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 French Montana's id, Sicko Mobb's debut tape and label signing,
Mike WiLL's biggest year ever and Future's year-capping loosies.
French Montana, Coke Boys 4, January 2, 2014
You probably already know: French Montana tapes are soundtracks for the id. As Freud put it: "filled with energy reaching it from the instincts, but it has no organization... only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle." In Coke Boys 4's bloated 18 tracks, there's enough bombast to fuel a nice pre-club, Henny-guzzling power hour. (So people still do power hours?) But compared to French's 2013 studio debut, Excuse My French, which was far bad, Coke Boys 4 isn't super memorable. There are no undeniable club anthems on the level of "Ain't Worried Bout Nothin," "Pop That," or even "Freaks." There is, though, quite a bit more of Montana's soulful side, enabled by producer Harry Fraud and a somewhat awkward Lana Del Rey sample. All in all, it does the job. It's fun! French isn't going anywhere.
Highlights: It's nice to see semi-recent Coke Boy signee Lil Durk so prominently featured here; he pops up on five songs, and his primary showcase, "Act Like That," is a high point.
WTF: "God Body" has an out-of-nowhere blog-house sample. Chinx Drugz pronounces benevolent "benelovent."
Sicko Mobb, Super Saiyan Vol. 1, December 30, 2013
Out on the second-to-last day of 2013, the debut project from Chicago duo Sicko MobbSaiyan Vol. 1 combines old and new tracks, not a one of them bad. Among the new stuff, there's the acid-y, DJ Nate-produced "BooGee" and a re-work of Stunt Taylor's romantic bop-ballad "One Night." With such a distinctive signature, it's hard to believe these guys have only been around for a year.
Highlights: I gasped when I saw the title "Sicko Citgo." A re-work of one of Keef's most impressive songs, it delivers, somehow managing to out-weird the original, even though it's relatively mellow.
WTF: Why leave out "Young Heavy," by far one of their best tracks to date?
Mike WiLL Made It, #MikeWillBeenTrill, December 23, 2013
#MikeWillBeenTrill is essentially a victory lap to cap off Mike WiLL Made It's biggest year yet. Similar to his trio of self-released Est. In 1989 tapes, it's a highlight reel of his recent production work. If you've paid any attention to rap radio, you've heard a lot of these songs before, but they make for an undeniable collection. There's flex anthems made for Gucci Mane, Future and Juicy J, the Miley Cyrus and Future collaboration you hate to love, the Future and Ciara collaboration you'd love to love more and every awesome 2 Chainz song. Sure, Mike's profile has grown, but the quality of the music he puts out remains pretty untouchable.
Highlights: The new Future collaboration "Against All Odds," a wailing rags-to-riches anthem. 2 Chainz' "Where You Been," which has been out forever but will never, ever stop going in.
WTF: Here's hoping for less hashtag titles, more emoji titles in 2014.
DJ Esco and Future, No Sleep, December 17, 2013
The second half of 2013 was tragically devoid of full-length Future projects. (Though let us not forget January's incredible FBG The Movie and Esco's April tape, Black Woodstock). Future's sophomore LP, Honest, once promised for November, has been pushed back to an indefinite 2014 release. Meanwhile, DJ Esco came through in the clutch and dropped this last-minute, Future-helmed compilation. Like #MikeWiLLBeenTrill, its' got a handful of new Future tracks. ""Dem" is the best of the lot," though none of those loosies grab me like the Honest singles have. The tape's also a nice vehicle for spotlighting Future's IRL brother Casino and talented guys like Shy Glizzy, Bloody Jay, Johnny Cinco, Starlito and Peewee Longway.
Highlights: Underdogs Shy Glizzy and Bloody Jay manage to outshine Future on their respective solo tracks. Jay's "Let's Go Play" (a highlight from his Blatlanta 2 tape) finally gets its deserved shine. Glizzy's "So Awesome" is the tape's catchiest moment.
WTF: I'm a big Drake fan, he sounds wildly out of his element on the "SH!T" remix. Is nothing sacred?