Dave East is one of those cats who has been on my radar in name alone for about the past six months. I can’t remember how he got there, but my guess is Peter Rosenberg mentioned him at some point so I put him on the medium-sized list of people to give a chance to at some vague time in the future. Add some procrastination, and we’re at the point where Dave dropped a new mixtape, Hate Me Now, three days ago but I just started listening to Straight Outta Harlem several weeks ago. So I’m in the interesting position of being able to witness a rapper’s year-plus progression in a matter of weeks, which may be one of those rare times where being lazy pays off. Or maybe I’m imaging silver linings? Anyway, on with the review…
Back when I reviewed New York City, Troy Ave was totally new to me, and that album floored me. Hearing somebody make good, moody New York gangster rap again was so exciting that, if I was giving scores back then, that album would have gotten at least a four out of five. But with Major Without a Deal, Troy is coming to exhibit something much less desirable: a myopic, self-centeredness that’s infecting and ruining his music.
I remember Clue tapes from back when mixtapes were the internet, before blogs and iTunes and Spotify. Big-name DJs were the gatekeepers to the industry for artists who needed more attention. DJ Clue was one of the biggest names during his time, he even had a deal and albums with Roc-A-Fella! Given that history, I grabbed DJ Clue’s Banned From CD Part 1* as soon as I saw it, so I could see what a Clue tape sounds like in 2015.
Turns out…not that great.
A$ap Ty Beats – TYBeats Keep Smoking
Full disclosure: I was browsing DatPiff’s new tapes and saw this. The A$AP name was my only reason for downloading. After liking a lot of Rocky’s album and some of Ferg’s, I figured I’d see what the rest of the crew was about. Unfortunately, the description on that site and asapmob.com give next to no information about this mixtape, and I can’t be bothered to do more research than that.
TYBeats Keep Smoking serves as an introduction or “best of” for the producer, collecting 20 songs that he produced for his crew* and a some other rappers and singers. The first half is mostly A$AP songs, and is the better of the two halves by a landslide. His spacey and hazy beats just sound best with his A$AP brethren on them, and the other rappers he’s worked with leave a lot to be desired. Feminist‘s airy beat is great, but Aaron Cohen’s basic rhymes and flow ruin the song. Other non-A$AP songs aren’t as bad as that one but overall they’re pretty boring.