Welcome to Mixdown, an advancing alternation area Pitchfork staffers and contributors allocution about mixtapes, mixes, and added beat-based ephemera that may not be covered in our reviews area but are account discussing. Today, Corban Goble, Meaghan Garvey, and Wesley Case talk about Gunplay, Rome Fortune, and Childish Gambino.
Corban Goble: Well, here’s a new mixtape from Gunplay, featuring bedfellow spots from Rick Ross, N.O.R.E., Birdman and others. It’s mostly freestyles over accepted productions from the aftermost brace of years, and it is OK I guess. What did you guys anticipate of this? Additionally accord me an abstraction of back you anticipate this anthology is actually activity to hit the shelf—will acceptable shelving still be a thing, or will we accept confused on to iCloud-based-laser-guided hover-shelves?
Gunplay: “Move That Dope”
Meaghan Garvey: Yeah, I’d bet Living Legend will be out ancient anon afterwards Detox, and abashment on Rick Ross for that—you can accomplish Stalley pop off, but not Gunplay?! This accomplished affair is depressing, honestly: actuality we accept one of the best bar-for-bar rappers animate accomplishing brief karaoke over viral hits from teenagers bisected his age. For all the “album advancing soon!” drops, Gunplay sounds accommodated to his fate; that spark, the urgency, that activated his absurd run of mixtapes from 2011 to aboriginal 2013 is actually gone. And while I’d still rather apprehend an hour of C-grade Gunplay verses than best added rappers at their best, I absence that faculty of DISRUPTION I acclimated to get from his music—like, I could actually multi-task while alert to this, instead of aloof sitting there slack-jawed acquisitive my neighbors don’t accuse (which they actually did back “Jump Out” aboriginal dropped). Alike rapping over “Move That Dope,” a exhausted he should breach the fuck up, he shows his hand—he sounds about coy compared to Casino’s aboriginal verse. But hey, I assumption he’s got his escort account and his bomb apartment to accumulate him busy. Woof. Wesley, did this abase you as abundant as it did me?
Wesley Case: It’s adamantine to apprehend a agreeable barbarian like Gunplay say he doesn’t affliction back his anthology drops and afresh a few confined after rap, “MVP on the bench, still scoring.” It’s like we all apperceive he deserves better. As a fan, I’m not alike attractive for Don Logan’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy—I brainstorm I’d be annoyed with a Gunplay mixtape that didn’t comedy like a YouTube playlist of bathe loosies. Label backroom aside, Gunplay, about a apart cannon, sounds a bit chastened actuality (his asleep booty on “She Twerkin”, for example, fails to move the needle). As with any Gunplay tape, there’s accomplished rapping here, but it doesn’t jump out of the speakers like “Bible on the Dash” or this monster. “Numbers on the Board”, in particular, gives the consistently alliterative-minded Gunplay the abandoned amplitude he needs to shine, whether it’s “Can’t arrangement with a Carbon-15/ Parched and fatigued in my stars fatigues” or “From beneath the balustrade ablaze to acrimonious the Porsche type.”
CG: I’m animated you accompany up the abstraction of “empty space”, because those are the sorts of aperture that Gunplay about all-overs through to accomplish his songs pop. There’s not a ton of that actuality and some of that is structural, you know, accepting to bandy in “Hot Nigga” and actuality like that and afresh Gunplay isn’t actually bodying it at all. Two words you apparently don’t appetite to see aing to anniversary added are “subdued” and “Gunplay,” but that’s what we accept here, on Gunplay’s presumably-lazily-titled Gunplay.
Rome Fortune: Small VVorld
CG: Artful Atlanta rapper Rome Fortune has appeared briefly in Mixdowns past, and his new mixtape Small VVorld finds the rapper sliding over midtempo ball assembly from Four Tet, Bassnectar, Blood Chunk and others. While I’m not abiding if I’m activity it as abundant as some, Fortune’s a solid wave-rider who best a acceptable sonic beachcomber to ride on Small VVorld. It stands out, for sure. What did you guys like about this? How has his complete developed back the Beautiful Pimp series?
MG: I accept to disagree: I anticipate Fortune is actually capital to the development of Atlanta’s accepted Makonnen/Awful Records wave! For years he’s been putting out the blazon of able DIY that balances whimsy and griminess, and at his best, I anticipate he does it bigger than best (his Beautiful Pimp 2 charcoal one of my admired tapes of the year). So I don’t anticipate it’s so abundant advantage back guys like Makonnen and OG Maco appearance up here, as abundant as aloof a 18-carat rapport. This isn’t my admired activity of his, nor his best representative, but I like that he makes ambiguous assembly choices assignment for him—never did I brainstorm Festival King Bassnectar soundtracking such a attractive bit of afraid introversion, as on “Flashback”. And that affectionate of centralized chat is accurately counterbalanced by horn-doggy change advance like “Five Additional Rule”, which in abstraction is actually brainless (ass-eating, bristles additional rule, OKAY) but in convenance sounds like Travis Porter 2017.
WC: The assembly of Small VVorld is so out there that it took me a few listens to apply on what Rome was saying. One moment it’s claustrophobic and chilly (“4 Seasons”) and afresh carnal and R&B bland (“No Evidence”, which sprouts asperous edges in the verses). Bandy in the brilliant “FriendsMaybe” (featuring star-in-the-making ILoveMakonnen) and the chunkiest, worst-sounding adulterated guitars on “Why” and it’s bright Small VVorld is a aberrant assignment after air-conditioned accessible access points. (Rome’s abstruse account of the band to Billboard makes me anticipate this is all by design.) The best memorable productions (“5 Additional Rule”, which fabricated me snicker, and “Workin’ Gal”) appear from SuicideYear, the adolescent Baton Rouge ambassador who told the Fader, “I complete a lot like what I anticipate a nosebleed would.”
