As per usual, Big
Mike and Kay Slay drop similar mixtapes on the same date. While Mike is normally
a switch quicker than the vet, Slay one-ups Mike with more freestyles and exclusive
joints this time out. Both tapes contain the 50 Cent disses from Jadakiss and
Fat Joe, the Lakey Da Kid cover of "Why", joints such as M.O.P.'s
"Hip-Hop Cop" (funny how tracks have 2 or more several different names
on these mixtapes) and Beans' "Don't Stop" with Snoop, as well as
remixes to R&B flavors "It's Like That" and "One Thing"
courtesy of Mariah Carey and Amerie, respectively. For more extensive coverage
of these joints, peep the review to Big Mike's The Contender. However, this
review is about what DJ Kay Slay added extra to the plate, and there's plenty
of it (this tape is almost 20 more minutes than Mike's) so Let the Games Begin.
Again. Theodore Unit's Solomon Childs gets wicked over a funky throwback (T-Unit
style), conceivably coming off harder on this verse than anything previous.
Damn, homeboy kills it. Speaking of killing, anyone murdering more mixtapes
this year than Papoose? "Justice" appears on this joint as well as
The Underground King, which hit streets the same date as this tape. Pap gettin'
a lot more lyrical, more introspective, and more narrative lately, so let the
"battle rapper" image go: "It's like the drugs are the water,
money is oxygen, the pistol is land / Every each of us creatures need this to
continue his man / Long time nickel to gram, will I live through this span?
/ And see the future at my visual command?" And it only gets deeper, kid
Styles P should
catch major radio waves again with "Outta The Game," particularly
due to the semi-controversy surrounding the banger "I'm Black." I
commend SP for going with his heart but the new joint should prove more radio-friendly
with its hypnotic vocal, soulful loops, and breezy lyricism. "Da Roc Thugs"
proves Memph Bleek and Young Chris can do the gangsta too (yeah, Game), flowing
crisp over the high-wire symphonic sounds of Bink. The hollow rain-drop backdrop
and impending violin inserts absolutely kill it. The Clipse deliver similar
sounds ("Stuntin Yall" appears more a remix than new joint), while
Murder Inc's "1-900 Murder" might just be the dopest posse cut this
year. That's saying much cause the addictive "Intoxicated," a new
Ol' Dirty Bastard joint featuring former Wu-tets Method Man, Raekwon, and a
solid Macy Gray chorus (who's someone I don't normally care for) comes close.
Mixtape legend Doo Wop drops his second freestyle in as many Kay Slay tapes
with more humor, creativity, and surprisingly, melody; Jersey City's A-Team
continue their onslaught, spitting lyrical heat over bouncy bass jumps and funky
synths; and Prinz (not either Freddie or the Artist Formerly Known As) goes
for cake with R. Kelly on the greedy vibes of "Take Money," with dizzying
production sounding like it came courtesy of Kells as well. New Haven's Wicked
shouts for the "Gangstaz & Hustlaz" up in the CT, which like Boston
don't get enough shine up on the mixtapes. So word on that look. And there's
no doubt that DJ Kay Slay always keepin the streets locked with those on the
up and up. He also got more official with this one, so if you are to make a
choice these two mixtape Contenders are both respectable. But with the extra
frees and newer joints, one must give this week's nod to Kay Slay.