Mixtape Wrapup (August)
Chamillionaire - Mixtape Messiah 4 [click to listen]
Just in case anyone thought Chamillionaire [click to read] was going soft since his last album Ultimate Victory [click to read] was profanity-free, he sets the record straight with the intro to Mixtape Messiah 4. If I aint the king of mixtapes, you a damn liar, he taunts before utilizing his trademark hook-singing and authoritative flow to remind listeners of the flawless nature of the first three segments in the MM series. While there are lots of moments where hes busy bragging about his success, there are still various instances of where he shows what got him there: Roll Call Reloaded sees him revisiting the previous songs concept of dropping dead-on imitations of other rap superstars, and he tears apart his own renditions of songs like Crooked Is My Dream, Clipses 20K Making Brothers On The Corner, and Nas Hero. Add a couple commercially viable offerings, two tracks where he holds his own alongside fellow Texans Slim Thug and Trae, and an entire disc of bonus songs, and MM 4 sounds more like an album than a mixtape. But then again, thats to be expected. Even though Chamillionaire admits that his last album fell victim to the sophomore slump on The Real Thang, it looks like hes back on track.
Curren$y - Fast Times At Ridgemont Fly [click to listen]
The "Hot Spitta" is back again with another tape this month as he tells us about the Fast Times At Ridgemont Fly. He's been very consistent the past months with this mixtape series, I can't lie. Curren$y is on the grind. He's always willing to try new things (ie. "Modern Day Hippie"). Title track "Fast Times" featuring Mr. Marcelo is that ride out music that thumps hard down the block. I think Spitta hit it in the head when he said "...know I sound over beats, so Breezy" because that's the first thing that comes to mind when the "Navigation Pimpin'" beat drops. He even snuck in a track for Brett Favre to celebrate the Jets' acquisition. Have that bad broad "Roll Your Shit," and cruise to some Spitta shit.
Theo - The Rebirth [click to listen]
What's really good in Rhode Island? Nothing really comes to mind. I can bet your average American can't point it out on their geography quiz. Its one of the original 13 colonies thought, and from Providence, comes Theo with The Rebirth. The mixtape is a good backdrop for good music and "Good Morning America" is a nice starter where Theo spews that "Hip Hop Down To The Socks." Catch him on the Dilla, "Dillageance" instrumental with the swag up. He even trades bars with Skyzoo [click to read] on "Keep Doing Your Thing" over that uptempo Kris Fame production and "High Life" with J.A.M.E.S. Watts is smooth and bouncy. Theo's definitely got that ride out tape that goes well when you're "Riding Down The Freeway." The Rebirth proves that it doesn't matter where you're from, good music can't be denied.
Ced Hughes - What Up Tho?! (Plain Pat) [click to listen]
What Up Tho?! "Mr. VA" is upon us with a refreshing listen, considering the state of music lately (the game is shifting). Seems like artist are stepping their game up and going harder with each release. Creativity is at an all time high. "The Virus" is one of those records. Ced goes on and makes references to every Hip Hop website and blog you've visited in the past. Chances are, he probably put you on to some you didn't know. "Juke Joint" is that uptempo soulful, gospel vibe that is reminiscent of Gnarls Barkley. The title track is more than funky with that deep synth banging out the speakers. He switches the pace on "Blame It On Ced" and gets personal on us. Overall, this mixtape is another breath of fresh air to an oversaturated genre of recycled ideas and rhymes. Looks like the future holds something different than expected. Follow the same formula and it might be your "Ode To Doom."
Mickey Factz - The Leak Vol. 2: The Inspiration [click to listen]
This writer has completely ignored DXnext alum Mickey Factz [click to read] music up until this point, but the New York emcees work ethic is undeniable. His constant online leaks have kept his online presence consistent, and rapper after rapper is offering his own rendition of his track Incredible. As solid as it is, The Leak Vol. 2: The Inspiration doesnt properly capitalize on his hustle: hes letting too many others cash in on his groundwork. Much of Inspiration has cameos from others: a track with Drake and Travis McCoy opens up the tape, and the likes of Tanya Morgan [click to read], Cool Kids and Fresh Daily make appearances as well. These tracks are all dope, but its just too much to sift through before you get to Mickey himself. Once you do get there, though, the results are positive: Live Water sees him flipping a Lauryn Hill track to tell a love story with H2O as its theme, the 9th Wonder-laced [click to read] Good Money is a well-executed ode to greenbacks, and Mickey describes different types of exhilaration on Rush. Mickey Factz is a talented emcee, especially when it comes to crafting conceptual songs: itd just be a bit better if he placed more emphasis on himself.
Planet Asia & DJ Muggs - Pain Language (DJ Warrior) [click to listen]
Anyone whos as excited about the left coast duo of Planet Asia and DJ Muggs putting together this mixtape, dont worry: Pain Language is everything that it should be. DJ Muggs sinister samples and murky organs are the perfect playground for Asias intense, crisply-delivered bars. Even though it clocks in at a mere 38 minutes, its only the newfound Pain Language duo throughout, and its a solid listen from top to bottom. Personal favorites include the assertive Respect Mine the mummified bounce of Nine Milli, and Planet Asias Cops and Coke Sales freestyle over Game and Travis Barkers Dope Boys, but there isnt one subpar offering here. If these two continue working together, the west coast doesnt have a choice but to continue winning.
