On the back of the first two tapes in the Dreamchasers series, Meek’s carved out a very strong position in the mainstream hip-hop scene, and certainly ranks as one of MMG’s more recognisable names. Credit to Meek then for sticking with the mixtape scene, despite the fact he could have probably put half of these tracks onto an EP and made a lot of money; clearly, he just wants to get a lot of product out there, and that’s to be appreciated.
Features on this are big-name heavy, as you’d expect, with Diddy, Nicki Minaj, Fabolous, Future, Jadakiss and Ma$e appearing alongside MMG leader Rick Ross, whilst the producer lineup boasts Cardo, Boi-1da, Key Wane and even the massively-forgotten Scott Storch. Meek’s proven himself a very versatile rapper, so expect a couple of club hits, speaker rattlers and maybe a more introspective track or two. Either way, mainstream heads will be grabbing this one- do so for free below.
When popular hip-hop is done well, it’s one of the most fun things you can listen to. Forget hopping on the latest rap trend or production fad; you throw a classically-strong production like this in with carefree lyricism, and you’ve got something far more enduring than whatever the current mainstream hip-hop fascination is.
Whilst I’ve not yet listened to Game’s Jesus Piece album (my backlog is disgusting), the weight of praise that this track got both on the LP’s release and ever since did ensure I gave this track a go several months ago, and it’s good to see Game bring that buzz back up with the video release. It always felt like an effort that suited a nighttime drive in the summer, with completely addictive vocal sample creating a phenomenal atmosphere in the soundscape, adding liveliness and positivity, whilst the surrounding elements help create the thumping hip-hop vibe that make it an essential for the car.
Both the videos timing and content enhance those facets greatly, shot in primarily dark settings that build on the inherent grandeur of the production to add further expansiveness, whilst the uplifting elements of the track are visualised with the more celebratory, lavish scenes. It’s nothing hip-hop hasn’t seen before, but it is a clip that fits the vibe of the audio to a tee, and feels like mainstream hip-hop done properly. Jesus Piece available now.
My views on this were relatively neutral on the track’s release: I had time for Drake’s smooth hook, but the verses didn’t really stick around in the brain for long. Nothing’s changed, but I felt like reiterating that view.
It must be said, the video’s actually quite a fun watch though. Most of it is shot through an old-school video camera style, including the timestamp of May 15th 1996, and it adds a fun retro vibe to a mainstream track that threatened to come across as a little too serious. In that sense, it’s almost the inverse of I’m On One, a track that came across as fairly upbeat on the audio release, but got slightly moody once the video emerged; working this way around should help this effort’s cause when it comes to TV playtime, with the clip’s colourful and busy nature adding the ‘excitement’ the track’s slow pace fails to bring.
I’m still not hugely into the track, though it’s not the instant skip that many of Khaled’s efforts tend to be, and credit for making the video a relatively lighthearted watch. Expect this to dominate airwaves this summer.
Those MMG boys work with some quick turnaround times. Whilst Wale made the mistake of not saving this for his own album, it appears the wider MMG crew are using it as their lead single from the upcoming Self Made Vol. 3 album.
Having given it further playtime in the intervening 24 hours between releases, my stance on Lupe’s verse has only grown more positive- it might just be the novelty factor as we haven’t heard him on a mainstream feature in quite some time, but it does put into perspective how talented a lyricist he can be when juxtaposed with his peers. Similarly, it shows up Wale’s relative regression somewhat: once a rapper known for an emotive delivery, his move to MMG seems to have stunted that passionate nature in favour of a misconceived attempt at rapping ‘cool’.
The clip is an enjoyable watch, capturing the warm, mellow nature of the production well. Opening with a set of bright scenes, both Ross and Lupe rap in front of generally summery environments, Lupe’s in particular enhancing his thoughtful raps via their relative desolation. Wale goes in the other direction and closes himself off, and much like his vocal contribution, it slightly stunts the momentum in terms of taking an expansive video into a comparatively claustrophobic environment. Generally though, a fitting video for a track that could well be a hit this summer; look out for the album on 6th August.
