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Mixtape Saturday: Gucci Mane & Young Thug, Migos & Rich The Kid, & Bloody Jay




Welcome back to Mixtape Saturday, a weekly roundup of great rap tapes around the web hosted by The FADER contributor Meaghan Garvey. This week, she talks about Migos and Rich The Kid's insane prolific streak, Bloody Jay's total lack of inhibition, and Gucci Mane and Young Thug sounding weirder and cooler than anyone else without even trying.



Gucci Mane & Young Thug, Young Thugga Mane La Flare, April 20, 2014


As a whole, Young Thugga Mane La Flare, the long-awaited full-length collaboration between Young Thug and label boss Gucci Mane, isn't as interesting as it should be, considering we're talking about the two most enigmatic rappers in the game. Many of these songs have likely been sitting around for a while (Gucci's been incarcerated for almost five months); where Thug's Black Portland collaboration exploded with ideas, much of La Flare feels like it's missing a certain spark. But despite neither rapper firing on all cylinders here, it's still weirder and cooler than anything that came out this week by a mile. It gets off to a sloggy start, aside from the incredible "Hot Boyz" intro, but the last trio of songs ("Siblings," "OMG," and "Lef Some") make up for it all: playful and inspired and bizarre and impossible for anyone else to pull off, exactly what music from these guys should be. Gucci's not rapping his best here, but has a handful of brilliant moments, stuff that rolls around in your mouth and makes you laugh out loud when you think about it later (I don't know who more ratchet, your bitch or her Grand Am). In its more mediocre bits, the production picks up quite a bit of their slack: Thug sounds bored on the hook of "Stoner 2 Times," but the beat, operatic and menacing and massive, is a showstopper.

Highlights: "OMG"—not to be confused with "OMG BRO"—is the tape's strangest and best offering, even sans Gucci: a slippery, elastic slapper that Thug warbles over in a hilarious White Dad voice (though its West coast vibes make a lot more sense in its finalized version featuring Iamsu!).

WTF: There's a lot that makes no sense here (and that's not a bad thing), but Thug's deranged skrrrrts on "Ride Around The City" burrow indelibly into your soul.

Migos & Rich The Kid, Streets On Lock 3, April 20, 2014


Streets On Lock 3, the third installment of Migos and Rich The Kid's collaborative series, is the second 25+ track Migos-related release in as many months, and almost inevitably, much of the tape is unnecessary padding. As a unit, they still haven't cooked up anything as great as "Jumpin' Like Jordan" (and they know it—it's been tacked on the end of all three SOL tapes), and Rich is far less interesting a rapper than any of the Migos. In fact, their dedication to collaborating almost feels like the obligation to hang out with a friend from high school with whom you no longer really have anything to talk about (though he does have some winners—Rich nigga got money like Oprah, hundred fifty bands cash in the sofa). There are highlights here: "Fucked Up The Kitchen" is fun as hell, the zany sitcom version of at-home dope cooking, and "Switch A Roo" is a weirdly classy affair, with a lavish department-store-piano-on-steroids beat. Not to mention Young Thug and Peewee Longway steal the show on practically every song they guest on. Little things like turning "Pablo" into a three-syllable word are charming enough to propel through mundane slogs of bargain-bin Zaytoven beats, but given that the foursome have tossed out three of these tapes in less than a year, on top of the massively bloated No Label 2 tape, Migos might do well to pump the breaks a bit and focus on quality over quantity.

Highlights: "3 Mics" is practically begging for an irate "hip hop is dead" thinkpiece, with its smirking appropriation of Nas' "One Mic" premise. It's like Migos know precisely what drives their detractors crazy and lean in on it even harder.

WTF: "Islands," featuring a phoned-in Ty Dolla $ign appearance, is a disappointment, but the Gullah Gullah Island reference almost redeems it.


Bloody Jay, Free Bloody Jay, April 24, 2014


Bloody Jay's the largely unheralded half of Black Portland, but Young Thug didn't make that tape sound like the freshest thing all year by himself. Jay's eccentricities aren't as immediately head-turning as Thug's, but he's just as unpredictable, oscillating wildly from intimidating roars to vulnerable whimpers to goofy, nerdy one-liners. Free Bloody Jay isn't as solid as last year's wildly underrated Blatlanta 2 tape; Jay's been locked up since February, so the tape's less of a unified project than a patchwork of unreleased tracks and Black Portland loosies. Still, he's completely uninhibited, willing to try anything once, and it's obvious that he geeks out on wordplay. Sometimes his back-bends into goofy punchlines fall flat (Damn dude—Devin, I'm just trying to show love—Kevin!), but it's fun to watch him crack himself up regardless, and when he's on, he's on. The tape also features a handful of post-mixtape material from Black Portland (though much of it appeared already on Ferrari Smash's recent compilation tape), and verses from Thug, Rocko, Ola Playa and more.

Highlights: "These Hoes Keep It Realer," a tribute to boss ass bitches that can probably beat you up.

WTF: "Don't Know," a bizarre bit of emo-trap that sounds disturbingly not unlike the rap sideproject of the lead singer of Stain'd. Defying all logic, it still rules.

Mixtape Saturday: Gucci Mane & Young Thug, Migos & Rich The Kid, & Bloody Jay