Georgia Mixtape Roundup: August 2012

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: it’s the bestselling record in the country, and it was made by a guy from College Park who Vibe called a “veteran†five years ago. He’s like Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler, and “No Lie†is his “Ram Jam.†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, “This would be a bad place to get tired.†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.

Moptop: Anakin Skywalker MopVader

You won’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 album’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.

DJ X-Rated: Welcome 2 Mollyworld

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 Future’s tracks, one of the month’s best releases. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the self-proclaimed space cadet’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 he’s rapping or singing about meaningless stuff, which is pretty often, it’s hard not to be affected by the oddly distorted pitch and multi-tracked computer harmonies.

Eastside Jody: Still Trappin

It doesn’t really matter if you’re interested in Jody’s authenticity or not: the Decatur native cares enough for the both of you, and it’s pretty exciting to listen to him go on about it (“Just look at my pockets,†he says often, in case you aren’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, “I could do that,†but you can’t, and anyway, you didn’t. Plus, look past the ‘married to the game’ clichés and it becomes difficult to deny that “Atlanta†is twice as good a hometown anthem as “Empire State of Mind,†and accordingly deserves twice the radio play.

Roscoe Dash: Roscoe 2.0

Swag cast-off Roscoe Dash proves he’s finally, actually, for-real-this-time “all the way turnt up” with a record full of lush, electro sex jams with titles like “Dirty Intentions†and “MoWet.†The obvious suggestion of the 2.0 is of a new and improved model, which in this case sometimes just involves borrowing some of Drake’s “maturity†signifiers, but there does seem to be a self-awareness and a drive that weren’t there so much before. Retro, A-Town Bass throwback “Don’t Give a Fuck†is good, and the Cypress Hill-sampling, narcotized love song “Sativa†is even better.

Trinidad James: Don’t Be S.A.F.E.

There are good reasons to be suspicious of newcomers whose presentation appears a little too calibrated to the moment, but I think I’ve come around on this guy, who looks like an Afro-punk Rick James and comes heavily endorsed by Atlanta’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 end—unusual for a rap tape—with highlights “Givin No Fucks,†which he opens by admitting, “My life is perfectly terrible,†and “$outh$ide,†featuring likeminded Atlanta upstart ForteBowie.


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