It’s been a while since we’ve had such a hip-hop heavy day, but I’m all for it. Wale’s been today’s chief contributor in that aspect, and rather lives by the word of this title: why didn’t he save this for his album?!
It’s a very enjoyable effort, taken from MMG’s upcoming Self Made Vol. 3 (which also contains a Rockie Fresh track released today that boasts an fantastic production), and one that sees Lupe make a first-time connection with the MMG crew, unless I’m mistaken. The production has a nice mellow undercurrent, throwing soft melodies in with the crisp, head-nodding percussion, and though the latter could probably do with a touch more bass, it’s a very smooth production otherwise. Ross opens with a surprisingly interesting verse, combining his braggadocios approach with some genuine reflectiveness, and credit to him for adapting his game to this production. Lupe steps up next with the standout verse, to the surprise of no-one, with the ‘poor decisions’ topic not only being right up his lyrical alley, but his dexterity on the mic showing through with a brief switch to a rapid-fire flow that makes for the track’s highlight. Wale closes with a solid performance, approaching the track in a similar vein to Ross, though his slower flow kills the momentum slightly. Still, it’s a good all-round track, headlined by an on-form Lupe Fiasco.
Fair play to Funk Flex for this though, as the lineup is unbelievable and essentially a snapshot of mainstream hip-hop at this moment in time. Appearances include A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Childish Gambino, Fabolous, Action Bronson, Slaughterhouse, Young Jeezy and many, many more; for a full list, check out the back artwork over at Funk’s place. Many of the tracks from this tape have leaked out individually in the last 24 hours too, and thankfully they’re tagless versions, with one notable example being the Joey Bada$$ effort on the mixtape. If you’re after any of the other individual tracks, I’m sure a quick Google search can help you there, otherwise grab the bumper project for free below.
Whilst I’m surprised Khaled has any friends, I’m going to assume SFTB (Started From The Bottom) is the inspiration for the track title given the ‘no new n*****’ line in the original. The intermittent samples of the track also sort of give it away.
Much like the last time most of this lineup came together, the verses are pretty forgettable and it’s all about Drake back on hook duty. Around 2010-11, he was certainly viewed as one of the go-to hook guys, but has scaled back that reputation in favour of contributing either guest verses or nothing at all; rare exceptions include Rick Ross’ Diced Pineapples, which was a nice reminder of his ability in that field, and this will undoubtedly bring the memories of that period flooding back. It’s a gentle and R&B-esque chorus, but is immeasurably better than those offered by today’s hook-heavy acts (looking at you Future), and benefits from surrounding verses with poor production and average verses. What’s that sound you ask? It’s women below 21 once again stroking the Drake posters on their walls (an adult female once told me SFTB was too “gangster”), and for that reason this will end up being a club hit this spring.
It’s been a very, very long time in the making but Cassie finally comes through with a full-length project, her first since her 2006 debut album. Hard to believe given the steady stream of loose material that’s emerged from her camp in the interim period, but it’s good that in that time she’s evolved and refined her sound into the laidback electro R&B stylings that this mixtape is expected to be filled with.
Features are plentiful here, with appearances from Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Jeremih, Pusha T, Fabolous and more, whilst I’m sure the production credits (which aren’t listed) won’t be lacking either. Datpiff seem to be having problems, but expect the download to be available at the below link shortly.
Cassie is finally gearing up to release a full-length project, the #RockAByeBaby mixtape (yeah, hashtagging titles caught on sadly), and with it set to land on 11th April we get the first set of visuals.
