Listening to this, it’s hard not to long for the days when Juelz Santana dedicated every word he put to tape to joyfully yelling outlandish shit, and soaking up New York in all its grimy glory while he did it. At his best, Santana is a hilarious rapper, reveling in ridiculous punchlines, at his worst, he just sounds exhausted. Tapped out. God Will’n isn’t him at his most excited, but he’s not exactly tired either. The whole thing actually feels like a bizarre victory lap for a rapper that’s spent the last few years ducking any kind of limelight. Everyone shows up here: there’s a melancholy Future appearance, a semi-phoned-in Wayne appearance (which, side note, is a huge bummer because the material that Wayne and Juelz put out between ’05-’07 was often really good), Fabolous, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Jim Jones, Jeremih, Wale, Lil Reese, Lloyd Banks, Yo Gotti, Wiz Khalifa, Jadakiss, Lil Durk and Bounce also pop up. It feels at once like a survey of current rap and a bizarre alternate reality where Juelz stayed releasing albums right alongside all these guys leading right up to now, and everyone was still wearing tall tees with airbrushed pink Dipset eagles on them. He didn’t though, so, for erstwhile Diplomats fans, this tape has some heavy expectations. While it doesn’t ever reach Back Like Cooked Crack levels or even What The Game’s Been Missing levels, it is entertaining and worth a listen, if only to hear how Juelz’ fits into today’s rap landscape.
Download: Juelz Santana, God Will’n