Son sees the pair on top of some pianos, kicks & snares to live lawless while the penultimate track “Never Lose Respect” returns to soulful turf declaring himself as the Jesus of this rap shit. “The Most High” concludes the tape & the NCJC series with a downtrodden Bozack Morris instrumental living for today.

I’ve been anticipating this project for quite some time now & even had the honor of seeing the artwork only a few months before the final product was even announced earlier this week. From that moment on, I knew I wasn’t gonna be disappointed it & it couldn’t have been a better conclusion to the saga now that we got it in full. Ty lyrically continues to cement himself as one of the best in underground today, the guest list is nearly as on point as the last installment’s was & the production is consistently raw.

Score: 4.5/5

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Babytron – “Bin Reaper 3: New Testament” review

This is the 8th mixtape from Detroit emcee Babytron. Coming up as a member of the trio ShittyBoyz along with his childhood friends Stanwill & TR Dee, he also branched out on impressive solo career for himself as well as the side groups Lewis & Clark and the Dookie Brothers. But the last couple years was probably his biggest yet landing interviews ranging from No Jumper to even Rolling Stone following the release of Luka Trončić a couple summers prior to signing with EMPIRE Distribution later that same month & then Bin Reaper 2: The 2nd Coming that same fall. But now coming off Megatron last spring & a spot in the 2022 XXL Freshman Class a couple months later, he’s dropping the other half of the final installment of the Bin Reaper trilogy.

“Forever $cams” is a suspenseful hyphy opener with Tron talking about never stopping whereas “Next Level 2” works in multiple beat switches as he welcomes everyone to the next chapter. “Michigan Ave” has a bit of a catchy groove or rhythm to the instrumental advising to meet him on the titular road, but then “#FREEUNKY” comes through with a more uncanny sound courtesy of Detroit trap veteran Helluva shouting out his uncle that’s currently incarcerated.

Meanwhile on “Gimme Dat”, we have Lil Yachty coming into the picture with Babytron for an explosively raw trap hit as they talk about popping out that cut prior to “CatDog” with Babyface Ray finds 2 of the best rappers in Detroit at the moment calling out those who be talking shit online & backing down in person over some triumphant Bay Area inspired production. Cordae tags along for the mellow “Beetleborgs” getting on some category 5 type shit leading into “Mr. Hanky” referring to himself as the shit over a trap instrumental with a menacing loop.

“Remote Control” finds Tron doing his thing with some beat switches sampling shows ranging from Kenan & Kel to Samurai Jack just before “R.I.P. Hutch” with Rico Nasty & Remble has more vibrant tone to it as the trio deliver a party anthem. “Mike Amiri Monster” is a 2-parter with a piano-trap crossover during the first half & some background vocals for the other referring to himself as such while “Golden Child” mixes some hi-hats & saxes talking about feeling like an Egyptian with all the ice he is.

Following that, “Euphoria 2” has a more dramatic approach in terms of sound reminding that tomorrow’s price isn’t the same as today’s whatsoever while “Sunday School” calling out another for having the sauce yet it’s far from marinated over some keyboard melodies mixed with strings & hi-hats. “Dirty Draco” with KanKan keeps the pianos in tact as both artists speak on sipping Faygo & staying strapped while Certified Trapper’s feature on “Zap Zone” is one of the weakest on the tape despite the whistling loop & the claps within the beat & the lyrics talking about having a game to win.

“Ricky Henderson” compares his lil brodie to that of the titular baseball player accompanied by a wavy trap instrumental while “Waffle House” by the ShittyBoyz, Drego & Beno, RMC Mike, Babyfxce E, JHunnit & Prince Jefe is a decent 3 & a half minute Detroit posse cut. “Mainstream Tron 2” has a cloudy aesthetic to it talking about how it’s all rah-rah with the yacht & the Glock.

As for “100 OVR”, the beat blends these strings & bells as Babytron explains that his crew still sin because all dogs go to heaven as well as calling himself a hustle fiend while “Za Morant” returns to a more atmospheric vibe talking about him balling. “You Would’ve Thought” with DaBoii pulls from nu disco as they both flaunt their success to those who didn’t believe in them while “Animorph” gives off a more saddening feel expressing the pain of watching someone he once respected turning into a snake.

The instrumental throughout the “2 Ea$y” is more horn-laced talking about being the early birdie while the penultimate track “Tronalation 28:27” is a synth/hyphy crossover as Tron confesses that he can’t trust what some fraud has to say to him. “I Can’t Call It” with $camaurion” closes out the tape admitting that they don’t know what they be on these days with a thumping bass-line, some chords & hi-hats.

