I first knew producer-turned-rapper Rico Love had the golden touch when I realized he’d produced Lloyd’s “Year of the Lover” single; by the time he crafted Kelly Rowland’s 2011 magnum opus “Motivation,” I was his forever. As such, I was a little hesitant when I saw that his new tape, El Presidente, strictly showcased him as a rapper and vocalist, and primarily over borrowed beats at that. Turns out he’s pulled off some Tim Vocals-style magic here, giving new life to hits both recent (“Shabba,” Dom Kennedy’s “My Type of Party,” the latter of which I’d argue he vastly improves) and classic (Mario Winans’ “I Don’t Wanna Know,” “Spottieottiedopalicious” and an incredible screwed version of “Throw Some D’s”). At 11 easily digestible tracks, a couple of which are originals (“Main Bitches” is passable, “To My Ex” completely slaps), it’s quick, breezy and relatively low-stakes, which lets Rico get playful. Granted, there’s no “Motivation,” but it shows he’s totally competent at the helm of a track, not just behind the scenes.
Highlights: I don’t give a fuck—I could listen to someone recite the alphabet over the “Paranoid” beat and it would still be flames; Rico flips it into a smarmy threesome story, and I couldn’t be more down.
WTF: Over League of Starz’ “I Don’t Want Her” beat, Rico spits, That’s a cold play, I tell her fix you, and I slowly back away.