Slowly, she’s built herself as one of the better acts at delivering chillout R&B, via a unique blend of pop, soul and electro held together with mellow sensibilities. Combining airy synths with drifty melodies and pillowy bass, the production is a masterclass in laidback R&B, and full credit to whomever helmed the board work on this one. Credit goes to Cassie for picking a beat suited to her abilities, and her decision to vocalise in a slightly rapped delivery almost goes unnoticed due to her voice’s inherent synergy with the production, and hence her performance is one that definitely raises expectations for that tape. Even Ross’ verse is tolerable, with the production’s injection of sharper percussion supporting his rough tones nicely, whilst that drum line’s continued use further into the track helps maintain that momentum created.
The visual is as laidback as the audio, moving between minimal motion in monochromatics to short bursts of faded colour, with both capturing the mellow vibe of the song. Nothing else to distract you here, and it’s essentially camera time for Cassie surrounded by some smooth visual effects. A good audiovisual ahead of next week’s release.
Having let the first track (assumedly) from his upcoming Love In The Future album go, John comes through with the official lead single, linking up for his fourth collaboration with Rick Ross.
With an iconic sample of Mr. Big Stuff in tow, the track is considerably more upbeat than the previous release, and hence will certainly have a stronger appeal to the mainstream audience than its predecessor. That sample is joined by slow, strong percussion that anchors the entire track well, whilst a multitude of soft layers from harps to synths help add a rather lavish and luxurious sound, one befitting John’s soaring, debonair vocals. Regardless of the commanding production, his performance still packs in all of his soul hallmarks to wrestle control of the track back to his voice without veering too far into pop territory, whilst Ross’ famed penchant for productions of this ilk ensures he fits alongside John nicely to maintain the track’s momentum. A good release, and by my count that’s two-for-two from the album.
An incredible lineup here, for the latest single from HS87′s upcoming All I’ve Ever Dreamed Of album.
Over the last 2 years, there’s no doubt Hit-Boy has become one of the go-to producers in music (he’s proven himself as an MC too), and that’s clearly allowed him to bring these names together. Each rapper involved exchanges enjoyable short verses in true cypher style (no hook, of course), and each brings a definitively unique offering; arguably, no-one’s verse is delivered quite as distinctly as ScHoolboy Q’s here. His slightly offbeat raps certainly catch the ear, and though there are better verses in terms of flow consistency and lyrical output, with Raekwon being an obvious example, credit to Q for trying something different. Not sure why Ross gets a different production segment, but it’s a nice break from the throwback production that everyone else gets, though it does seem to give him a bit of an advantageous playing field. Nonetheless, a good slice of hip-hop with a very diverse collection of rappers who will keep this track interesting for many plays to come.
One of the mainstream’s favourite hip-hop tracks right now gets an MMG facelift, as the chubby one and Stalley come together for a quick hit freestyle over the popular production.
I’ve not heard too many good remixes of the track, so credit to both here as they do a good job with a beat that’s not altogether close to what they’re usually found on. Ross opens with a surprisingly strong performance, letting his flow cut loose from his usual slow drawl into a delivery with a touch more pace, and though it comes via the laziest voice I’ve ever heard, it’s still an improvement on his usual work. Stalley, of course, is the highlight, with a couple of different flows employed to pack in his often clever lyrics, which are also refreshingly honest for the most part and quite different to those who’ve laced this beat before him. Shame about the Flex tags, but hopefully a cleaner version will emerge soon as this is a good refresh of the soon-to-be-overplayed track.
Having been previously led to believe that this was going to be an iTunes LP release rather than a mixtape, its arrival as a free mixtape instead came as a pleasant and welcome surprise. Without question, Spitta is one of the most prolific MCs in the game, and this is another to add to his massive back catalogue of freebies.
He often comes with big names in tow, and that’s no exception here. Appearances from Lloyd, Styles P, Trinidad James, Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, French Montana and more make up a strong selection of guests, whilst beats from Lex Luger, Cardo, DJ Toomp, Statik Selektah and a few others ensure the production lineup is equally stacked. 14 tracks, no cost, can’t complain: free grab and stream below.