Although I’d still say that Old Testament is my favorite between both parts of the Bin Reaperfinale, that’s not to say New Testament isn’t worth the time of anyone who’s been following him up to this beat Other than it being a little longer than it should’ve, the 2 things that really wowed me the most about it was the fact that the feature-list is more consistent in comparison to Babytron’s past efforts & the insane punchlines that he endlessly comes up with

Score: 3.5/5

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Choco Valens – “Hollywood Burns” review

Choco Valens is a 33 year old MC from Miami, Florida who came up in 2018 off his full-length debut Kill Politics. This was followed up with his sophomore effort The Night Before the Fight the next summer & then his 3rd full-length album Wolfenstein a couple years later. But as the 2-year anniversary of the latter approaches next month, Choco has seen fit to return in the form of his debut mixtape following the 2-year schedule set by his last 2 efforts.

“Broken Bones” kicks things off with a 3 minute spoken word piece until we get a jazzy boom bap beat & Choco dropping some hard battle bars during the 2 half whereas “No Mercy” perfectly lives up to it’s title to the murderous lyricism to the funereal production. “7 Chakras” comes through with one of my favorite performances on the tape with it’s intricate rhyme schemes & flow switch-ups over an Alchemist instrumental that has kinda sounds like it was originally made for Griselda, but then “Blood Sport” has a more occult atmosphere to it comparing the rap game to such.

Meanwhile on “Heart of Evil”, we have Choco returning to the boom bap spitting the wicked shit to my surprise & pulling it off wonderfully leading into “Mad Villain” comes through with a 7-minute tribute to the late MF DOOM that I think any hip hop head would come to appreciate. Especially with all the multiple beat-switches. Serum, Duivan, King Tetrus, 8ch20wins & Lejnd all come into the picture for the 7-minute posse cut “Born Killers” produced by DJ Pain 1 declaring themselves to be such prior to the bombastic “Rage” encouraging that now’s the time to riot.

Orion Brass tags along for the bluesy “No Days Off” as the 2 talk about having no time to rest while “Free Country” is a short but sweet boom bap joint produced by Evidence & it’s just incredible how much charisma Choco puts on display with his delivery. “Bad Guy” has a more luxurious approach to the instrumental continuing to belittle his competition while the song “Scarface” with Wolf-gang finds the pair jumping on top of some prominent hi-hats to talk about not giving a fuck. The penultimate track “Blue Print” is basically a freestyle over “U Don’t Know” by JAY-Z until “Miami Estate” is a triumphant closer à la Maybach Music Group letting y’all know where you can find him.

It most definitely feels more like a mixtape compared to Choco’s last 3 albums to me, but it’s still a dope way for dude to ring in the new year. It’s cool to hear him pay homage to some of his influences by jumping on top of beats that we’ve already heard before as well as simply hearing how much he’s evolved as an MC within the last 5 years from the flow switch-ups to the passionate execution in his delivery.

Score: 3.5/5

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Juicy J – “Crypto Business” review

This is the 13th mixtape from Memphis rapper, songwriter, producer & record executive Juicy J. Rising to stardom in the 90s as the co-founder of the seminal Three 6 Mafia alongside his Tear Da Club Up Thugs cohorts DJ Paul & the late Lord Infamous, he also had the most successful solo career out of everyone in the Mafia whether it be the Taylor Gang Entertainment/Columbia Records-backed Stay Trippy & Rubba Band Business: The Album or even his last full-length The Hustle Continues under his new MNRK Music Group imprint Trippy Music. He just dropped Stoner’s Night with Wiz Khalifa at the beginning of the year & then Space Age Pimpin’ with Pi’erre Bourne over the summer, but is reuniting with longtime collaborator Lex Luger to surprise drop Crypto Business.

“Night at the Club” is an insane trap opener with Juicy describing the lavish lifestyle that he lives whereas “‘Cause I Live It” with Wiz works in some pianos & hi-hats talking about why they never talk it. Finesse2tymes’ verse on “Be Careful” is a little underwhelming to me despite the themes of watching out who you consider to be friends over more hi-hats & a creepy loop but after the “Big Triece Talk” skit, “Hit the Smoke” works in a soul sample talking about getting higher than a motherfucker.

