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Full Clip: September's Hip Hop Albums Reviewed By Gary Suarez
Gary Suarez , October 1st, 2013 11:35

Drake is out there. He can't be bargained with. He can't be reasoned with. Drake doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear. And he absolutely will not stop ever until you are dead. If you want to live, go with Gary Suarez our hip hop guru

No judgements here for Gucci Mane's lifestyle. This is a safe space. Still, after nine months of escalation that included lecherous accusatory taunts against well-known hip hop females, public intimidation of strangers and his own artists, along with a short-lived attempt to rebrand himself as Guwop, nobody should be surprised that he's purportedly headed to rehab for an addiction to those codeine cups. Throughout this transparent meltdown, we’ve been treated to loads of new music, including a trio of mixtapes ostensibly organized around their illicit titular substances - Gas, Lean, Molly. No surprise then that his penchant for mixing the three spills over into this predictable new album Diary Of A Trap God. Announced in the midst of his recent Twitter tirade, the record was meant to be available at the iTunes store, but perhaps in his drug haze Gucci meant it was available on his cellphone’s iTunes app.

Fans gladly copped the free download even though he’s willfully over-saturated the market with material this year, which is regrettable given the handful of single-worthy cuts present here. The recycled Trap House 3 banger 'Nuthin On Ya' rattles trunks as good as it did months ago. On 'Recognize', Akon returns rejuvenated from the shadow world to drop a grimy hotcake of a hook over an exquisite uncredited beat. Topically, you know what to expect: sex, drugs, and violence. But Gucci kindly throws us a few curveballs, from the revenge-scheming alimony exasperation of 'Half' to the resistance to treatment on 'Show A Young N*gga', taking grinning jabs at his bi-polar diagnosis and TV pseudo-shrink Dr. Phil.

He’s joined by guests as high-profile as Chief Keef ('All These Bitches') and as unexpected as Marilyn Manson ('Pussy Wet'). Yet, it takes a true rap villain to disparage his own stable of artists - threatening to sell their contracts out from under them via social media - and still feature them on his album. Though their verses on tracks like 'Choppers' and 'Cali' were obviously recorded prior to any of this, one can't help but feel sorry for Waka Flocka Flame and Young Scooter getting the Suge Knight treatment in 2013. Even with the crude diarrhoea impression, 'Realest Ever Lived' seems a fitting note to close out what might be last of these lean-addled outings, the end of an era.

Denzel Curry - Nostalgic 64

The pros and cons of being part of a crew are something just about every contemporary rapper has to weigh. That being said, former Raider Klansman Denzel Curry was wise to distance himself from the faceless multitudes by going it alone. Even still, he hasn’t given up that neo-horrorcore Spaceghostpurrp vibe, with grotesque wit (“I put the fun in funer(e)al”) and cuts like 'Dark & Violent' - a grimy, repugnant tale of a bank robbery - evoking a similar vibe. Yet his biggest influence may very well be the O.G. Original Gravedigga himself The RZA, spot-checking Bobby Digital’s 'Domestic Violence' ('Parents') and even reciting the 'C.R.E.A.M.' creed ('N64'). Curry surprises with a few lachrymose slow jams 'A Day In The Life Of Denzel Curry Pt. 2' and 'Like Me', the latter featuring a relatively conventional hook courtesy alt-R&B upstart Steven A. Clark. There are some missteps, like Migos flow-jacking ('Talk That Shit'), but mostly its a respectable debut.

Drake - Nothing Was The Same

It's important to remember that Drake is a robot sent from the future to kill us. For an unstoppable death machine, his tough talk comes across even less believable than his smooth talk. Still, his advanced meta-milksop programming targets tweens, teens and twentysomethings and hits his mark ('Hold On, We’re Going Home'). For us skeptical old-timers, the Drake unit initiates Curtis Mayfield and Jimmy Smith quote playback to convey feelings he’s otherwise incapable of. After the sinister hearts and minds campaign of Take Care, he’s sized up his enemies, processed their arguments, and negates them with sloganeering ('Started From The Bottom'). On 'From Time', he’s aided by Jhene Aiko - a Pro-Tools plug-in that became sentient - in approximating the human emotion known as love. Even though Nothing Was The Same is essentially Drake’s Willennium, it’s only a matter of time before we all perish by his cold mechanical hand in the eventual cyborg apocalypse.

2 Chainz - B.O.A.T.S. II #METIME

After a rejuvenatory rebirth last year, 2 Chainz capitalizes on his unexpected midlife stardom with this quirkily-titled follow-up. He’s still all about the gloating, and given his lengthy come-up it’s hard to begrudge him even when the outlandish boasts take a turn for the illogical. On 'Extra', the line "I just had a threesome for three weeks in a row" befuddles, and 'Netflix' - featuring an ageless Fergie fresh out the crypt - shows a lack of understanding of the streaming video service’s logistics. Having graced so many hits from other people, he’s called those favors and scored guest spots from the likes of Pharrell ('Feds Watching'), as well as Drake and Lil Wayne ('I Do It'). Yet unlike those latter YMCM billionaires, 2 Chainz has something they (and, by extension, Birdman) can't have in 2013: a new Mannie Fresh beat. A giddy Tity Boi can't help but spit that 'Back That Ass Up' cadence on 'Used 2' over such a classic-sounding Big Tymers production. Let him have his fun.

YC The Cynic - G.N.K.

In all the chattering fuss over the New New York scene, it’s somewhat curious that YC The Cynic has been largely left out of the conversation. (Perhaps he’s too far uptown for Brooklyn bloggers to notice.) A rough diamond from a deft emcee, G.N.K. soars above middling mimics like Astro and Joey Bada$$ and represents Big Apple hip-hop with the realness. Lifted by Frank Drake’s tender and unobtrusive production, the album embodies The Bronx rapper’s lyrical maturity, something uncommon in these blustery days. Strong socio-political messages are delivered softly, in the form of understated soul ('Hvnly'), Compton-style G-Funk ('Murphy’s Law'), and Havoc-level outer-borough depth ('Molotovs At Poseidon'). With so much liberal plundering in contemporary hip hop, 'God Complex' cops from Suzanne Vega so well that it ought to shame serial cleptos like Flo Rida.

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