Sunday, November 14, 2010

THE MIXTAPE REPORT 11.14.10: Jim Jones, J. Cole, Jae Millz, Yung Joc, Tyga

NOTE TO READERS: IF YOU WANT YOUR MIXTAPE SHOUTED OUT IN THE MIXTAPE REPORT, EMAIL MIMI WITH THE SUBJECT LINE: MY MIXTAPE, send a link to where it can heard and Van Styles will get back at you!

Last week, Dipset's Jim Jones (@jimjonescapo) came through with DJ Scream (@DJSCREAM) and G-Unit's DJ Whoo Kid (@DJWhooKid) to drop "Capo Life".  Jones is straight Harlem hood throughout, whether he's spitting over Jay-Z and Drake's "Light It Up", re-imagining Kanye's "Runaway" into a diss record about the controversial MC/producer, or going out west with Snoop Dogg and Rell on "Like Gangstas".  Appearances from Roscoe Dash, and Gucci Mane fill out the roster on this one, along with Dipset members Cam'ron, Juelz Santana, and Vado.  The result is a solid tape that stays true to Jones' formula and flows from beginning to end...



With release dates continually getting pushed back, fans are practically begging for a J. Cole (@JColeNC) LP.  To settle some of that anticipation (or to add to it), The North Carolina MC dropped "Friday Night Lights", an epic mixtape that has been dubbed by some as "better than most albums".  I can't really disagree; the 20-song release is sequenced perfectly, features mostly new material (with some recognizable tracks modestly added), no DJ, and hand-picked appearances.  Cole is renowned for his skills on the mic as well as on the MPC, and although he does not disappoint in either category, the latter is what really shines here.  The Roc Nation artist brings lush, evocative samples to every track, from the female choir in "Before I'm Gone", to the layered piano and synth on "In The Morning", to the Motown-infused "Love Me Not".  Cole's production allows the music to be deep and thoughtful without getting too emotional or sappy, and his verses back that up with playful braggadocio mixed with a real down-to-earth personality.  If this is a mixtape, expect big things from J.Cole when that full-length does come to fruition...



Taking it back to Harlem, Young Money's Jae Millz (@JAE_MILLZ) dropped "The Flood Never Ended" with DJs Ill Will and Rockstar.  Millz brings a swagger that is unmistakably Uptown to a team that includes crossover hit-makers and street-bred rappers, sitting comfortably between too pop and too hood.  Although he sounds a lot like the aforementioned Jones, Jae brings enough flavor to keep things interesting.  Highlights include the club bangers "Go Fast" and "I Need A Drink (feat. Vado)", "Ride Away", with it's half-tempo soul flow, and the monumental "Remain In The Sky".  It's also refreshing to hear something from the YM family that isn't overcrowded with features, showing that Millz can stand on his own two as an artist.  Working alongside some of the biggest names in urban music right now, he'll have to just to get recognized...



Yung Joc (@IAMYUNGJOC) is back to his old tricks with "Swagg Team Mafia (The Movie)", mixed by DJ Dre (@IAMDJDREATL).  Covers of "BMF" and "Hard In The Paint" set off the tape, and from there, Joc is not stingy with his recipe of hood-inspired hip-pop.  "Groupies" borrows something old and something new, with it's pitched Lil Wayne hook and classically chill Stylistics sample.  "Yeah Boy" (credited to the Swagg Team Mafia as a group) is trap music with some depth, boasting a big hook and subtle, violin-laced verses.  "Do It Big (feat. The Game)" and "Hello" bring it back to the club, and "Baby, Baby" takes it to the next level with it's booty-house bounce.  I don't think Joc is trying to be the G.O.A.T., but this tape shows that the man still has some hits...



Finally, we've got another entry from the Young Money family, in the form of Tyga's (@Tyga) "Well Done" with DJ Drama.  OK, so Wayne is the vet, Drake is the crossover star, and Nicki is the much needed female component.  Gudda Gudda is the hood/trap representative. and Jae Millz is his uptown counterpart.  So where does Tyga fit in?  From the jump it seems he's here to fill the Soulja Boy demographic.  I feel it on from a business standpoint, but for this review?  Doesn't look good.  The youngest YM member touches "BMF", "Hard In The Paint", "Teach Me How To Dougie", and "Pretty Boy Swag".  Yawn.  Did I mention he sounds like Soulja Boy and Roscoe Dash mashed together (which I'm pretty sure is something that's happened in real life...)?  The highlights come from DJ Activ, Tyga's tour DJ and battle veteran, adding some much needed technical ability in the form of dope, well-timed cuts and scratches.  Why Drama has to talk during them is beyond me, but that's for another post...



Catch me (@VanStylesRadio) every Sunday on G-Unit Radio 4-8pm EST, Sirius Shade45/XM66 for The Mixtape Report with Miss Mimi