Moving onto “Coinbase”, we have Juicy over a trap instrumental with some keys & horns calling money his league leading into the Lil Keke-assisted “Kill dat Shit” jumping on top of a repetitive “murder” vocal chop & heavy bass co-produced with BeatKing to get nasty lyrically. “Respectfully” laced some strings & hi-hats from Hitkidd admitting he can’t give bitches anything as well as giving a middle finger to those who be hating, but then “R.I.P.” gives condolences to a number of things ranging from Michael Jackson to the clothes he’s ‘bout to fuck up & the beat here has an uneasy quality to it that I like.

“I Got” however admits he has issues accompanied by some rattling hi-hats while “Send Her Down” returns to a more dramatic approach in sound talking about still being here in spite of those who want him dead for whatever their reasons may be. “Shrooms” with LXST CXNTURY finds the 2 tweaking out on the titular recreational drug with a more darker quality to the production while “Clap” with Trey Dizzle is basically an inferior successor to “Kill da Shit” down the raunchy lyricism.

La Chat though reunites with her former mentor on the self-produced “Mind Yo Business” warning not to stick your nose where it don’t belong over a misty trap instrumental while the bell-laced “Let It Go” betting that a sucka isn’t gonna play with him. The chopped & screwed sample through “Hot Sauce” is a really nice touch talking about being posted on the curb where he used to get rocks off & the final song until the outro “Know What’s In It” truly the ends the tape by charmingly detailing the shit that he got inside of his turn-up cup.

I already knew going into Crypto Business as soon as it was announced merely hours before it came out that it would be the best thing that would give us this year. Lo & behold, I like it more than both Stoner’s Night & Space Age Pimpin’ combined. There are most certainly a couple questionable features & production choices during it’s 47 minute run, but the joints with Juicy & Lex are some the highest points on the tape because of how well they continue to bring the best out of one a dozen years later.

Score: 3.5/5

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Babytron – “Bin Reaper 3: Old Testament” review

Babytron is a 22 year old MC from Detroit, Michigan who came up as a member of the trio ShittyBoyz along with his childhood friends Stanwill & TR Dee. He also branched out on impressive solo career for himself as well as the side groups Lewis & Clark and the Dookie Brothers, but it seems like last year was probably his biggest year yet landing interviews ranging from No Jumper to even Rolling Stone following the release of Luka Trončić last summer prior to signing with EMPIRE Distribution later that same month & then Bin Reaper 2: The 2nd Coming last fall. But now coming off Megatron this past spring & a spot in the 2022 XXL Freshman Class a couple months later, he’s ending the Bin Reaper trilogy in the form of his 7th mixtape.

“Genesis 1:1” opens the tape with Babytron reflecting on his life within the last 5 years over a trap instrumental with some bells whereas “Top 2 Not 2” taking a more futuristic yet triumphant turn talking about being flier than a martian. “Myspace” dives into an airier direction acknowledging that he been had a status leading into “Silly Me”, which works in some synthesizers & a sample of the Tag Team hit “Whoomp! (There It Is)” talking about sliding in that Dawn until it’s dusk.

Continuing with “Wake the Fuck Up”, we have Tron bursting the bubbles of everyone who thought they were up with the beat flipping “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell just before Dougie B tags along for the string/trap-laced “Drake & Josh” talking about pulling out the strap out his BAPE & putting these goofies in their place. “‘15-‘16 Curry” returns a more synth-woven sound comparing himself to Stephen Curry during the mid-2010s, but then “8th Wonder of the World” has a more darker approach in sound declaring himself as such.

Icewear Vezzo comes into the picture for the Helluva-produced “Can You Swim?” to call out those who be burning a lot of bridges like it ain’t shit while “Awful Lot Yeah” talking about been heavy on the lean as of late even though the Enrgy beat is just ok. “1 Side of Things” blends electro/hyphy together saying he’s gonna bounce back from a tape flopping by scamming while “Rage Quit” is a well-sequenced 2-parter with a beat switch during the last 47 seconds talking about making his competition give up if they check the scoreboard.

The song “Dog $hit Militia Cypher 2” by the ShittyBoyz, $camaurion, JuSleaze, MJPAID, ScrumbleMan, Fordio, J3 & Donnie Bands is a decent little gangsta posse cut with some robotic trap production while the penultimate track “AirTron” makes a shit-ton of basketball references down to the producer sampling the Kurtis Blow single paying tribute to his favorite sport. “365 Day Grind” however finishes the tape wonderfully with a dedication to the never-ending hustle.

Now if Babytron is in fact closing the book on the Bin Reaper trilogy here, then I think it’s one that fans will certainly be satisfied with. I’m glad he didn’t overload the tracklisting like with his last couple tapes as he spits some incredibly witty punchlines accompanied by production with some more pluggier undertones than a lot of the stuff he’s given us in the past.

