With a long weekend ahead of those celebrating Memorial Day, here at TripleOT I’ve taken it upon myself to rifle through a few albums that are overlooked in favor of this weekend’s drops from Bryson Tiller, Gucci Mane and Lil Yachty. A much overdue installment of Weekend Spins is here!
RJmrLA – MrLA
Also known simply as RJ, the rapper signed to YG and DJ Mustard’s 400 Summers label dropped his debut studio album MrLA on Friday May 26. After featuring on a flurry of West Coast albums in 2015 and 2016, including those from The Game (The Documentary 2.5), and Eric Bellinger (Eric B. For President Term 1) this Bompton artist tried his hand at a feature length project drenched in the g-funk revivalist sound that’s regained popularity of late. Through 15 tracks seasoned with the whistling twang of LA styled synths, the YG crony effectively accomplishes a watered down variant of YG’s career releases. With the help of Mustard produced beats and some staple west coast artists in YG, Ty Dolla $ign and ScHoolboy Q, RJ structures MrLA around tunes quite similar to those found on Rosecrans and Still Brazy albeit lacking the same bravado. From the implementation of samples of “Gin & Juice” on “Hennebeeto” to the relatively softer cut “Is It Mine (feat. Ty Dolla $ign)” akin to “Do It To Ya” by YG, RJ simply bolsters his LA affiliation without much after thought.
Though the sound is familiar enough, RJ lacks the charisma of someone like YG or the ladies-man persona of someone like Problem for his album to have any lasting impact. While “Blindfold (featuring Quavo)” stands out as an Atlanta produced banger from Mike-Will-Made-It, MrLA is merely potential auditory wallpaper for cruising down Figueroa in an El Camino.
Gorilla Zoe – Don’t Feed Da Animals 2
The sequel to 2009’s Don’t Feed Da Animals stands as Gorilla Zoe’s attempt at impersonating his trap contemporaries, particularly employing flows and vocal tonalities similar to Gucci Mane and Migos. While Zoe’s past releases stood out for the use of his gravelly, booming vocals, reliance on the Migos styled flow on “So Many Drugs,” and Future’s auto-tuned warble on “Switch” and “Body” foretells Zoe’s grasping at relevance a decade after his hit single “Hot Nigga.” Further exacerbating DFDA2 are the interspersed, poorly mixed skits “Growth” and “Atlanta Global.” In an attempt to humanize himself to listeners, Zoe rambles about things that grow and don’t grow on the former cut (humans and plants do, plastic doesn’t) and recalls his influences from the Miami music scene on the latter (why bother naming it “Atlanta Global then?). Quite possibly the highlight of the tape is his engineer deciding that his diatribe about the growth of rocks being uninteresting and off-topic, to the extent that he abruptly cuts out the audio at the end of “Growth.”
Ultimately, DFDA2 lands short of any memorable space in the 2010s Atlanta rap scene.
Skinny – Late Night Blvd (EP)
Despite impending death threats from his fellow denizens of the Arabian Peninsula, Saudi rapper/singer Skinny returns in 2017 with a six-track EP, Late Night Blvd. Reminiscent of the spacey and soothing production of theMIND, as well as the nasally vocals of Odd Future era Frank Ocean, Skinny’s calming melodies set the tone for summer sunsets and remorseful musings on love lost. A feature from Ice-T on “600 AM” is a chaotic composition, harkening back to production that supported N.W.A. or Public Enemy releases, and stands as the most diverse track of the bunch. Skinny even coaxes the ever-gruff Freddie Gibbs on “Cool Kids” to deliver a softer verse, ending with Freddie sauntering into the upper reaches of his vocal range to sing, further adding to the project’s cohesion.
What were you playing this Memorial Day Weekend? Suggestions for future editions of Weekend Spins? Drop a line @bjtripleot on Twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org.