So, it appears someone took a shot at Rick Ross. Now, I’m sure we all agree Ross isn’t exactly slimmer of the year, and hence shouldn’t be too hard to hit, right? Yet, they missed. Either he’s very lucky or this is a bit of a stunt before his various projects drop this year. Call me a cynic for suggesting that, but we all know it happens.
Nothing more than a verse tacked on the top of Kendrick’s excellent album jam and a few adjustments to the bass of the track (turned up and pitched slightly differently), and though his laidback flow fits the beat well enough, there’s not a great deal going on that makes this worth listening to over the original. Probably worth a quick listen, but don’t hurt yourself trying to replay it or anything.
Very excited to give Pusha’s latest project a listen, his first since 2011′s Fear of God I and II releases, and the final one before his debut album drops in March.
There’s plenty expected of Push on that upcoming LP, and there’s no doubt he’s carved out quite a place for himself in hip-hop as a solo artist over the last 2 years. Features on this tape include Wale, Rick Ross and the ubiquitous French Montana and Troy Ave, whilst the production lineup is rather tantalising, with names such as The Neptunes, Kanye West, B!nk, !llmind and more contributing their works. Lots to look forward to in the near future from Push, and it starts with that free grab below.
Rockie’s another great example of just how good MMG are at promoting their artists. Say what you want about their music, but the vast majority of people that sign with them tend to command massive amounts of buzz in a very short period of time.
Whilst I’ve not been a massive listener of Rockie’s music, he’s clearly a young guy with a lot of potential, as demonstrated with his most recent release from this very project. Outside of that track there are very few features on the tape, though Curren$y makes an appearance, and hence it’s a good chance for Rockie to justify some of that hype. I can’t promise he will, but I can promise you can find out for free below.
After various assaults, fights, arrests and whatever else, hip-hop’s resident lunatic is back with a brand new 17-track mixtape for his fans. I say fans, I wonder if there are any devout Gunplay followers out there? For me, he’s a bit of novelty and fun rather than anyone I ever take too seriously, but it does make you wonder what it is about him that his core fanbase are into, given his soaring popularity. Regardless, he’s sticking around and carries through his 2012 momentum with this early release.
Features on the MMG representative’s latest project include labelmates Rick Ross and Rockie Fresh, whilst outside contributions from A$AP Rocky, Pusha T, Trina and more complete the lineup here. There are a few recognisable titles in here too, with Clique and Hold Me Back being amongst the tracks remixed, alongside some new and original works. Free stream and download below.
I’ve not been massive on Rockie’s material since his move to MMG, but this is definitely the best cut I’ve heard from his upcoming Electric Highway album, timed wonderfully given its due for release on Monday.
The production’s a nice blend of soulful and modern, with a soft vocal sample combining with strong strings, heavy-hitting percussion and vibrant synths for an upbeat production that carries the track along a wave of triumph and positivity. Ross opens with a solid if somewhat predictable verse, though it sounds signficantly fresher (pun not intended) on this lively backdrop, whilst Rockie’s on both the hook and the second verse with a good contribution that will enamour many to his cause. Frequent MMG collaborator (and oft-rumoured to sign with the label) Nipsey Hu$$le’s got the closing and highlight verse here, adjusting his flow to be a tiny bit offbeat and hence sound markedly different to his peers on the track, and it’s another good performance from one of hip-hop’s underrated acts. Nice all-rounder.
One of a whole host of projects that got released over these past few days, but arguably the most anticipated in more mainstream circles. There’s nothing like a bit of mixtape Wale, and whilst it’s a shame that the division exists between the album and mixtape work, the sheer depth in quantity of his mixtapes makes his lesser work a bit easier to ignore.
