On paper, Kolley’s calling card is geographic; he’s from Bassfield, Mississippi, a town of 235 people, and these small-town roots naturally shape his narratives into stories that sometimes feel from some distant place and time. But once you get over the fact that, yeah, this dude is really out here on his butter-churning grind (150 a quarter, 600 an ounce), what stands out most is his voice—sharp, high-pitched, nasal, in a way that just barely recalls Boosie, a voice that you know has things to say. This is Kolley’s first mixtape, and it’s remarkably polished, thanks in part to the all-star production roster that spans the gamut of Southern giants: Zaytoven, Metro Boomin, Big K.R.I.T., 808 Mafia, Bobby Johnson. But it seems like he’s still figuring out just what kind of rapper he wants to be. Much of the tape dabbles in the hard-edged sounds that reign in Atlanta, the stuff that guys like Que and Gucci can own but feel a bit shoe-horned with Kolley. That’s not to say that he can’t pull it off—”Jugg” and “Pills” in particular perfectly juxtapose his flair for narrative and the popular sounds of Atlanta street rap—but where he really shines is when he seems to relax and just rap. And he can rap, too: there are an ample handful of intimate, well-wraught but wholly natural moments (a product of disfunctional adolescent problems, but today I’m just comfortable enough to let you all in) where you know this guy just has it. I’m willing to bet in a year’s time, he’ll be a game-changer.
Highlights: Both of the tape’s Big K.R.I.T. productions: “Real Love,” the tape’s most personal moment, somewhere between early 00′s Wayne and Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, and “Poetry In Motion,” a slippery, g-funk-tinged slow jam that transcends the obligatory “for-the-ladies” tape slot.
WTF: “That’s why I’m shittin’ on these niggas like a broken anus.” I see.