With each passing week, listening to the deluge of mixtapes, radio shows, and live sets from electronic producers and hip-hop artists alike becomes an even more insurmountable task. Quality offerings can fly under the radar, either added to our ever-growing “to listen” list or — more often than not – disregarded all together.
Hopefully, this new weekly feature will allow us to catch our breath, start crossing things off our “to listen” list, and highlight some of the week’s more interesting projects. At least until we do it all again on Monday. (In the spirit of the redemptive spirit of this post, a handful of these mixtapes were released within the last month, rather than just the last week.)
Use your keyboard’s arrow keys to turn the pages (page 1/9)
Probably the best tape of 2013 so far, Rome Fortune’s solo full-length debut finds the ‘New Atlanta’ rapper aided by a host of productions from one of the most exciting new producers out there right now: Childish Major. We were already in awe of Major’s stunning (if a little rapey) ‘UOENO’ (which can be found on Rocko’s Gift of Gab 2 mixtape) but he really excels here with a quirky blend of videogame synthesizers and woozy, clouded beats. ‘Get The Guap’ (produced by DunDeal) might be Beautiful Pimp‘s big club destroyer, but the James Blake-isms of ‘DanceDance’ and Sonic The Hedgehog special stage vibes of ‘Ice Cream Man’ show without argument that Childish Major is due for big things this year. It’s a wonder that Rome Fortune himself can even keep up, but his assured rhymes and effortless charisma make this a must-listen.
YOUNG SCOOTER & GUCCI MANE
Free Bricks 2
Surprisingly consistent work here from Gucci, who’s joined by recent breakout star Young Scooter, fresh from the success of his phenomenal ‘Columbia’ single. From start to finish this is a darker and decidedly creepier tape than you might expect and serves as a good palette cleanser for the slew of recent balls-to-the-wall Brick Squad releases (whutup DuFlocka Rant 2‘).
Easily the most unexpected tape on the list, LA newcomer TeeFlii follows up 2012’s underwhelming AnnieRUO’Tay with a sequel that trumps its predecessor in every way. Hosted by ratchet innovator DJ Mustard and DJ Carisma, AnnieRUO’TAY2 is a moody and minimal take on The-Dream’s neon-blasted R&B, and is bathed in a deliciously sleazy LA funk that for us makes it impossible to resist. One for paid-up Jeremih and Miguel devotees looking for their next fix.
A far cry from the most exciting tape we’ve heard this week, ATL trio Travis Porter’s Mr. Porter is most notable thanks to the inclusion of a collab with FACT favourite Jeremih. Also worth a nose is some typically slippery production work from DJ Mustard, and the Mike WiLL Made It-produced certified banger ‘Pocket Watchers’.
OJ DA JUICEMAN
Juice World 2
Probably in an effort to outdo fellow Atlantan Gucci Mane, Brick Squad affiliate OJ da Juiceman released not one but two mixtapes this week, and while neither are particularly consistent, Juice World 2 is easily our pick sporting a pair of productions from Gucci’s right hand man (and one of our favourite beat makers) Zaytoven. OJ’s Georgia drawl snugly drapes around Zaytoven’s cheap GM-soundset synths and bare-bones beats and it’s worth the download for these alone.
MICHAEL “5000” WATTS
2 Real 4 Radio Vol. 2
With the “t-word” dominating the last six months, it’s always a treat to see one of the original proponents of proper trap music manning a mixtape, so the latest offering from Houston legend and Swishahouse co-founder Michael “5000” Watts is a no-brainer. Hosted by D-Boss, the tape’s strongest moments come when Southern hip-hop mainstays show up: Paul Wall and Bun B on ‘I’m Real You Fake’, Z-Ro on the woodgrain-gripping ‘Shindig’, and Slim Thug and Wall on the remix of ATL favorite du jour, Trinidad James’ ‘All Gold Everything’.
Brick Squad have had a vintage 2013 so far, but few tracks have stood out so far from the crowd as Young Scooter’s ‘Columbia’, Street Lottery”s lead track. Somehow avoiding the temptation to build up to a massive drop, ‘Columbia’ manages to run its length without ever needing a snare or kick drum, and it still hits hard. Clearly if Scooter can hold his own on a tune with only the skeleton of a beat he doesn’t need a lot of help, but Chief Keef, Gucci Mane, Bun B, Future and OJ da Juiceman show up as guest all the same. Scooter’s hungry, and he works his ass off here to make sure Street Lottery is more than just a disposable tape with one or two bangers – it pays off; this is heavy shit from beginning to end.
JUBILEE AND STAR EYES
The Brooklyn bass fanatics’ love of all things grime is well-documented, and this mixtape follows the two-track freebie the duo released via Unknown to the Unknown. Predictably, those tracks feature, as well as grime favorites new and old, similarly aggro dancefloor diversions, and even a tweaked remix of Destiny’s Child’s ‘Lose My Breath’.