With 2 Chainz’ Based on a T.R.U. Story topping the Billboard charts, Atlanta can once again claim to be number one in more than just cable reality TV shows. The badness of the album is beside the point: itâ€™s the bestselling record in the country, and it was made by a guy from College Park who Vibe called a â€œveteranâ€ five years ago. Heâ€™s like Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler, and â€œNo Lieâ€ is his â€œRam Jam.â€ Whatever you think of his music, his success is an invigorating spectacle for the city to rally around. If nothing else, it proves that Atlanta still matters, that people are still interested. And what else could be the lesson here except that, as Ali once said to George Foreman, â€œThis would be a bad place to get tired.â€ In that spirit, here are five of the best mixtapes from the past month, chosen from a range of great options by a deeply unscientific selection process.
You wonâ€™t find any sustained Star Wars themes here, thankfully: the title is just the latest in a long line of inspired rapper/icon portmanteaus (e.g., Lebron Flocka James, Gucci Sosa, Obama BasedGod). You will find an albumâ€™s worth of weird vibes and manic energy, a worthy follow-up to his also-great July release Loudpaklanta The Unexpected. Between weed raps, Rihanna samples, and Jimmy Neutron references, you get the sense that the mostly unknown Moptop can and will make better music than this, but the unhinged potential is part of the appeal.
Essentially a new, five-track Future EP buried in a compilation of recent-ish ATL street hits, Welcome 2 Mollyworld is still, based on the strength of Futureâ€™s tracks, one of the monthâ€™s best releases. This shouldnâ€™t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the self-proclaimed space cadetâ€™s fantastic debut album, Pluto, released this April, which mastered his signature combination of loopy, sci-fi synth textures and vocals digitally mangled (via AutoTune) into haunting, robotic desperation. Even when heâ€™s rapping or singing about meaningless stuff, which is pretty often, itâ€™s hard not to be affected by the oddly distorted pitch and multi-tracked computer harmonies.
It doesnâ€™t really matter if youâ€™re interested in Jodyâ€™s authenticity or not: the Decatur native cares enough for the both of you, and itâ€™s pretty exciting to listen to him go on about it (â€œJust look at my pockets,â€ he says often, in case you arenâ€™t convinced). Beatmakers Drumma Boy and Zaytoven are all over the tape as well, expanding on the Vangelis-meets-Miami-Bass template of contemporary trap rap production in ways that will impress you and make you think, â€œI could do that,â€ but you canâ€™t, and anyway, you didnâ€™t. Plus, look past the â€˜married to the gameâ€™ clichÃ©s and it becomes difficult to deny that â€œAtlantaâ€ is twice as good a hometown anthem as â€œEmpire State of Mind,â€ and accordingly deserves twice the radio play.
Swag cast-off Roscoe Dash proves heâ€™s finally, actually, for-real-this-time “all the way turnt up” with a record full of lush, electro sex jams with titles like â€œDirty Intentionsâ€ and â€œMoWet.â€ The obvious suggestion of the 2.0 is of a new and improved model, which in this case sometimes just involves borrowing some of Drakeâ€™s â€œmaturityâ€ signifiers, but there does seem to be a self-awareness and a drive that werenâ€™t there so much before. Retro, A-Town Bass throwback â€œDonâ€™t Give a Fuckâ€ is good, and the Cypress Hill-sampling, narcotized love song â€œSativaâ€ is even better.
There are good reasons to be suspicious of newcomers whose presentation appears a little too calibrated to the moment, but I think Iâ€™ve come around on this guy, who looks like an Afro-punk Rick James and comes heavily endorsed by Atlantaâ€™s Greedmont Park crew. Unlike a lot of blog-rappers, he makes an effort to project his own voice, rather than retreat into low bitrate ambiance. It even picks up towards the endâ€”unusual for a rap tapeâ€”with highlights â€œGivin No Fucks,â€ which he opens by admitting, â€œMy life is perfectly terrible,â€ and â€œ$outh$ide,â€ featuring likeminded Atlanta upstart ForteBowie.
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