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Review: Washington DZ by FMB DZ

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Midway through the opening track “Hard To Kill” you’ll likely panic because it sounds like FMB DZ is out of breath. Are you about to hear him pass out on the track? Have no fear. This sense of morbid anticipation becomes a trademark of the listening experience of the album because DZ’s delivery reeks with excitement – he’s anxious to get his message out. Going into the album, if you don’t know much about the Detroit rapper, you’ll learn plenty enough to decide whether you like him or not. Judging by the project’s content, I’m pretty sure you will. By making use of some surprising instrumentation and keeping things short and sweet, DZ manages to gift a package that appetizes just enough to make the world eagerly anticipate another project.

DZ’s delivery could best be described as the perfect mix of guttural and smooth. It helps that he delivers at such a brisk pace because it covers up a lack of lyrical depth that other reviewers would knock off points for. I understand that not all rap music has to be an exercise in deciphering lyrics on Genius, so I find DZ’s content to be perfectly fine. He’s in the business of lifestyle and scenario raps, not verbal hieroglyphics. When he comes in at the beginning of any track, he comes prepared to kill: and that he does. His entrance on “Can’t Hang” plays off of the synths in the background nicely, almost as if he’s sneaking onto the microphone. The best comparison that can be derived would be Yung Gleesh, if Glessh put effort into his extremely casual raps. Of the two, DZ definitely has a leg up.

“Can’t Hang” is a noticeable stand out because of its relatively short length and complexity. Although the tracklist, in terms of song length, follows the pattern set on this song, the production quality varies. The simplistic production on “The Run” makes it sounds more like noise than the backhand support for DZ’s fierce, yet relaxed delivery. Elsewhere, on “Turn Around,” a similar production style is used – almost to the same, somewhat messy effect. But in both instances, DZ’s bars come through to save the day. On the latter track, DZ raps “I don’t give a fuck about your big homie/Big Bully on me, can’t no nigga out here pick on me” invoking the feelings of paranoia, acceptance, and bravado he projects onto listeners.

Aside from these two tracks, the production is surprisingly good. The prominent feature of snare drums on each track cuts across his vocals in a loud, brash statement that probably wouldn’t work for other rappers. Here, it acts as a metronome that DZ constantly refocuses and reshapes his verses around. Maybe the effect is unintentional, but it makes each listen very interesting because you can hear where he’s reformatting things. There’s also some serious piano play here, and a surprising saxophone appearance on “Voices” that sounds nothing short of beautiful. Producers on the project put in some serious work to lace DZ with their best work.

At 14 tracks, the project feels just right. DZ wrapped things up on a speedy note but left fans anticipating more. In an age where artists care more about streams – so they stuff releases with 20+ tracks – someone who realizes the value in creating a tightly put together package is very appreciated. Once the ending rolls around, you’ll be prepared to give it another spin – and you won’t feel exhausted.

By keeping it concise, DZ has created a project that’s both a joy to listen to and easily replayable. Questionable production on a couple of tracks isn’t enough to take away from interesting experimentation and DZ’s unique delivery. This should be the project that brings him to the forefront of both Detroit and mainstream rap success.

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Bay Area Review: Lil B’s “Young Niggaz”

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Lil B

Lil B’s odd journey from parody figure to Hip Hop influencer hasn’t stopped him from becoming one of the most versatile artists in the industry. To be frank, everyone loves him. If you love traditional rap, chances are you find Lil B funny enough to justify checking out his music on occasion. If you love listening to experimental rap, you love Lil B for his constant forays into odd musical territories. The point is, there’s something for everyone when checking out his extensive catalog. With this in mind, it makes it hard to recommend listening to one his latest releases, “Young N*ggaz.”

To be fair, we did just say that he always experiments. But to be honest, he took a long time off from rapping relevancy, only to reappear recently for the release of his Black Ken mixtape. Maybe he retooled his approach recently to focus on a more traditional demographic. Maybe he wanted to go after a classic Bay Area hyphy sound. Whatever the case, “Young N*ggaz” suffers from it.

It’s not necessarily the overly hyphy production or the subpar mixing of the beat and vocals that make it a mess, more so the quality of the verse from Lil B combined with, well, everything else. It sounds like a joke, and that’s even low by Lil B’s standards. The track relies on the nostalgia produced by the hyphy sound to carry the listener to the end. The problem with that is that the production is yawn-inducing so the nostalgia lasts for all of ten seconds before you realize that the track is pretty bad.

The only saving grace in the song is a verse from fellow Californian YG who brings a phoned-in but quality verse. But then again, every YG verse is fire. Could this be on the lower end? Does YG sound bored here? These type of questions pop up as the song goes along. Imagine listening to it multiple times for a review. Yeah, it’s that bad.

Hopefully, Lil B can recapture the creative spark that he had for years when he ran the backend of the rap game with his original sound and message. As a Lil B fan, I can only return to some of his best work and reminisce on the golden days. If “Young Niggaz” is an indicator of the direction that he will push his sound, it looks like his best days are behind him.

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Bay Area Spotlight: “Wring” by Lil Trev

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Lil Trev

The Bay Area has churned out some of Hip Hop’s most influential rappers to date such as Tupac Shakur and E-40. There’s a wealth of untapped potential there in an area that mainstream America often adopts its sounds from and cast it back into the shadows. Every day, new artists search for that spotlight that Hip Hop’s greatest have inhibited in hopes of garnering fame and furthering their sound. It looks like Lil Trev, from East Sacramento, may be one of the next to break out of the area, possibly jumping into Hip Hop’s elite. With his release of the “Wring” it’ll be hard for anyone to deny his talent.

The visual for the song came out in August of this year and has been boiling slowly ever since, sitting at almost 57,000 views. Listen to the song and you’ll see why it’s growing at such a rapid pace. Trev’s a furious fucking spitter, to be frank. He’s frantic, sounds as if he’s avoiding taking breaths, and you can practically hear the spit falling from his mouth as he goes in over production that evokes the nostalgic sounds of the hyphy movement. The video is cool and all, but the song is fucking crazy.

There’s viral potential for Lil Trev similar to Tay K or YBN Nahmir. Let 4Sho Magazine be the first to say it: America’s going to see a lot more of Lil Trev very soon. It’s only a matter of time before he begins to put on for the Bay Area how Hip Hop’s elite have done in past years.

Check out the video for “Wring” below. You can follow him on twitter at @LilTrev_Wrg

 

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Tee Grizzley and Lil Durk’s new project will shut the internet down

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Detroit’s own Tee Grizzley made headlines when he announced on Oct. 11 that he and Chicago-rapper Lil Durk have a joint project in the works to be released soon. There’s no timetable as to when it will be announced so we will have to stay vigilant to see if it will be a surprise release as we expect.

https://twitter.com/Tee_Grizzley/status/918402615565737984

To say that the internet is anticipating the project is an understatement. Both Durk and Grizzley are premier artists who release some of the best music to come out of the Midwest, period. Durk’s Signed To The Streets installments further the Chicago drill sound by introducing Autotune in such a way that isn’t overbearing enough to be considered bothersome. Grizzley’s My Moment cemented him as one of the best rappers bar-for-bar in the game currently. Bringing both of these guys together for the entirety of a mixtape will produce some serious fire.

What do you think it’ll sound like?

https://twitter.com/lildurk/status/918272647963774979

Check out some of their hottest songs below.

Tee Grizzley

 

 

 

Lil Durk

 

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