Torae - Allow Me To Re-Introduce Myself (Legend & DJ Nice) [click to listen]
Judging by the title, Brooklyn emcee and DXnext alum Torae [click to read] feels the need to remind Hip Hop heads of who he is. And once you listen, its crystal clear: who he is: a classically east coast emcee whos armed with some of the best production in the business. Even though Allow Me is feature-heavy with guest spots from Skyzoo, Chaundon, Tanya Morgan and others, Toraes punchline prowess and to-the-point flow prospers well in down-the-line tracks. Plus, many of the songs feature the same guests, so thisalong with beat duties primarily delegated to Khrysis [click to read], 9th Wonder and Vega & Deuces soulful, buoyant backdropskeeps the disc sounding cohesive, despite a cluttered tracklist. Toraes verses also consistently keep up with his peers: and as long as it stays that way, his respect will always be where he deserves it to be.
OJAYZISZ [click to listen]
"That Bloke From Oasis, Said I Couldn't Play Guitar...Someone Shoulda Told Him, I'm A Fuckin' ROC Star." I think its safe to say that line will ring bells across genre platforms for years to come. The undercover ether that was Jay-Z's grand entrance at Glastonbury was G.O.A.T. for centuries as far as music goes. That moment will go down in the music hall of fame. With that said, it only makes sense to bring Oasis and Jay-Z in unison to craft this OJAYZIZ mixtape. Brought to you by 2DopeBoyz, Cookin' Soul and HipHopDX, the intro is definitely one to remember. If you're not a fan of Oasis, this is the mixtape to introduce you. As odd as it sounds, Jay-Z over the acoustic "Quick Gangster" meshed well together. "Where Did Brooklyn Go" sounded a lot different than the original, but I'm not sure that it took away from the mash-up. This project wasn't so much the headnod music that will have you thumping down the block as much as it was the creativity. For being done in one night, this was a solid drop (aside from the moments where it sounded rushed)...now imagine if they would have taken a week?
Add-2 - The Tale of Two Cities Volume 2 [click to listen]
Chi-town, windy city stand up for a second. Let It Bang for a minute. Let this spin for an hour, and ask yourself if you're a real Hip Hop fan. Add-2's [click to read] presence on the M.I.C. is quite impressive. The fact he comes off with different flows and deliveries all in one mixtape, is something special. For those who want to categorize this as a mixtape, you have the right to do so, but front to back, it plays more like an album. Add shows versatility seeing as how "Players Ball" sounds a lot different than a song like "Certified Track Killa." Being as how he's from the Chi, there will always be Lupe Fiasco/Kanye West similarity references, but we hear the potential. Subtract 3, multiply it by 4 then Add 2.
Esso x 2DopeBoyz - The Gardens [click to listen]
If you're not familiar where The Gardens is, you might have to head uptown to Harlem - Lennox and 145th if you hop in a cab. "Mr. Young and Ignorant" is back with this short EP over all Lil Wayne Tha Carter III [click to read] instrumentals. Not only did he use the instrumentals, but he even used autotune like Weezy Who isnt doint that nowadays? it seems more of an epidemic than "A Millie" (Did you peep the chorus on "Kid From Harlem"?). "Misunderstood" and "Let The Beat Build" qualify as the standouts on this EP. "Fuckable" is skippabble, but at a short seven tracks..this seems like a project that was meant for experimentation. Sometimes I feel like I need to "Close My Eyes" and hear Esso [click to read] on some original beats, but I think he's still holding out for the album. Some will argue that the creativity on this project is lacking due to the fact he used someone else's beats/ideas and recreated them with new lyrics, but isn't that the basis that hip hop has been driven on? Taking others ideas and making them your own? (ie. sampling beats, using '70s Disco choruses, biting lyrics, remixing accapella albums). Nothing wrong in doing things because you can, but 2009 will be the year of creativity. Time to think outside the box and stop relying on past blueprints. Make your own and come hard, 'cause that will be the blueprint for the full circle music is coming to. "Go Hard, or Go Home" and hang up the jersey.
Coast 2 Coast - DJ Signature Series Volume 1 (DJ Chuck T) [click to listen]
Rebellious Charleston, South Carolina deejay Chuck T holds it down to kick off the Signature Series (which just dropped volume 2 with DJ Noodles). The recipe here is simple, everything that's hot, recent and/or hitting goes on. Gems include the cutting-room-floor Clipse [click to read] and Joss Stone collaboration "Celebrate" and Chino XL's new Bun B-assisted gem "Cross Your Heart." Usual suspects like Young Jeezy [click to read], Jay-Z [click to read] and Crooked I [click to view] flesh out the tape, but Daz Dillinger, M.I.A. and Sauce Money round out the roster as some unusual suspects. This tape allows you to take that hot audio from the net right to your whip. Early!