Mixtape Saturday: Lil Durk, Nipsey Hussle, League of Starz, Breezy Montana

On this week’s best tapes: Lil Durk’s chemistry with Paris Beuller, California’s party princes League of Starz, Nipsey Hussle’s resemblance to Drake and Breezy Montana’s undeniable YouTube hits.

October 12, 2013

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 Lil Durk's chemistry with Paris Beuller, California's party princes League of Starz, Nipsey Hussle's resemblance to Drake and Breezy Montana's undeniable YouTube hits. Read more and download the tapes after the drop.

Lil Durk, Signed To The Streets, October 10, 2013

I'd argue that Lil Durk’s 2012 tape I'm Still A Hitta is one of the best full-lengths to come out of Chicago's drill scene in the past few years. Durk's new tape, Signed To The Streets, is his best follow-up to that project yet, striking an ideal balance between straightforward tough-guy rapping and the AutoTune sing-rapping style he pioneered in the city. Young Chop and Zaytoven contribute strong beats, but Paris Beuller handles almost half the tape. He and Durk have a chemistry that goes way back (see: "L's Anthem"). Speaking of "L's Anthem"—or rather, its semi-awkward French Montana remix—I'm relieved by the lack of gratuitous features here.

Highlights: The insane snares on the Beuller-produced "Don't Understand Me." "Bang Bros," a hilariously-titled return to form for Young Chop. Durk's relentless flow on "52 Bars Pt 2," which laughs in the face of anyone who ever doubted his technical rap skills.

WTF: DJ Drama gets existential on "Competition," staring into the void as he muses, My only competition is when niggas don't use a DJ!

League of Starz, LOS.FM, October 10, 2013

League of Starz, the production dream team that includes Jaynari, Dnyce, Dupri, Trend, Lewi V, Tone Bone, and Macado, are responsible for some of the biggest West Coast slaps of the past few years: Problem and Bad Lucc's "Like Whaaat," E-40's "Function," Tyga and Lil Wayne's "Faded," and countless more. LOS.FM compiles some of their recognizable hits with new, previously-unheard work. The FM stands for "function music," and that's exactly what this is—the perfect party soundtrack. The tape's consistent without getting same-y, with a crazy roster of features including E-40, Too $hort, Problem, Iamsu!, 2 Chainz, Snoop Dogg, Sage The Gemini and more. The best point of comparison is DJ Mustard's June tape Ketchup; while there may not be an individual track on LOS.FM that can stand up to "Burn Rubber" or "Paranoid," I'd say that it's just as thorough as Mustard's tape and ultimately, more fun.

Highlights: "Monster," a maniacal collaboration between Problem, D-Lo, and Bay legend Sleepy D. The duo of tracks featuring Eric Bellinger, the raunchy, in-the-style-of-Ty Dolla $ign Los Angeles singer .

WTF: Nelly, on his track with Problem and Tyga (what?), channels an ungodly, twangy hybrid of V-Nasty and Big Sean. Just... no.

Nipsey Hussle, Crenshaw, October 8, 2013

Most of the conversation regarding Nipsey Hussle's Crenshaw tape (album?) has revolved around him selling limited edition copies for $100. But maybe what people should be talking about is how Crenshaw sounds like the West Coast version of Drake's Take Care? The similarities aren't lyrical—Nipsey raps primarily about post-gangster life—but production-wise, Crenshaw melds G-funk, the ghost of cloud rap and the sort of moody atmospherics that are undeniably Drake-ian. Nipsey sounds great over all this, but the beats, by The Futuristics, 9th Wonder, The Colleagues, 1500 or Nothin and TeeFLii, make the tape. Rick Ross, Z-Ro, Slim Thug and James Fauntleroy show up for features, but Nipsey can really carry this on his own.

Highlights: The overt Drake-ness of "More or Less." The cloudy, entrancing production of "Weather" and "Don't Take Days Off," by Cozmo and Remixx respectively. The laid-back slap of "Go Long," featuring Z-Ro and Slim Thug.

WTF: Don't credit a Sade sample as a feature.

Breezy Montana, Rise 2 Fame, October 5, 2013

Breezy Montana is a key guy in Chicago's bopping movement, the dance trend and associated music style that's been sweeping the city over the past year. Rise 2 Fame is his debut tape, and probably the best full-length bop project yet (prior to its release, that honor went to Lil Chris' July Money Talks). The tape's full of the bright, ebullient ringtone beats and heavy AutoTune that characterize bop's sound, with production by scene favorites Leekeleek and Cicero On Da Beat. "Gucci Holic" and "Havin Shit" (which have already been making the rounds on YouTube) have real hit potential.

Highlights: Soulja Boy-esque cut "Designer Belt." "BallOut," which injects a rare (albeit uncredited) female voice into the scene. Undeniable hits "Havin Shit," "Gucci Holic," and "Bop Like Me" (which is technically a Lil Chris song that features Breezy).

From The Collection:

Mixtape saturday
Mixtape Saturday: Lil Durk, Nipsey Hussle, League of Starz, Breezy Montana