This one comes in at a huge 21 tracks, with over half of them featuring some rather notable names: look out for contributions from Jhene Aiko, 2 Chainz, man of the moment Trinidad James, labelmates Rick Ross and French Montana, and many more. The diversity of the features suggests that this will be packed with a good variety of styles, and that’s also evident in the producer lineup, featuring Nottz, Diplo, Apple Juice Kid and Key Wane amongst others. Plenty to suggest this will be worth a go, and the grab is free below.
Ross’ God Forgives, I Don’t album has been one of those I’ve repeatedly forgotten to listen to, but at the rate at which this guy churns out videos I’m fairly sure I’ve heard and seen the majority of it by now.
Most of it hasn’t really been to my tastes, but there’s a lot to like here. From the Stalley feature to the vintage-inspired production, there’s enough to pull this away from being yet another ‘Rick Ross-style’ track. That aforementioned production is certainly a unique one in today’s environment; saxophones that sound straight out of an 80s ballad, sharp percussion and a choir-like vocal sample combine for a lively production that feels almost aspirational. Hence, Ross’ fondness for documenting his rise to glory fits the beat well, but ultimately the raps aren’t anything we haven’t already heard. Stalley’s closing verse is the vocal highlight, offering a glimpse into his own life story whilst showing respect to his peers, both dead and alive, with a couple of lines.
The video matches the audio well, with shots of Ross in all his modern-day splendour, surrounded by religious architechture to enhance that vocal sample, alongside scenes of (an actor playing) Ross in his come-up days. Plenty of Ross bouncing around too, which is always hilarious, and this is a watchable clip that represents the audio well.
Taken from the official soundtrack for Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Django Unchained, Ross comes through with what I believe is the first audio release from that project.
Sadly, it’s not great. I like that they’ve tried to keep with the film’s western theme via the production, which for the most part is admirably cinematic and excellently blends that cowboy essence with a hint of darkness, but Ross is a huge letdown here. His tired lyrics don’t seem to match up with the production style at all, and instead it’s just an opportunity for Ricky to lay the same old raps on a slightly unusual production by his standards. Give this beat to someone else and they’d craft a lyrical theme to fit the piece’s intended purpose, but Ross’ lazy work here smacks of a mainstream rapper taking the opportunity to seem like a bigger star by associating himself with Tarantino. At least he’ll be bragging about something different in his raps now.
There are so many reasons to dislike this song. Ross has been churning out the same repetitive raps for the last 18 months. French is just legitimately terrible whichever way you look at it. I could go on but I won’t, because for some reason I do enjoy this. Call it a guilty pleasure, albeit not on a Backstreet Boys level (I’ll not hear a bad word about them).
It’s probably the beat that reels me in for play after play. It’s lively yet slightly ominous, intense yet upbeat and generally one that just sounds ever so good turned up in the car. The video is as poor as you’d expect, with literally nothing achieved throughout, but it fits the audio well enough, with the piercing melodies suiting the laser show style lighting. The hook doesn’t really make sense (if French keeps no clothes and only cocaine, or ‘birds’, what does he wear?), the raps are silly, but you’ll still find your head nodding when this comes on.
Given that I’m positive he isn’t Jewish, this surely this has to go down as one of the most ridiculous mixtape names of all-time? Worryingly though, it isn’t the craziest thing the MMG clan have done in the last 24 hours-more on that later.
Ross is generally good for a couple of gems on his mixtape work, and coming only a short while after releasing his God Forgives, I Don’t album, you’ve got to commend the generosity. 18 tracks deep, and surprisingly there are fewer features than he normally goes for with any of his projects, limiting it mostly to a couple of MMG members plus Pharrell, 2 Chainz and Drake. Free grab below.
Stalley’s dropped several videos from his excellent Savage Journey to the American Dream mixtape, and now we’re treated to one from the recent MMG Self Made Vol. 2 album.
