Mixtape Saturday: Ying Yang Twins, Chief Keef, Young Dolph, Salva
Rounding up this week’s best rap tapes. This week: the Ying Yang Twins’ unlikely resurgence, Chief Keef’s reluctance to make hits, the things Young Dolph has to say and Salva’s elegant Young California remixes.
Welcome back to Mixtape Saturday, a weekly roundup of great rap tapes around the web hosted by FADER contributor Meaghan Garvey. This week, she talks about the Ying Yang Twins' unlikely resurgence, Chief Keef's reluctance to make hits, the things Young Dolph has to say and Salva's elegant Young California remixes. Read more and download the tapes after the drop.
Twurk or Die is the Ying Yang Twin's second mixtape in three months. Yes, 2013 is weird. The tape's lead single is literally called "Miley Cyrus," and I can't decide if it's cool or depressing that the duo's blatantly chasing the Miley twerking zeitgeist that they trail-blazed over a decade ago. Regardless, Twurk is solidly fun, simultaneously of-the-moment and an early-2000s throwback. While rap skits in the current era of bloated tapes are usually throwaways, the "Strippers Gotta Eat" skit is a spot-on defense of Southern turn-up rap of all eras, with its repeated mantra: I'm sorry you don't like the type of music we do, but they do—strippers gotta eat too.
Before its release, I assumed Almighty So would be a more polished project than last month's sloppy Bang 2 tape. Thankfully, it is—but not by much. The beginning of the tape is rough, a collection of fairly forgettable retreads of Keef's more straightforward, pre-Finally Rich output. Mid-way through, with "Blew My High," things get interesting; on their own, the last three tracks make the tape worthwhile. Still, there's a glaring lack of hits here, with nothing as sticky as any of the Finally Rich singles or even "Macaroni Time." It's starting to seem like Keef's not interested in making them anymore. The chorus of "Self" pretty much says it all: They want the old Sosa, for what though?
Highlights: The beat of "Blew My High," which is like a Zaytoven production tossed into spin cycle. Keef's yelping impression of Future's "Honest" falsetto on "I Kno." The sparkly almost-romance of "Baby What's Wrong With You."
WTF: There's something inexplicably hilarious about the way Keef repeats "nice, nice" on, well, "Nice."
Memphis rapper Young Dolph's South Memphis Kingpin doesn't quite meet rival his other, underrated 2013 tape, High Class Street Music 3, but if you're a fan of fellow Tennessee natives Starlito and Don Trip's style of thoughtful, occasionally bleak but still sociable rap, its vibe will feel right. This is not "conscious rap," but Dolph's got things to say. He's wrangled some of the South's best moody producers for this tape—Izze the Producer, Drumma Boy and KE on the Track all deliver here.
Highlights: The world-weary croak of "Same Shit," featuring Starlito and Jay Fizzle. The tape's two bonus tracks, which are weirdly some of its best: 2 Chainz-featuring "Get This Money" and Speaker Knockerz-produced "Money Callin."
WTF: On "Get This Money," Dolph raps about sipping a codeine margarita.
Los Angeles producer Salva repurposes recent Bay Area hits from Iamsu!, Sage the Gemini and more on his Heartbreak Mix. The songs—Sage's "Red Nose," Iamsu!'s "100 Grand"—are familiar, but Salva tweaks them just enough, incorporating subtle, thoughtful details that honor the originals. He adds DJ Mustard's "Paranoid" beat (probably my favorite beat of the year) to HBK Gang's "Gettin It," injects a bit of extra bounce to Loverance and Iamsu!'s "Up." And the tape opener, a new edit of Sage's "Gas Pedal," just goes.
Highlights: Salva's playful injections of classic beats into Bay hits: the legendary "Triggaman" beat under Iamsu!'s "100 Grand," LL's "Doin It" beat under Roach Gigz' "It's Lit."
WTF: "Return of the Mack" (originally off Iamsu's Kilt 2 tape) boasts one of the best-worst basketball punchlines in recent memory, from Sage the Gemini: I been basketballin/ You don't Joakim No-it.