This Halloween had the rap-Twitter-sphere spazzing over several long-anticipated releases. We also enjoyed a few less notable releases.
ASAP Rocky, LiveLoveA$AP – Undoubtedly, Harlem up-and-comer ASAP Rocky’s first official mixtape was the most anticipated release of the day. On the heels of his reported $3 million deal and a number of release delays, Rocky left the masses waiting until around 8PM EST before releasing his tape to mostly enthusiastic Twitter response. The heart of the tape has been heard piecemeal throughout the internet over the last couple of months, but Rocky supporters will be pleased to have his work collected in one place. Tracks from Spaceghostpurrp, Clams Casino, Ty Beats, DJ Burn One and Beautiful Lou give this tape the best production amongst the bunch. Features include Purrp, Main Attrakionz (on the renamed “Leaf”/“Take 1”) and the balance of the ASAP crew. A promising release from Rocky, though he needs to cool it with the Dr. Travis mixer trick.
Freddie Gibbs, Cold Day in Hell – Gary, Indiana hardknock Freddie Gibbs was probably the second most hyped release of the day. Downloads crashed LRG servers (the company through whom Gibbs released the tape). First spins indicate Gibbs has stuck to his formula of lyrical ferocity sprinkled with occasional tender lady loving verses (there is something Big Daddy Kane-esque to the best of these Gibbs love tracks). The tape features production from Block Beattaz, Big K.R.I.T. and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, amongst others; and headline features include label head Young Jeezy, Juicy J and 2 Chainz.
LEP Bogus Boys, Now or Neva – On the Green Lantern hosted Now or Neva, Chicago’s Bogus Boys’ style is not far-flung from Gibbs. Unrelenting, fixated by harsh reality, but decidedly less “lyrical.” This is no knock on their raps though. Rather than tailor their raps to traditional Midwest/East Coast wordplay constructs, the Bogus Boys focus on stark street imagery delivered authoritatively. Beat selection is similar to Gibbs as well, with contributions from J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League (e.g., borrowing Gibbs’ “187 Proof”), Chase N Cashe and Hit-Boy, amongst others. Certainly the most notable features are the always-inspired Meek Mill and a nodworthy Lupe verse (over the Halloween apropos “Zombie Land”).
PRGz, Born 2 Ball – To our surprise, the always-reliable PRGz album Born 2 Ball was lost amongst the mix of releases. The PRGz are Huntsville’s resident musical nostalgists. They have a way of re-appropriating cheesy samples and making them their own (as they do with Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” on this album). They release dependably melodic and insightful albums and they refuse to complicate their successful formula. If nothing else, the release is worth the download for more original production from Huntsville A-listers, production duo Block Beattaz.
Shadowrunners, Iodine Poisoning – Los Angeles duo Shadowrunners describe themselves as “heavily influenced by video games, anime, and LA culture.” This is a succinct and accurate description of their sound. Perhaps they should add #based as well, as they often straddle the line of abrasive and bass-heavy knock a la Lil B when he decides to embrace his I-Don’t-Give-A-Fuck tiny jeans steez (c.f. Bitch Mob Respect the Bitch Vol. 1). This tape is the most bizarre release of the bunch. Features Western Tink, another spitter with a similarly rising tide of internet buzz.
No Gang Colors, Hellawayne IV – More a mix than a mixtape, No Gang Colors is the solo mixed media project of Joseph Ohegyi. Using vocal samples, noise music (Prurient) and rap tunes (including Yelawolf and Danny Brown), NGC has created a great Halloween mix. This one could have served as the ideal soundtrack to lead up to the holiday, but will have to suffice as a twisted Thanksgiving accompaniment.