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 Rich Kidz' West Coast explorations, Ian Isiah's spotless debut, producer Lil Lody' rap skills and TeeFLii's understated raunch. Read more and download the tapes after the drop.
Rich Kidz, A Westside Story, November 19, 2013
The title A Westside Story presumably references Rich Kidz' roots in West Atlanta's Bankhead neighborhood. But you could read it as an allusion to California, too. Much of the tape reads as a love letter to the West Coast. RKaelub and Skooly interpolate 2Pac's "Ambitionz Az A Ridah" on "Rider" and "California Love" on "Westside Love"; they recruit California production collective League Of Starz for "Settle Down." My favorite moments, though, come from Atlanta-based rookie of the year Dun Deal, whose production fits Rich Kidz like a glove.
Highlights:"Gangsta Party," which sounds like a Super Mario-tinged fever dream. The melody of "Make It," which nods to Drake's "Furthest Thing" and has the line, Pussy and palm trees, that's what calms me.
WTF: In context it's far more well-meaning and thought-provoking than it initially seems, but using Trayvon with a bankroll as a hook was a bad decision.
TeeFLii, AnnieRUO'TAY 3 (Who The Fuck Is Annie?), November 21, 2013
TeeFLii's AnnieRUO'Tay tapes pass by in a sticky haze—you may not remember all the details, but the high lingers. The third installment isn't remarkably different from the first two, but I'm glad it's not. There's nothing wrong with twenty variations on the same nonchalant sex jam from the unholy lovechild of Jeremih and YG. What I do notice here is the quality of TeeFLii's production. He produced about half of the tracks himself, as he did on the first two Annie tapes, but his songs here are fuller and weirder, especially noodly "Your Body" and "Sex Partner." And as always, there's an ineffably charming politeness to his abject horniness. In his feathery moan, the phrase tongue-kiss that pussy on "You The Best" sounds hopelessly romantic.
Highlights: Somewhere, Miguel is listening to "Your Body" and cowering.
WTF: It's still never revealed who the fuck Annie is, though!
Ian Isiah, The Love Champion, November 14, 2013
With its humanity-heightening AutoTune and overtly physical lyrics, UNO singer Ian Isiah's triumphant debut, The Love Champion, lies somewhere between Trey Songz' Passion Pain and Pleasure, Le1f's Tree House and 808s and Heartbreaks. The tape's got a romantic-sounding title and flowery cover, but it's purely about sex. To get his blunt come-ons across, Isiah borrows from traditional R&B ("Hesitation" could be a long-lost Usher track and "Freak U Down" interpolates Jodeci) and recruits ahead-of-the-curve production from collaborators Sinjin Hawke, Boody and ShyGuy.
Highlights: The first three tracks: there are hints of Kanye West's "Say You Will" in opener "Showtime," Sinjin Hawke made a cavernous beat for "Private Party" and "Sweat" sounds like R. Kelly dabbling in rave.
Lil Lody, The Theory 2, November 19, 2013
Memphis rapper-turned-producer-turned-rapper Lil Lody built his career making massive, growling hits forJeezy, Wayne and Gunplay. He still produces, particularly with Memphis rappers, but it seems that at this his true passion is rapping. An he's a proficient rapper, shining brightest of pained tracks like "Foul." 19-track The Theory is fun to listen to but also easy to forget; I found myself wishing Lody had produced at least a few of the tracks himself, my mind wandering to his production on Zed Zilla's Time 2 Eat tape from a few months back. Lody has said in interviews that rapping was his first love, but I'd argue that production is his true gift.
Highlights: Infectious "Run Them Bands." The drawling bitterness of "Foul."
WTF: The tape's last track, out of nowhere, is a totally thematically dissonant, sexed-up R&B track by producer/singer Young KT. Nice.