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 I.L Will's machismo, Marc Decoca's successful labor of love, Yelawolf and DJ Paul's balance and Young Hoodchiano, Chicago's answer to Young Thug. Read more and download the tapes after the drop.
I.L Will's had a prolific year. Dope God is his second solo tape of 2013; he's also released stuff with his M.I.C. collective (himself, Lil Chris, and Mikey Dollaz) and, in late 2012, a joint tape with Sasha Go Hard. That abundance is evident here—Dope God might be better if it was five songs shorter. That said, he's an unshowy but solid rapper and subtle moves here, like when he flips alone into your nigga need a loan on standout "Alone," demonstrate his talent for wordplay. This tape's full of menace and gun-toting machismo. I don't mind that flexing, but ever since I heard his Leekeleek-produced "Repeat" from earlier this year, I've wished he'd let his lighter side shine through more.
Highlights: The bubbly "Turn Up," a collaboration with Mikey Dollaz. Fellow Chicagoan Rico Recklezz' verse on "No Problems," which is chillingly deadpan even by drill standards.
WTF: "Pill Dick" might be the least compelling song title of all time.
I've known Atlanta's Marc Decoca could spit, but I can't say I was expecting a free album this diverse and fully considered from the guy who's best known for "Booty (What's It Gonna Be)." Sure enough, though, The Beautiful Images of Atlantis Omega is approachable yet experimental and clearly a labor of love (Decoca is listed as executive producer). Even its most straightforward moments go hard—you think you don't need to hear another song called "Ratchetness," but it's a wailing, undeniable party anthem. The best moments here, though, come where you can hear Decoca stretching himself in weird directions: hints of Daft Punk bubble up in "Telescope," "Armes" contains echoes of the sparse beauty of Drake's "Successful" and "Alone" evokes a grittier Clams Casino.
Highlights: "Johnny Blast" and "Alone" are good representations of the project's yin and yang of trunk-rattling, plain-dealing Atlanta rap and playful experimentation.
WTF: The flowery title made me think this would be an insufferable Soulquarians tribute.
Yelawolf and DJ Paul, Black Fall, October 31, 2013
Here's the least corny Shady Aftermath-related release of the week. If a collaboration between Yelawold and DJ Paul seemed weird on paper, it's not at all awkward in practice. DJ Paul's production on the five-song EP is oddly rock-oriented, and seemingly more tailored to Yelawolf's style more than his own. I wish there was a little more DJ Paul (it would have been nice if he had a verse or two) and a little less Yelawolf; moments like "Mastermind," which feels more like a meeting of the two minds, are the tape's best.
Highlights: Paul's production on "Mastermind" and the EP's single, "Light Switch."
WTF: I feel like Yela's too grown up to be rapping about pissing in bushes, as he does on "Party Prophet."
Weirdo's actually been out for a couple of weeks, but it's too intriguing to pass by. Young Hoodchiano, who announced on Twitter this week that he's changing his name to simply Da Weirdo, is perhaps best explained as Chicago's answer to Young Thug. (Given Atlanta's growing influence on the sound of the city, the emergence of a character like this was bound to happen sooner or later.) Like Thug, his tone is initially jarring and emotionally open. He's an experimental vocalist and self-proclaimed outcast who, like Thug, can actually rap his ass off. Hoodchiano's voice is actually even odder than Thug's; his delivery sounds like a drunken lullaby. Even so, his most compelling quality is his earnestness. He's got things to say, and even when they approach preachiness ("Sex Drugs" is an unfortunate, sad-wasted-girl cautionary tale), his sincerity draws you in.
Highlights: "My Hood," which sounds like a gritty nursery rhyme, and is the closest thing to a single on here. The beat for "Dirty Dancing," the tape's sexiest moment, which sounds like Noah "40" Shebib being remixed by Shlohmo.
WTF: To be honest, this whole tape's kind of WTF, but in the best way possible.