Let That Mac Rip: January/February Rap Reviews

Posted: February 21, 2015 in Album, Blog, Dyscyplynary Action, Hip-Hop, Mixtape, Music Review, Reviews
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lupe-fiasco-tetsuo-youth

Lupe Fiasco – Tetsuo & Youth (Atlantic/1st & 15th)

Remember when Lupe Fiasco was tagged as the dude that was going to save Hip-Hop once The Cool dropped? Boy, those were some good times where the young rapper from Chicago connected to a bunch of nerds like me using anime references as drug metaphors during the height of his run. Despite the initial Food & Liquor being scrapped because of a leak that was very rare in 2005, the new version held up pretty well to be consider a classic by most and The Cool was about as perfect as a rap album could be to some. It was as if the lyricist was untouchable going into the creation of L.A.S.E.R.S., but label pressures for pop appeal almost completely soured his view on the industry and genre he grew to love.

His nearly-forgotten sequel to Food & Liquor fell on deaf ears due to his sheer defiance appealing to anyone other than his own indulgences. It all seemed like Lupe was outing himself out of the rap game with his remarks and actions on social media and out of people’s Top 5 lists in general. Still, there was some inkling of faith that I had in him when it was all lost on others. The music that he began to release in preparation for his fifth studio album Tetsuo & Youth were intriguing collaborations with Ty Dolla Sign and raps over sinister Drill beats that caught my attention. Those loosies were more than enough for me to give Wasulu another opportunity and it certainly paid off.

Separated into four seasonal acts, Tetsuo & Youth marks as one of Lupe’s best solo effort in years. Opening with the 9-minute spectacle “Mural”, Lupe went back to doing what does best whenever he shut the fuck up and focused primarily on rapping. ‘I like cartoons, Southern cities with large moons/Faith healers, ex-female drug dealers, and art boons’ is one of the plethora of quotables that are sprinkled on the blistering track that may be ran back a few times because it was nearly too much to digest.  It shows throughout this record that spans at a whopping 80 minutes with eight of the tracks running over 5 minutes long.

Yet for a mind that is as complex as Lupe, the more is always merrier that leaves room for a lot of error. Fortunately, he manages to hold up the album with extremely cohesive production from S1 and DJ Dahi. The latter produced four of the five tracks on Winter’s act, with a posse cut and show-stealing verse from Trouble on “Choppers” and Ab-Soul coming through to trade bars on “They.Resurrect.Over.New”. However, I get a kick out of the hilarious Yeezus-impression of “Madonna” and the dull middle section that came beforehand. Still, Mr. Fiasco shows that he still have some left in the tank when he puts his focus into the music.

Beast Mode

Future – Beast Mode (Freebandz)

Everyone’s favorite astronaut had quite the 2014. From a sophomore effort that was sadly underrated and a split from Ciara right after giving birth to their son, to responding to both in a solid return to form on the Monster mixtape. Not to be thwarted but the number of anticipated rap releases this year, Future steps in early with a joint mixtape with heavyweight producer Zaytoven. The aftermath is an absolutely stellar composition of melodic harmonies, vocal exuberance, and heart-wrenching swagger.

If you’re expecting the regular turn up bangers than you came to the wrong station, bro as Zaytoven’s keys and melting drum kicks makes a perfection match for the sorrow croak of Future Hendrix’s delivery. The lullaby sweetness of “Just Like Bruddas” have Future cooking up ‘more fish than an aquarium’ and opening up about his split with Ciara while “Forever Eva” has him paying homage to one of the more essential rap lines in Southern Rap history. It’s a short affair that feeds Future fans well going into 2015 and awaiting the third contribution of his studio works.

One Way

K Camp – One Way (Slumlords)

I guess there’s a reason to why K Camp isn’t among the ones receiving praise like the Young Thugs, Rich Homie Quans, and Migos of Atlanta’s national dominance across the rap scene. It doesn’t undercut his ability to make great hits when absolutely necessary, but the “Cut You Off” artist is still being dismissed by many as one-hit wonder and the joke is on them. K Camp has more than proven his worth as a rapper/singer hybrid and his latest mixtape serves as a great highlight going into the year. Much of the tape is held up by his go-to producer Big Fruit, providing the slickly cool “Stripes” and independent lady ode “Marylin Monroe”. He’s mostly on his own here, but Lil Boosie adds another Teflon verse on “My Niggas” and Ty Dolla Sign tip-toes on “Shoutout To My Bitches”. He’s misunderstood and overlooked, but he’s still haven’t reach the potential that awaits him.

Yep

OG Maco & Rome Fortune – Yep (Independent) 

The dynamic duo of Rome and Maco have produced a number of great results as shown on Small VVorld and both are known to never slow down. This is the eighth musical release within the last calendar year involving the two artists (Four from both) and like each one before them, it is filled with quality, singles from before tacked on to this one, and loosies worth vibing to. Rome and Maco make a complementary pairing, backed with monotone adlibs that reverb into a super hype mosh fest. The production of TM-88, Cubby, and SuicideYear make it an elastic adventure filled with table-dancing euphoria. The finishing trifecta of “Sex”, “Suitcase”, and “Riot” have the two at their best with smooth waterfall flows and spacey harmonies. I don’t know about you, but ‘make the head unique’ was a line that got stuck in my head for a good two weeks.

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Two-9 – B4FRVR (Ear Drummers) 

As Mike Will Made-It look to get his label off the ground with the success of Rae Sremmurd, he now focuses on getting the Atlanta five-piece on the main stage. Two-9 have always been one for making consistently dope music, the group features Curtis Williams, Retro $ushi (Jace & Ceej), & fatkidsbrotha (LightSkinMac11 & Rell). All pretty good one way or another with this rapping thing and with their latest mixtape B4FRVR, it serves as a reintroduction of sorts for the masses as they find their footing underneath the Ear Drummers flag. Mike Will provides only three of the 13 beats (“Did It”, “Never See Me Again”, “She Could Be Shorty”), though the crew received some heavy hitters from The Olympicks and Metro Boomin. The guest are just as big with Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, and Rae Sremmurd joining the fray (both Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi appear separately on “Never See Me Again” and “Functioning” respectively). It’s the appearance of a big budget project before the actual major debut project appears.

Honorable Mentions:

Trinidad James – No One Is $afe

Fresh off his less-than-amicable split from Def Jam, Trinidad shows flashes of improvement and a few faults along the way on his free album. Shame “Black Man Pt. 1” got left off. (“Definition of a Fuck Nigga”, “$hroom Party”)

Starlito – Black Sheep Don’t Grin/Thesis

The unsung hero of Hip-Hop wears his heart on his sleeve and continues to run circles lyrically around many of today’s acts in this double dose of music. (“Own 2”, “No Rearview Pt. 2”, “I Just Want The Money”)

Nacho Picasso & Blue Sky Black Death – Stoned & Dethroned

Seattle’s acid-laced hip-hop production duo gave us For The Glory with the limited, but charismatic rapper and it feels that they are better together than separate. (“Mouth Full Of Gold”, “’89 Dope Spot”)

Nipsey Hussle – Mailbox Money

Dope rhymes, dope music, but it’s not good enough that’ll make me spend $1,000 on it. More power to those that do.  (“Killa”, “Where Yo Money At?”)

Rich The Kid – Rich Than Famous

QC’s sixth man proves he can hold his own in the trap stunna highlight, glimmering skinny wrists everywhere. (“Wrist Gon Crazy”, “On My Way”)

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