Mixtape Saturday: Jose Guapo, Main Attrakionz, Young L, Blood Money
Rounding up this week's great rap tapes, from Jose Guapo, Main Attrakionz, Young L and Blood Money.
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 Jose Guapo's potential, Main Attrakionz' weird metaphors, Young L's new direction and Blood Money's oral history of GBE. Read more and download the tapes after the drop.
Atlanta's Jose Guapo, formerly a member of of Rich Kidz, had an almost-hit last year with "Guaponese." Unfortunately there's not much on Jose's World 2 that has that kind of hit potential; "Fuck The Rap Game" and "I'ma Fiend" have gotten a fair amount of attention, but it's hard to see them taking off outside of the internet. Guapo rolls his words around in a casual, warble-mumble, but when dynamic guests like Young Thug and Peewee Longway show up on the tape's best track, "Sittin On It," their creativity upstages his delivery. Weirdly, the tape's most memorable track is its outro cover of 2Pac's "Changes," a bizarrely Drake-like reworking of the song that somehow makes total sense.
Highlights: Zaytoven and Cassius Jay's triumphant production on "I'ma Fiend." The scene-stealing duo of Peewee Longway verses on "Sittin On It" and "Michael Phelps."
WTF: Young Thug turns Balenciaga into a seven-syllable word.
Main Attrakionz x Tynethys is the second joint tape from the Oakland duo and Sacramento producer Tynethys. (Their first attempt was lost in a hard drive crash.) True to form, it's an airy, narcotic project that floats along and passes in a blur. (I will not say the word cloud, I will not say the word cloud.) Sometimes it's hard to focus on what exactly Squadda and Mondre are saying, but they've always focused on vibe more than content, and I don't mind that. Tynethys packs a lot of layers into his beats; sometimes that approach works ("Lesson") and sometimes it doesn't ("Strawberry Letter 316"). At some points, I yearned to hear some Squadda production. Overall, a great soundtrack for getting high and taking a nap, which is no simple feat.
Highlights: Green Ova secret weapon Shady Blaze's verse on the sleek, sophisticated "On1." Tynethys' beat for "Lesson." his best on the tape. The druggy goofiness of weirdo G-funk throwback "International."
WTF: This is definitely the first time I've heard a metaphor comparing girls to USBs.
Young L has been a fascinating producer since the "Vans" days, consistently toeing the line between approachable and totally weird. Convulsion is a complete pivot from his typically exuberant style. The five-track instrumental tape is moody, insomniac music, channeling a bit of Arca, a bit of James Blake and the cave-like sounds of Triangle Records. Traces of L's signature style are left behind, though—these somber tracks still slap.
Highlights: It's hard to pick a favorite, but "Can I Just Laugh?," the tape's darkest and weirdest, stands just a touch above the rest.
WTF: Naming a track "God Father" can't be a coincidence, right?
Blood Money is the token adult in Chief Keef's GBE crew. I'd hoped Gangland would shed some light on what, aside from not being a teenager, his thing is. It seems like he really likes to be intimidating? Sometimes that attitude is enough to carry a tape, but the beats here aren't great. After Finally Rich, a lot of Chicago's drill artists got weird. By comparison, straightforward drill production can sound rote.
Highlights: Don't miss "My Story," where Blood Money finally offers a glimpse at who he is and provides a pretty fascinating oral history of the early days of GBE.
WTF: On "Met A Migo," he raps about swimming with dolphins in Mexico on a drug-related business trip.