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Chicago rap, wigged-out grooves and stripper music: the week’s best mixtapes and mixes

Listening to the deluge of mixtapes and free mixes from hip-hop artists and electronic producers alike is often an insurmountable task. That’s why we scour Datpiff, LiveMixtapes and beyond, separating the wheat from the chaff each week.

Our cups runneth over: thanks to stellar efforts from underground sensations KIT and Junglepussy, party-starting mixes by Deadboy, Maxmillion Dunbar and SPF666, and a mix by the ever-reliable BeatKing, we’ve got eleven (!) tapes this week. Even with a couple that fall flat, there should be plenty to keep you busy this weekend.

KIT
LOWNT GOD RISING

Chicago rapper KIT follows his impressive debut NewWavey with Lownt God Rising, an album/EP/mixtape (the distinctions between the three have less meaning every day). While NewWavey was helmed by The-Drum’s Jeremiah Meece, KIT has turned to fellow Chicagoans Supreme Cuts on this go-round, and the results are tighter and a little less woozy than last time. Running a little under a half hour, KIT sticks to the moody boasts of his debut over a set of menacing, low-end rumblers.

Supreme Cuts bring an Eastern feel to trunk rattlers ‘L.W.O.’ and ‘Rise’ while the overall feel continues the trajectory of 808s and Heartbreak and Yeezus, whether through an Auto-Tuned breakdown (“I’m all alone in this world, this life” on ‘Rise’) or blasphemy (“I’m so holy, ask God do he know me” on ‘Holy Matrimony’). The sinister ‘OUTTHETOMB’ is an early highlight, while ‘Ruins’ (featuring JODY vocalists The GTW And Khallee) is an Chicago underground version of ‘Started From The Bottom’. Sonic outlier ‘Steve Kerr’ takes its name from a former Chicago Bull who now coaches Oakland’s Golden State Warriors; appropriately, it sounds like a Bay Area slapper dosed with Chicago angst.

Early on, KIT boasts that “You ain’t seen shit like me / you ain’t seen shit like this,” and while there are a few kids keeping things dark in Chicago (Ibn Inglor and God among them), he certainly is making his case.

Download via iTunes or WeTransfer

JUNGLEPUSSY
SATISFACTION GUARANTEED

Brooklyn rapper Junglepussy makes her proper debut with Satisfaction Guaranteed, an 11-track mixtape produced by Le1f collaborator and FACT producer-to-watch Shy Guy, who co-produced four of the tracks with Mell Masters. With a sharp tongue, Junglepussy raps about sexual dominance, refusal to play by the rules and advice on how to be more like her over hazy, trap-nodding beats that are laced with a vein of vintage New York flavor. The sex talk is great, but she’s got a real gift for detail, too: “Every time you come around you want something for free / on your ashy knees asking for the tax return money / better grease them edges up, oil them elbows / can you hear me through them Dre Beats headphones?”

Standouts include the bouncy, club-ready ‘Bling Bling’, the woozy, Tink-featuring ‘Curve ‘Em’, and a seductive title track that sees her drop her most confident lyrics, both flirtatious (“I’m a genie in a bottle of Malibu / Grant you one wish, if you cute you can have two”) and lecherous (“Knock the shit out them boots, left a tree limp on your Timbo”).

“What would I do without Brandy, Foxy, Kim and Missy, Patra and Erykah,” she muses on closer ‘Me’, “proof there can be more than one without replica.” The era certainly had an abundance of stars, but by being reverent of the past without being beholden to it, Junglepussy has a chance to pick up where those women left off.

Download via Mediafire

DEADBOY
PACK LONDON EXCLUSIVE MIX

We’re always down for a mix from Deadboy (he did a FACT mix way back in 2010) and his latest hour-long set doesn’t disappoint. His sound has evolved since his 2010 debut, and his mix draws from all his interests, darting between R&B tracks by Tinashe and TLC, rap by Young Thug and Young Money, the dark-room electronics of his Blaquewerk EP, the gentle ambience of his recent Return EP, and even the warped dancehall of his Hyper Black Bass project. Better yet, none of the twists and turns sound contrived.