Like the beats, Rome is all over the abode lyrically, able of actuality asinine and actual austere on the aforementioned track. It was the accessible spots I accepted most, though, like this amplitude on “Flashback”: “Puff a little something, never too abounding brews/ Inside I’m bruised/ You never see it in my YouTube views/ Got me confused/ My smile is aloof article like a apparatus I use/ so I don’t assume a fool/ It hurts back cipher has acceptance in you.”
Rome Fortune: “Flashback”
MG: My capital takeaway from this band is article that’s become added bright over the accomplished year or so: I anticipate it’s time that critics as a accomplished stop application the byword “weird Atlanta rapper” as a descriptor. At this point we may as able-bodied be adage “wet water.” Actuality “weird” in Atlanta isn’t an act of transgression—it’s basically the alone operating mode.
Childish Gambino: STN MTN
CG: Anyway, speaking of GODS OF THE ATLANTA SCENE, we all apperceive it ends and begins with one man—Donald Glover. Also, there’s article I charge to get off my , it’s been a accountability I’ve been accustomed about for a while, like Arthur Dimmesdale carriage about Sauron’s arena or something. Meaghan, Wesley, are you guys sitting down? I’m activity to charge a exact “yes” afore I continue.
CG: I don’t abhorrence that “Why is you lion/ Why you Mufasa” song.
But STN MTN is actually altered than the jokeiness/singsonginess of Because the Internet. It’s like, Gambino aggravating to affirmation a allotment of Atlanta or article and booty on a harder edge, which he outlines in a acutely referential intro. But this is still the guy we all apperceive already, “I 69’D A BUNCH OF DIMES” he yells on “No Small Talk”. Afresh he freestyles over “Money Baby”. So what did you guys anticipate of this?
MG: Ugh, every time he makes punchlines (“Semen on her stomach, that’s the additional coming!” shudder) I get such a “bags of sand” feeling— “Guys I accept actually had , and MULTIPLE times!” But, okay, this is not actually unenjoyable? Conceptually, it is as affected as you’d expect: he’s declared this activity as, I guess, a Gangsta Grillz mixtape set in Atlanta that turns into an EP set in Kauai, or something? Who cares. It’s appealing fun, if you avoid the awkward lyrics and aloof coat over and adore audition the “My Partna Dem” exhausted for a bit. I think, alike added than proving his abode in Atlanta, the ambition actuality is banishment us to admit, “Okay, this guy is a goober, but he can be entertaining.” He affectionate of pulls it off, alike admitting no one—NO ONE—should anytime rap over “Go DJ”.
Childish Gambino: “Dream / Southern Hospitality / Partna Dem”
Also, that’s an Iggy Azalea shot, right, back he talks about attempt rappers appearance like they’re from Atlanta, afresh drops appropriate into “Amethyst, my edger purple” (Amethyst actuality Iggy’s absolute aboriginal name). A Gambino/Azalea “authenticity beef” is apparently the rap agnate of “War On Drugs: Suck My Cock”, by which I beggarly it is a brainless decay of everyone’s time but I will apparently still hate-click it. Okay, Wesley, did Gambino win you over here?
WC: No, and I anticipate it’s time to altercate he should stop rapping altogether. Let’s avoid the eye-rolling clunkers like “I ability bead them bars/ That AT&T” (“Money Baby”) and focus on article added egregiously brainless instead. On “Move That Dope” this guy raps, “Fuck with your boy like a pedophile/ Damn I’m fly.” That is the arctic adverse of fly, and I can’t accept Donald Glover—the guy afraid he’ll be remembered for “Bro Rape”—would anticipate that was air-conditioned to rap. Afresh again, this is the aforementioned MC who declared a woman in a song as “Something crazy and Asian, Virginia Tech.” There is annihilation redeeming about this band …
… Except it put me on to Kari Faux’s alluringly effortless song, “No Small Talk.” I adopt any of Kari’s rapping—“All my chunk flossy/ Rap d Sriracha, man you apperceive I’m saucy”—to Gambino’s try-hard attempts.
CG: :prayer easily emoji:
I’m with Meaghan in agreement of, I don’t anticipate Gambino is “not unejoyable” but it’s accepting boxy to allow his dent on his shoulder. The cool pop rapping of “V. 3005” aloof seems added like the lane here.
MG: There’s article austere we charge to discuss, though. In this interview, about the 1:00 mark, Glover talks about the gain of the for-sale adaptation of this EP activity to—correct me if I am mishearing this, but— “Keeping Kauai clean, and additionally helps with accepting audio and beheld accessories for cop’s policy”?! Accept we been foolishly blank the accessible this accomplished time? IS DONALD GLOVER AN UNDERCOVER COP? Is that what this was about all along? EVERYTHING IS FALLING INTO PLACE!
CG: I feel like the signs accept been in advanced of us this absolute time. Donald Glover, clandestine cop. It explains a lot!
MG: It’s OK, Donald—even if you’re a try-hard narc, THE KID WITH THE PURPLE HAIR LOVES YOU.
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