Philadelphia rappers have a well-earned reputation for chewing holes through industry beats on mixtape freestyles, but also coming up short when having to produce original songs that require concepts and choruses. Eighteen year-old Grande Marshall avoids such pitfalls on 800, mostly eschewing the teeth gnashing of so many All Flamerz veterans and rapping over subdued, atmospheric production, some of which he’s responsible for. Other times he’s in the very capable hands of rising stars like Silky Johnson, Ben Pramuk and DJ Dahi, who produced Dom Kennedy’s recent breakout “My Type Of Party.” Marshall has made enough noise already to have been lumped into some rather unfortunate categories (being classified as “trillwave,” performing recently at a small festival called Trillectro), but his pedigree is much deeper than Tumblr tags would have you believe. Start with “Dearly Beloved” (as he’d want you to) and wait for his Finding Forester-style adaptation of Andre 3000′s “I Can’t Wait” verse for “Ellie Fox.” Somehow, the tape never loses steam, the whole of 800 coming off abnormally cohesive. To be clear, it is as good as a debut mixtape gets.
Download: Grande Marshall, 800