BEATKING
GANGSTA STRIPPER MUSIC 2

A legend in his own city, BeatKing might not have much traction outside of Houston, but that hasn’t stopped him from rattling out one quality tape after the next. Last year’s Club God 3 was an underground highlight, and Gangsta Stripper Music 2 might just top it, doing exactly what it says on the tin with a knowing smirk.

Thinking about stripper music these days your mind likely fixates on Atlanta – the US’s de-facto strip club capital – but things are a little different in Houston. BeatKing’s music is slower and a damn sight bassier, and it wears the city’s heritage like a badge of honor. It might geared towards polished poles and cascading singles, but the bloodline of these tracks goes right back to the days of subs, rims and neons – and that gives BeatKing a real edge over many of his peers.

He’s shining a light on a regional scene that still sounds urgent, and even though it might not have the same magnetism as many other areas of the South right now, the Houston sound is no less crucial. The list of guests mashes together established heavy hitters (Kirko Bangz, Gangsta Boo) and local talent (Ken Randle, GT Garza), and shows that BeatKing is supporting his city in the best possible way – by digging out Houston’s finest and allowing them to shine on a set of absolute bangers.

K CAMP
SLUMLORDS

After kicking around for a few years, Atlanta rapper-singer K Camp finally broke through with singles ‘Money Baby’ and ‘Cut Her Off’, linking up with Interscope in the process. Now it’s time to spread the wealth, and he’s brought Sy Ari da Kid, JokerTooCold and others along for the ride.

SlumLords sounds like a survey of Atlanta rap, from the trance-trap of the Peewee Longway-assisted ‘No Manners’ to moody true lifers ‘Down Bad’ and ‘Long Live The Kings 2’ to sensitive thug R&B on ‘Shoot Up The Club’. There are even a couple of soundalikes (that’s not Migos on ‘However I Like’ or Young Thug and Que on ‘Leechin’), and Marissa ably fills the crew’s requisite female R&B singer role on ‘Rules’ and ‘No Love Lost’.

K Camp brings in big guns Lil Boosie, YG and Too Short for the ‘Cut Her Off’ remix, and ‘Money Baby’ producer Big Fruit might have scored him another hit with ‘Sum Bitch’. Still, he hasn’t changed his ‘Cut Her Off’ tune, and while the bitches-ain’t-shit shtick gets old on songs like ‘Don’t Blame Me’ and ‘No Manners’, SlumLords is a solid effort, even if it doesn’t break new ground.

MAXMILLION DUNBAR
GORILLA BLISS 2

Beautiful Swimmer Maxmillion Dunbar is no stranger to the round-up, and he’s up to his old tricks on the Gorilla Bliss 2 mix, digging deep and mixing in anything with a groove. Alternately elastic, jangly, loose, and percussive, the mix has the otherworldly soul/house/boogie/funk/whatever that his Future Times label deals in, dropping in the iconic vocals of Roland Clark’s ‘I Get Deep’, the techno palpitations of Gifted & Blessed’s ‘Sol’, and well-placed rap and R&B throwbacks by Busta Rhymes, Pharoahe Monch and Nubian M.O.B. for good measure.

“This is another slap in the mental from the FUTURE TIMES crew, featuring new music from the fellas, and a slew of other head busters,” according to Soundcloud. “Pushing wigs all the way back, way back, way back….” Word.

SASHA GO HARD
FEEL SO GOOD

While she was one of the first Chicago rappers to break free of the local drill scene, it still feels as if Sasha Go Hard is in need of a massive track (‘Rondo’ was maybe her closest) and a truly definitive mixtape. The timing is right for Feel So Good – worldwide exposure is at a high after an EU tour earlier in the year – but sadly, it falls flat.