Score: 3.5/5

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Westside Gunn – “Hitler Wears Hermes X” review

This is the 11th mixtape from Buffalo emcee, songwriter & entrepreneur Westside Gunn. Whether it running one of the hottest hip hop labels in recent memory to his first 2 full-lengths FLYGOD & Supreme Blientele, he truly has proven his legend status & that he’s to be a force to be reckoned with all in only the span of 7 years. just put out his last tape PEACE FLYGOD over the summer & with in tradition to the Halloween season, West is dropping the true conclusion of the decade long Hitler Wears Hermes mixtape series after originally dropping the 8th & 9th installments last fall.

After the intro, Doe Boy tags along for the trap opener “FLYGOD Jr.” produced by West’s son hence the title to spit some gangsta-laced braggadocio whereas “Super Kick Party” works in a sample-based boom bap instrumental courtesy of Conductor Williams talking about being athletes & running this shit even from behind bars. A$AP Rocky & Stove God Cook$ both come into the picture for the uncanny yet dusty “Shootouts in Soho” getting on their hustler shit, but then Black Star tags along for the soulful “Peppas” to blend their conscious styles with Westside’s flexing & him using an excerpt of his appearance on AEW Rampage last month for the outro is the ultimate flex.

Meanwhile on “Nigo Louis”, we have West over a drumless yet groovy beat with a guitar talking about hitting shit in broad daylight leading into the Rome Streetz-assisted “BDP” spitting that fly gangsta shit accompanied by a crooning boom bap instrumental. The Margo Guryan flip from Swizz Beatz throughout “Science Class” with Busta Rhymes, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon & Stovey is remarkable as the 5 talk about being the plug just before “God is Love” weaves a drumless sample into the fold prior to a beat switch during the last minute & a half as Estee Nack & Stove God talking about how they done made this work.

The song “Switches on Everything” with Run the Jewels has a jazzier sound to it thanks to Mike Shabb admitting the only way to get them to leave the crib while the penultimate track “Mac Don’t Stop” turns the jazz levels up to 11 with the help of Pete Rock spitting that gun talk. “Red Death” however ends the tape with an epically grimy 10-minute Griselda cut produced by none other than The Alchemist showcasing the unique styles of everyone who laid & killed their verses.

Now as solid was Hitler VIII & IX both were in their own rights, X to me is a great note to end the iconic Halloween mixtape series on & I wanna thank West for all the memories that it’s given me along the way. It’s more focused than PEACE FLYGOD as expected, the features all compliment him in their own respective fashion & the production throughout is just absolutely stellar.

Score: 4.5/5

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Grip – “5 & a Fuck You” review

This is the 2nd mixtape from Atlanta emcee Grip. Coming up in 2017 of his debut mixtape Porch, he would go on to drop his full-length debut Snubnose along with 2 EPs Halo & Proboscidea prior to Detroit veteran Eminem signing Grip to his very own Interscope Records imprint Shady Records last summer. His sophomore effort I Died For This?! the following month was an impressive major label debut showing his potential, so I was excited going into 5 & a Fuck You when he announced it out of the blue a couple nights ago.

“Cook Up” is a booming yet dark trap opener with Grip talking about needing a week to do exactly just that whereas “‘94 Flow” takes the boom bap route to spit some aggressive battle bars. Marco+ tags along for trap-laced “Static” calling out those who don’t want smoke with them, but then “Popular Demand” returns to the boom bap with an organ sample laced with the help of DJ Khalil addressing his return.

Moving on from there with “Da Benzo”, we have Grip delivering a shrilling trap ode to Mercedes-Benz leading into “The F Word” switching it back into boom bap turf talking about giving no fucks. “Value Mall” has a more atmospheric vibe to it explaining how you can ball on a budget just before Tate228 tags comes into the picture for “Cory ‘N Mel” telling the story of 2 robbers of the same name with some chilling soundscapes.

The song “Good” is a soulful celebration of how far we’ve come in this life while the penultimate track “Many Thanks” has a more twangier aesthetic to it with Grip sincerely expressing his gratitude to everyone listening for being the reason why he’s even here for a little over 8 minutes. “Ain’t Ok” though happens to be a solemn closer to the tape talking about the kids not being alright.

If this is something to warm people up for his next full-length, then I think it’ll be even bigger splashes than I Died For This?! as impressive of a major label debut was when it came out a little over a year ago. It’s a lot more rawer in sound, his penmanship is continuing to get better & he’s starting to come into his own artistically.

Score: 3.5/5

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