True Music Reviews does not claim ownership over the Rap Genius Mixtape (Volume 1) artwork. Full credit goes to Like Lewis (Warren Lewis) and anybody else who is affiliated with the creation of the mixtape cover who is unknown to us.
The Rap Genius Mixtape, directed by Genius regulator Stephen Niday, is a project consisting of a selected group of rappers and producers who use the lyric website Genius. Overall, I thought this project was very impressive…a bit better than what I was expecting. Like most projects, it did have its fair share of mediocre tracks, but I enjoyed listening to the project overall. Let’s begin the review.
Track 1) “Intro”
Ummm…I’m not really sure what to say about this. I’m not quite sure why the managers of the mixtape would sample the founder that they only recently fired. In addition, the part after it was a bit irritating. I guess it wasn’t that bad though?
Track 2) “All Systems Go” by Local-K
This was a nice way to start the tape…especially with the title “All Systems Go”. Local-K seems to know what he is doing and delivered three exceptional verses. The production is certainly unique, but it is somehow enjoyable at the same time. Good work!
Track 3) “Holler” by Dion Jetson
Even though Jetson made some good points throughout the song, this track almost felt a bit too forced; it is obvious that it is an attempt to be conscious. Focusing more on content, Jetson has good flow and delivery, even though a lot of his rhyme schemes are one-syllabic. In addition, the production in this song is really smooth and fits well with the subject matter.
Track 4) “Teenager” by Shad Fer
Once again, we have a track that tried hard, but didn't really succeed. For a start, a lot of the singing was very cringe-worthy (especially the hook). There are tons of corny and unrealistic lines (“Try to find find my riches, commitin’ a couple of crimes”). He also sounded Caucasian, even though he is African American.
On the other hand, the production was on point once more. The synths in this track were pretty awesome (especially at the end of the song), and I liked the drum pattern. Props to Onie, who made a bad track kind of good.
Track 5) “Love Me Not” by Kitty
Damn…I could put this song on repeat for a half an hour, and I would still be blown away. The fact that they got Kitty, a famous rapper, on the tape is a feat in itself, but this track is amazing. The lyrics paint a perfect picture of Kitty’s suicidal thoughts (shoutout to Biggie). The mixing/mastering and production of this song are also superb. Nice job, Kitty!
Track 6) “Eighth + A Quarter Inch” by Fresh Air
This was a nice track overall…at first listen, I didn't feel it, but after multiple listens I really vibed to it. Even though the mixing and mastering isn't as good as a lot of these other tracks, this track has a smooth and very distinct instrumental, nice flows, and clever lyrics. This one in particular blew my mind just a little bit.
And let it drum, like the tom toms
Track 7) “Nostalgia” by Impulse
This track felt a bit nostalgic, but it would have been awesome if it was even more nostalgic. A lot of these lyrics were very clever, even though I felt like the hook was more like an interlude than a hook. Moreover, I enjoyed how Kid Pharaoh (the producer) made the beat sound old-school and new-school at the same time.
Track 8) “YEAHTIM Interlude” by YEAHTIM
This is the greatest interlude of all time. There is no question about it. I would put this as my favorite track, but unfortunately, I wouldn't consider this a track. :( YEAHTIM delivered a nice acapella verse, and the concept of the skit was hilarious. It did seem a bit amateur as YEAHTIM played both characters in the skit, but YEAHTIM is so amazing that it doesn't matter. I wish he had a full song on the mixtape though.
Track 9) “Serious” by Fresh Air ft. Shad Fer
Overall, this track was nice. Kid Pharoah once again succeeded in combining old-school and new-school influences in the production, even though I feel like the singing sample doesn’t really fit in with the theme song. However, once again, Shad Fer delivers a cringe-worthy hook.
Even though Fresh Air was weaker in this song than he was in his other song, I felt like Shad Fer personally improved within this track, despite his one-syllabic rhymes. His storytelling on this track was pretty intense. Both artists certainly put out nice verses though.
Track 10) “Make It Happen” by Cruz
Kid Pharoah produced this once again…you probably already know what I’m going to say about the production. :) Rapping for three minutes straight with no breaks is a very difficult task, but I feel like Cruz pulled it off. This is probably one of his better verses of all time, even though it does have quite a few one-syllabic rhymes. His flow was intense too.
Track 11) “Pressure” by Local-K
For a self-produced track, "Pressure" is really good. I really liked this beat, especially the bass at the end of the song. Even though the lyrics didn't have too many metaphors or wordplay, the storytelling in this track was nice. In addition, Local-K delivers one of the best track flow-wise on the tape. It was a nice effort overall.
Track 12) “Airplane” by Nico Fazio
This track may just have the best drum pattern I have ever heard…and I’m not even joking. The user of sampling in this purely instrumental track was genius, and despite the looping of the violin melody, the track never gets old no matter how much you listen to it. This beat was spectacular…I wish somebody rapped over it though.
Track 13) “Hanna-Barbara”
Damn…this track is very intense. The rhyme schemes, flow, wordplay, and delivery on this track allow Isaiah to shine and re-establish his position as one of the best Rap Genius rappers after a long period of inactivity. The production also had an awesome drum pattern, and had an exceptional use of sampling. Overall, this was a perfect way to end a great mixtape.
Here are my favorite tracks on the mixtape.
Out of the two tracks Local-K delivered for the tape, I preferred this one. It had great storytelling, production, flow, and delivery. It certainly is more memorable than a lot of the tracks on the mixtape, and I really enjoyed listening to it.
2) “Love Me Not”
“Love Me Not” featured showcased superb storytelling, mixing/mastering, and was just plain cool in general. The instrumental of this track certainly was unique, but it somehow fit with the theme of the song. The plain concept of getting a famous rapper on the mixtape was awesome in itself though, to be honest.
This track had the best rhyme schemes, delivery and flow on the entire mixtape. In addition, the track also featured an intriguing instrumental and excellent wordplay. This track is one of the many epitomes why Isaiah G is dominant as a Rap Genius rapper. I wish it was longer though. :(
Here are some of my personal recommendations for the rappers on the mixtape.
Lyrics: A lot of the wordplay and entendres featured within the tape were genius (pun intended), but a lot of the rhyme schemes felt a bit lackluster (with the exception of Isaiah G of course).
Flow: All of the rappers succeeded in the flow quality. It isn’t the greatest mixtape of all time flow-wise, but there really isn’t much I would change here.
Production: I personally felt like this was the best part of the mixtape. All of the beats sounded very professional with clean drum patterns and nice melodies, especially the exclusive track, “Airplane”.
Overall: This project was nice, but it could be a bit more focused. The subject matters on the tape varied quite a bit, which isn’t bad, but the Rap Genius Mixtape should be more cohesive.
That is all. Stay tuned for more true music reviews!