It’s tough to put a finger on what makes the tape so dull. The beats are fine, and Sasha’s already proven to have more than enough charisma in her flow, but it frankly lacks the spark you’d find from Chicago peers King Louie or Katie Got Bandz. There are certainly highlights – ‘Don’t Need Em’ for instance is a bona fide banger – but these moments are few and far between, and get lost in the monotony.

There’s a feeling overall that the tape could have benefited from some more urgent production or a few quality guest verses – as hard as Sasha goes, carrying a track isn’t her strongest suit. Maybe next time.

BEN BRACKET
BRACK2SKOOL MIX

You might say we’re smack in the middle of a fully-fledged rave revival, and while that’s got its negatives as well as its positives (hey millennials, let’s just agree that you weren’t there, ok?), there’s not much argument over this corker of a mix from veteran Plex resident Ben Bracket.

While Bracket tragically passed away back in 2009, this ’06 mix has been dug up by his friend James Tec, and contains a slew of absolute mind melters from the ’91-’94 era, ie. just before everything went shit. It’s authentic stuff and way more than just idle nostalgia, and whether you’re an intrigued newcomer or a thirty-something with depleted serotonin levels, you probably wanna give this one a spin.

TIM VOCALS
TIMTATIONS

Harlem soul man Tim Vocals is a sweet-voiced crooner who mostly sidesteps the rap-aspirations of his contemporaries to focus on MJ-inspired pop-R&B. The cheesily-titled Timtations is the follow-up to 2012’s Live From Harlem, and as he did on his debut effort, he mixes in some freestyles with his originals, bringing a bit of soul to Lorde’s ‘Royals’ and flipping singles by Ty Dolla $ign, Eric Bellinger and T-Pain, with mixed results; he probably should have left ‘Ready or Not’ alone.

Tim is at his best when taking a classic approach to R&B, like on the shifty, 90s-flavored ‘Dream Catcher’ and The-Dreamish, synth-kissed ‘Euros’. Deviations from that formula don’t fare as well: the half-sung verses on ‘Paranoid’ don’t improve on the original, and while he gets credit for “reclaiming” the word thot on ‘Thim Slick’, it’d be better without the throwback rap vibes and verses. His moniker might not inspire much confidence, but with a co-sign from LuckyMe (on his proper, Baauer-produced single ‘Look Both Ways’), he’s that much closer to fulfilling the fantasy of ‘Stadium’.

SPF666
FUNCTIONS OF THE NOW VIII

Truants continues its excellent Functions Of The Now series with an entry by recently profiled Portland talent SPF666. “It’s hard for me to curate a mix as an object in itself,” the DJ/producer tells Truants. “It’s a difficult task to abstract DJing away from the party environment, so this is a close approximation of a live set from me.”

Approximation or not, this one is fierce. At just over 30 minutes, it’s loaded with dubs and unreleased material — dembow riddims, ballroom beats, twisted bassline, warped R&B and all things percussive — and kicks off with spoken word from punk poet Kathy Acker’s Blood and Guts in High School and a Godzilla dub that is more dangerous than anything in that 3D boondoggle.

RONDONUMBANINE
UNTIL 9 FREE

Recently freed after being slapped with a first-degree murder charge, teenage rapper RondoNumbaNine hasn’t exactly had much time to put this latest mish mash of tracks together. That might explain why he’s only rapping on half of the tracks, but there’s really no excuse for the tape being so poorly presented – you literally need to crank the volume on almost every track.

It sounds like shit, and while it’s rescued (almost) by a handful of drill destroyers (the destructive ‘Gangmembers’ is hard to ignore, and Rondo’s version of ‘OG Bobby Johnson’, while a little late, is worth a listen) it wouldn’t have taken much effort (5 mins, tops?) to throw the whole thing through a couple of plugins before dumping it on DatPiff would it? Come on.

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