MUSIC

"Slime & B" Would Be Better Without Chris Brown

Brown's stench is overpowering, and Thugger is nowhere to be found

Late last night, Young Thug tweeted proudly that he had recorded all his verses for Slime & B in one day.

But the Chris Brown collaboration is largely devoid of Thugger's signature crooning. Like a poorly balanced diet, Slime & B offers no breathing room from the melodic trap sounds of Chris Brown's Indigo, which in turn causes Thugger to sound like a feature on his own work. Meanwhile, Brown's stench is overpowering. His obnoxious club R&B feels more hollow and disconnected than ever before given the current climate. "I'm too lit, she f*cked up, we wish that we could get undrunk," he raps on the tepid, Thugger-less "Undrunk." Brown handles almost every hook, tackles multiple verses at a time and while Young Thug makes appearances, bloated and unnecessary guest features inevitably overshadow his contributions.

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Music Features

Classic Mixtapes To Get Us Through Summer In Quarantine

Let's revisit some of the great summer mixtapes to help ease the pangs of summertime nostalgia

Bonfires with our friends, balmy summer days spent by the lake passing a spliff and sipping on a Corona, summertime love affairs—it all may feel like a past life now.

The rollout for summer 2020 is unlike anything before it. While Americans everywhere try to retain a sense of normalcy, it will be impossible to enjoy summer the way we want to. Bitter nostalgia for the summers of yore is rampant. Luckily, music has remained the one constant. To help unwind in these times of heightened anxiety, it helps to revisit some of the mixtapes that brought us childhood bliss, that pumped us up when school dismissed for summer, that blasted through our car speakers as we cruised with the windows down with our friends in tow. Here are a few of the greatest mixtapes of summers past, in the hopes it will bring back the fond memories that, right now, may feel distant.

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MUSIC

On "My Turn," Lil Baby Tries to Move Forward

The rapper's sophomore effort shines when left to its own devices

In a recent profile with The New York Times, Lil Baby sounded more entrepreneurial than artistic.

The Atlanta-born rapper spoke on how he spent the better part of 2018 and 19 rewriting his identity and seeking to rebrand himself as an authentic businessman. "I got a chance to be something different, to make a whole other way," he told Genius. "So I can be a little boy and f*ck around and lose it, or I can grow up and get on top of it." He got sober, dropped an amazing solo and collaborative project, and admitted to The Breakfast Club that he was forced to slow down and "learn the ins and outs" of the industry he had reluctantly fallen into (in an interview with REVOLT TV, he said he was hesitant about pursuing rap full-time but that Young Thug literally paid for his studio time and helped him move out his neighborhood). He told The Times that he avoids social media and refuses to get any tattoos lest he be viewed as a "dope boy."

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My Turn, his highly anticipated sophomore album, is a testament to that change, to growing up, and while at times the project lags stylistically, Baby has a lot to speak on. His bread and butter have always been vulnerable tales of street life, but never have they presented themselves so viscerally. Baby's best moments are when he is given the room to speak freely. "Hate I found a love for sipping lean," he reflects on "How." "I don't want no issues, can't be beefin' with my family, I don't want no problems, just make sure my kids can count and read," he says on "Can't Explain." "My biggest fear is endin' up a used-to-be," he preaches on "Sum 2 Prove."

While My Turn was initially advertised as a braggadocios declaration for radio domination, the album actually shines brightest when it steps away from this goal. The radio singles seem like last-minute additions and sound hollow and uninspired as if he made them merely because he had to. The violins on "Heatin Up" are meant to sound sweeping and grandiose, but instead sound like plastic. "Grace," despite hosting a standout verse from Detroit newcomer 42 Dugg, doesn't ever go above cruise control. The remaining features fare better, but each moment comes and goes with little impact.

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But then again, creative versatility was never Baby's greatest asset. He's a rapper's rapper, and, as a result, he shines brightest when left in solitude. He speaks emphatically about how a religious experience saved him from the brink of suicide ("Consistent) and how seeing his son play with toys brought a tear to his eye ("Emotionally Scarred"). These anecdotes are right on the tip of his tongue, and when he speaks on his life his work floats with a refined euphony as his instrumentals gently push him along.

"I just left the hood to catch a vibe, and that sh*t gave me chills," he says in closing on "Solid." Maybe that's why the radio singles feel so two-dimensional. They feel like the Lil Baby of 2018, of Drip Harder, and while revisiting those moments are nostalgic, too much is different now. He has grown up in the spotlight, reluctantly –and at times scandalously– entering hip-hop's upper echelon while trying to maintain some sense of privacy. On My Turn's pastoral artwork, Lil Baby is seen sitting at the edge of a cliff, surrounded by nature, the rapper seemingly consumed by his thoughts as he finally finds a moment to reflect back on how the hell this all happened.