Weekly Mixtape Round-Up: Freddie Gibbs, Biggie Meets FKA Twigs, Scram Jones, and More
There's this ongoing debate of what exactly the difference is between a mixtape or a free album or an EP. Of course way way back in the day, EP's and LP's were distinguishable by the number of tracks on the project or the total length of it. Meanwhile mixtapes used to be in excess of like 35 songs. Nowadays though there's rampant ambiguity, and in coming up with these week's picks, we took full advantage of that poetic license. Some of these projects (okay a lot of them) are qualified EP's, but due to the "meh" factor of the mixtapes this week, EP's got thrown in. If you feel like we're missing some hot shit, then reach out. We're building a movement here.
Terry Urban - 'FKA Biggie'
So on Monday (March 9th), it was the 18th anniversary of the Notorious B.I.G.'s passing. To commemorate that, Terry Urban dropped this tight mix of Biggie fused with FKA Twigs. Whouldathunkit would work out so well? You got Twigs' ethereal vocals cutting through Big's gruff, intimidating tone. It's pretty fresh to be honest, and it kinda makes you think that if Biggie were around today, would he rock with some of these abstract electro-tinged gals we've got around today. The mashup that sounds the craziest on this one is "Who Shot Papi," where Twigs' vocals get the ill speed up and the whole thing sounds wild and new. Biggie would be pleased. Oh and peep the speech at the start of "Come Closer Poppa." Deep thots right there.
Freddie Gibbs - 'Pronto'
It feels like Gangsta Gibbs is trolling us all by dropping an "EP" with only three tracks. That shit is a maxi-single, bruh. Only reason why you should feel salty about these three songs is because Freddie Gibbs is good and you should want more than three tracks. Pronto is a good intro to what Gibbs has planned for this year. The title track is electro-ish with Mikhail & Pops bringing a deep dark beat, then "White Range," with some chopped and screwed parts hugged by a sax sample. "Diamonds" is mellow, proving that Freddie Gibbs can do whatever he wants whenever the mood hits. Hopefully he'll do that on his next album too. Hurry up with that, Freddie!
Rome Fortune & CeeJ - 'Lolou'
Rome Fortune and Two-9's CeeJ dropped off the follow-up to their 2012 mixtape Lolo. This one defines the art of chill without getting boring and sleepy. The two strike a nice balance, where Rome's rhythmic bars are paired perfectly with CeeJ's whimsy beats. You don't even need ILoveMakonnen on the two tracks "trUe thang" and "take me away," but he's there and it's quite alright. Don't just run to those songs though; there are plenty of better cuts on the project, like "joose," "cocaine future," and a bunch of others. Play this one on a hammock somewhere.
Alex Wiley - 'One Singular Flame Emoji'
Best project title ever? If you aren't a fan of Alex Wiley by now, you're really just hurting yourself. When you hear tracks like "Whip" and "Spark Something," it's very clear the kid's got bars. Add them to these howlingly haunting beats on the latter cut and "Solo" and the result is just beautiful, really. Doped up or nah, this project brings a trippy mood and will have you contemplating your life and whatever. Two singular thumbs up emojis.
Scram Jones - 'The Scramble Mix'
Oh Scram Jones, how do you manage to scramble songs and make them sound like the mixtapes of years past that we miss so dearly? He accomplishes that tenfold on The Scramble Mix. There's a lot of Jay Z and Biggie going on, but hey, #March9th. Check out the track "Big Till Infinity," where Scram slows Souls of Mischief's "93 Til Infinity" sample and blends it with Biggie's "Suicidal Thoughts." Also peep the madness going on with "Unforgiven," where Metallica joins Kendrick Lamar and Eminem. Madness ensues. Matter of fact, check out the whole mixtape. You won't be sorry.
SPZRKT & Sango - 'Hours Spent Loving You'
Okay, this is a good one. SPZRKT & Sango bring the smoothest of the smooth with Hours Spent Loving You. The project is chill, and has cool titles like "Hipster Girl," which is a synth-heavy trip with funny lines like "Your moccasins is what locked me in" (didn't know hipster girls were big on moccasins, but whatever). It's the cross-section between electronic music and Hip-Hop and the result is splendid. You'll be bumping this project for a while if you let it sink in."
Frank Leone - 'EnterWILD'
How is Frank Leone only 19 years old? He embodies the line "I'm only 19, but my mind is older, and EnterWILD is proof of that. He self-produces the project and that coupling with his pensive bars have some hints of J. Cole going on, especially with the hints of social commentary. "Paradise Lost" and "Rain Dance" both carry that sing songy cool rhyming going on, while the obligatory posse cut "Swamp" is straight spittin. You're bound to find something you like on this one, and if Frank Leone keeps it up, he'll be moving up the ranks pretty quickly before he hits his twenties.
Hit us with your thoughts!