Prolific Chicago rapper ZMoney, who released two excellent tapes on the same day in 2013 and followed them with a steady stream of singles and videos, starts 2014 off true to form with a 20-track compilation of new work from himself and his 4Ever Paid Nation affiliates. I’d expected the tape to be primarily a showcase for ZMoney surrounded by a bunch of filler from his lesser-known peers—Country Cool, Lil Boss Polo, KO the King, Bankroll Shorty, Brick Fare, YB—but it’s far from the case. There are some strong new ZMoney songs here—particularly the sing-songy “Fast Money,” which reminds me of Young Thug’s 2011 I Came From Nothing tape—but the standout moments actually come from the bench. I’m particularly psyched to hear more from Bankroll Shorty and Brickfare, both of whom balance rags-to-riches contemplation and giddy stunting on their tracks. (I’d also like to congratulate tape hosts DJ Victoriouz, DJ Amaris, and DJ Bandz for their relatively innocuous drops. Mixtape DJs—Drama, I’m looking at you—take note.
Highlights: Bankroll Shorty’s “Get Up Out The Hood,” an optimistic number that sounds like a long-lost Young Chop and Sinjin Hawke collaboration. Brickfare and Lil Boss Polo’s “Flex Out,” a jubilant anthem which supports my theory that there’s never been a bad rap song featuring steel drums.
WTF: “Mexico” is almost like a parody of what backpackers hate about rap of the last year with its Migos-esque “my plug is from Mexico” theme and repetition of “trap, trap, trap, trap, trap” for a good 20 seconds.