A busy week for both sides of the pond last week, including a couple of server crashing efforts from Lil Wayne and Big Sean, as well as a free album download from True Tiger and a new EP from Josh Osho on the homegrown front…
Lil Wayne – Dedication 4
After delays for reasons including skateboarding, not wanting to clash with the release of 2 Chainz Based On A T.R.U. Story release and the worldwide trending topic #BlameDJDrama, Weezy finally dropped the fourth instalment to his iconic Dedication mixtape series this week, and boy did it have a lot to live up to! Not only does the tape have three outstanding predecessors, but with a slump in quality from the YMCMB general over the past few releases, many fans were declaring this Wayne’s last chance. Luckily Wayne pulled off a reasonable effort this time around, and whereas this by no means lives up to the standard of his former work, it suggests that perhaps he hasn’t completely fallen off just yet…
Big Sean – Detroit
After breaking through as a household name last year with his Finally Famous album, Big Sean returns to the mixtape scene with his highly anticipated new mixtape. After the preview videos leading up to the release, it became obvious that Detroit was to sound very different from Sean’s album debut. And although in places it still suffers from his bubble-gum flow (and his attempts to sing), overall this is a much stronger project, with some amazing production, the majority being handled by keY Wane but with contributions from Hit Boy, Lex Luger, Don Cannon, Olympicks and more. Of course with a name as big as Sean’s (excuse the pun) it is inevitable that there are going to be some big budget guest appearances, and the G.O.O.D Music rapper doesn’t disappoint, bringing Kendrick Lamar, French Montana, J. Cole, Royce Da 5’9, Chris Brown, Tyga, Wale, Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J and Jhene Aiko along for the ride.
Joey Bada$$ – Rejex
After the success of his debut mixtape 1999, last week saw 17-year-old Brooklynite Joey Bada$$ let loose of his latest project, Rejex, compiling tracks that didn’t quite make the final cut of his first project alongside some gems from when he was just 15 years old, demonstrating the growth and the more experimental side of the Pro Era representative’s catalogue. The majority of the production has been outsourced to existing tracks from the likes of Madlib, MF DOOM, 9th Wonder and Lord Finesse, but where his Pro Era cohorts like Chuck Strangers step in behind the boards the level doesn’t slip. While this doesn’t flow as well as 1999 (of course being a compilation) this is well worth a look for existing fans, however, if you are yet to check out Joey’s music head to his debut first.
True Tiger – Eye Of The Tiger Vol.2
After smashing up the stage at Croatia’s Outlook Festival, Sukh Knight, DJ Stanza, Gowers and Blue Bear made their return to the UK with a bang, dropping the second instalment of their Eye Of The Tiger series via their new label, Stripes Records, as a free download for liking their Facebook page. The album features input from a diverse range of artists including Maiday, Newham Generals, Drifter, P Money, Maxsta, Scrufizzer, Dot Rotten, Pro Green and even Snoop Dogg, all taking on True Tiger’s uniquely grimy/dubstep production.
Josh Osho – The John Doe EP
Bridging the gap between his brilliant new album, L.I.F.E and an upcoming mixtape release, as well as the release of his single Giants featuring Childish Gambino thrown in for good measure, hard-working South London vocalist, Josh Osho, released a new EP last week, just in case we thought he wasn’t making enough music. Demonstrating a love of music in general and no desire to be boxed into a single genre, The John Doe EP covers a variety of sounds and focuses on excellent song-writing covering a range of subject matter including identity, childhood, genres and death. Making this a deep, but very satisfying listen.
Twista – Reloaded
Record-breaking Chicago MC, Twista, dropped a new Don Cannon hosted mixtape last week seemingly out of the blue, in order to bridge the gap while fans await his new album The Dark Horse as well as the much discussed collaboration with Tech N9ne Midwest Fury, which are both rumoured to be set for release this year. The rapid-flow rapper doesn’t fail to impress across the tapes 15 tracks (made up of both remixes and original tracks) and while listening through we can only imagine what kind of damage he’d do were he introduced to some Grime instrumentals.
Talib Kweli – Attack The Block
Themed around homegrown independent film, Attack The Block, which the NY hip hop legend has shown a lot of love for on Twitter, Talib Kweli drops a new tape to build up towards his highly anticipated Prisoner of Consciousness album, set for release in October. With DJ Z-Trip behind the turntables the pair journey through 18 new tracks including collaborations with Lil Wayne, Mac Miller, Killer Mike, Dac Racist, Maino, Styles P, Back Thought, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Ace Hood and more, with production from the likes of 9th Wonder, OhNo, Boi 1da and Don Cannon; demonstrating the diversity of artists who Kweli can adapt to work with, and breaking down the walls between the genres various ‘sub-genres.’
YADi – Banana Mix
Up-and-coming UK songstress YADi finished up last week with a new mixtape incorporating her own vocals as well as some of her favourite music from her apparently broad taste, resulting in a cinematic and more traditionally formatted mixtape experience that climaxes with her cover version of The Weeknd’s Initiation.
Also released this week were the new mixtape from MMG’s next up Gunplay with his 601 & Snort; up-and-coming Sacremento native, Chuuwee, unleashed his J. Dilla tribute Chez Chill; Canadian singer-songwriter Colin Munroe made his return with a new project Unsung Hero featuring appearances from Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Cassie and RZA; and LA rapper Thurz followed up to last year’s outstanding L.A. Riot album with a his new 517 W Queen Tape.
Words by Grant Brydon
Edited by Natalia