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 Da Mafia 6ix picking up right where they left off, Kwony Cash’s overlooked greatness, Overdoz' soulful stoner vibes and Capo's substantial GBE debut.
The whole team's not quite here—Juicy J declined to participate, hence the name change—but almost all of the original Three 6 Mafia members and associates reunite on 6ix Commandments, and it's nothing short of incredible how fantastic they still sound together. While remaining faithful to their iconic style and original associates, they extend an olive branch to former rivals Bizzie Bone and Krayzie Bone and welcome in young dudes indebted to their sound like Space Ghost Purrp, who's also worked with Gangsta Boo and Juicy J this year. "Body Parts," the tape's insane, nine-minute posse cut featuring La Chat, Crunchy Black and Lil Wyte, is a Memphis nerd's wet dream. I'd call this this comeback of the year, but it feels unfair to even call it a comeback, because it's a seamless extension of the group's past.
Highlights: DJ Paul comes full circle on "Break Da Law," sampling Mystic Stylez'"Break Da Law 95" almost two decades after the original's release.
It's unfortunate that as Future has become a national star, Kwony Cash hasn't attracted more national attention. The two share a remarkably similar delivery style—pure pathos heightened by Auto-Tune warble, occasionally rising into a pained yelp—and both are refreshingly #honest about their personal struggles. Kwony's "#Feelings" (is there a more quintessentially 2013 song title?) could easily follow the lead of Future's single "Honest" and make it to radio, as could his buoyant collaboration with K. Camp, "Money Baby." Don't Sleep is the kind of tape I wish Future would have released this year, in all its heartstring-tugging yet still turn-up inducing glory. It's worth mentioning that Kwony produced almost the entire project, too.
It's been a good year for West Coast team projects (see DJ Mustard's Ketchup and League Of Starz' LOS.FM). The latest in this line comes from LA posse Overdoz, but this isn't Mustard's radio-friendly, restrained slap. Boom is full of breezy, freewheeling stoner jams, more suited for the couch than the club. While that vibe is decidedly Californian, the tape's also got a lot of Southern, neo-soul glimmers. It'd be generous to make OutKast comparisons, but the crew is certainly influenced by Aquemini's drawling warmth. The fittingly-named producer THC, who was responsible for Kendrick's "Cartoons and Cereal" beat, laces much of the tape with his signature haze. If there's a thesis here, perhaps it's the hook of "F$WSAD": Wish I could fuck, smoke weed, and sleep all day, but I gotta get this money. Don't we all.
Highlights: Energetic outliers"Tongue Ring" and "Barbary Coast" provide an ass-clapping shake-up mid-tape.
WTF: The "Killer Tofu" sample, while not without a certain nostalgic charm, comes off a bit juvenile.
Capo's one of GBE's more under-the-radar members. He's less promoted than Ballout, less meme-ready than molly-guzzling Tadoe, less brand-friendly than Fredo. His debut tape proves, however, that he's actually better at carrying a full-length project than all of the above (and, frankly, Keef at this point). Best demonstrated on "Come Wit Dis," his flow is quick and intricate, and less heavy-lidded than most of the GBE guys. The tape occasionally strays from drill's sullen death march, tossing chirpy, steel drum-heavy tracks in between its menacing moments. Up there with SD's equally overlooked Life Of A Savage 3 tape, this is more entertaining than either of Keef's recent tapes, and one of my favorite projects from the GBE this year.
Highlights: "I'm So High" and "Forgiatos" are super-catchy bop perfection. "Glo Gang Mafia" wrangles one of Keef's best hooks since "Macaroni Time," scoffing in his "Laughing To The Bank" voice, Hau hau hau hau hau, you's a real nigga imposter, I'm guapped up.
WTF: I've waited for someone to make a song called "Thotty Party" all year, but the fact that it's not a drill-themed interpolation of "Body Party" is a total missed opportunity.