Assisted by Rick Ross and frequent MMG collaborator Nipsey Hussle, Stalley’s got a pretty good basis to deliver the goods and he certainly does. The beat certainly helps too, thanks to gentle keys, light percussion and an airy vocal sample all adding up to a chilled out production. Rozay opens up with a good verse by his standards, and whilst the lyricism isn’t anything new, his flow bounces along nicely and sets the tone for the track. Stalley’s up next with the standout verse, holding back on out-and-out ‘bragger raps’ by balancing each brag with a slice of humbleness, and it makes for refreshing listening. Nipsey closes things out with a couple of delivery styles and a similar down-to-earth style to Stalley, whilst his hook anchors the song well enough without ever being too notable. Enjoyable all-rounder that’ll make for good listening on those dark evenings. Grab the album on iTunes now.
Originally called 106 & Snort, I can only assume legal reasons forced the change to 601. Hilarious, and right out of the playbook of the eccentric and wild Gunplay.
A 12-track mixtape with Rick Ross being the most high-profile of very few features, it’s a great opportunity for Gunplay’s increasingly-unique nature to be solidified amongst music fans, whilst possibly giving him a chance to demonstrate his capabilities outside of the crazy, high-intensity work-one listen to Kendrick Lamar’s Cartoons and Cereal suggests he’s got it in him, so let’s see if this tape’s got more of that.
I thought there was something wrong with my laptop the way the video was shaking all over the place! Turns out it’s just another extravagant Hype Williams production; not sure I like this effect though, it hurt my head a little.
Kanye then goes into his solo track Cold, a track where he went into some details of Amber Rose’s cheating ways, whilst also (pretty much) announcing his new relationship with Kim Kardashian, who incidentally makes a cameo in this vid. These two never leave each other’s side now, eh.
For a video primarily made up of archival footage, this is actually a half-decent effort for what remains a disappointing track given the calibre of the features.
Dre’s verse features plenty of footage from throughout his career, as far back as you can imagine and as present as some previously unseen interactions with Ross, whilst Ross’ clips are similar though understandably span a much shorter time period. Jay’s clips are probably the highlight (mirroring the audio), using both the contextual and archival footage much better in terms of highighting Jay’s various punchlines and wordplay, and undoubtedly it solidifies his status as the real star of the track. It’s something a little different in terms of video style, and certainly adds a layer of grandeur to the track, though once again its not enough to rescue it from really being all about that last verse.
On a side note, if like myself you wondered why Diddy was giving Ross/this album so much love on Twitter recently, the last 10 seconds of this video should explain that well enough…shameless.
Easily the most anticipated track from Rick Ross’ upcoming God Forgives, I Don’t album (which seems to be lacking any sort of lead single), with one of the biggest lineups of the year.
Considering the talent involved, this is disappointing. The production lacks any real urgency and instead sticks to Rick Ross’ perennial backup choice of a slowed-down, faux-regal style, if option A of an ominous Luger-esque beat isn’t available. It was great back in 2009, but now is every bit as repetitive as option A, and featured guests of this magnitude should surely be looking for something more unique and impactful. Dre’s contribution (which must be written by Ross) is OK enough, though the highlight of the track is certainly Jay’s closing verse, with plenty of nice reference points (including his daughter and the Brooklyn Nets) making for a more striking verse than the others. It’s not enough to recover the track though, and this should have been much more than it was.
YMCMB’s resident town crier always reels in the big names for assists, and this cut is no different as two of hip-hop’s luminaries (and frequent Khaled collaborators) join him for his latest single.
Rapper-turned-producer-turned-rapper/producer Hit-Boy helms this one, serving up a Lex Luger-esque beat that’s full of ominous synth and punchy bass, coming at a menacing pace for the verses before switching up with a little more intensity for the hook. Kanye opens up with a verse that probably won’t go down in history as a game-changer but a solid one nonetheless, though his hook is much more notable thanks to an influx of emotion. Ross switches things back to a more chilled level for his verse, before ‘Ye steps back in once more. It’s nothing more than OK for me, but I’m sure plenty will enjoy this.