Several notable Chicago rappers have released mixtapes in the past few days. Here's how they fared:
King L, "Tony"
*** (out of 4)
Despite being one of the brightest stars of Chicago's nationwide rap boom in 2012, landing a deal with Epic records and being featured prominently on Kanye West's "Yeezus," King L has struggled to find mainstream acceptance. The talented rapper (formerly known as King Louie until a dispute with Disney) hasn't seen the hype bestowed on acts like Chief Keef and Chance the Rapper, even though those artists haven't put out nearly as much material as King L. On "Tony," the local superstar deftly weaves gut-busting punchlines while repping his hometown proudly with lines like, "My city influence the country/can't get away from Chicago/They ask, ‘Louie, you gon' leave?’/Nah, I'ma stay in Chicago." "Tony" continues to prove why King L deserves more attention.
Best songs: "Day," "G.O.D.," "Sheesh," "Live & Die in Chicago"
Lil' Durk, "Signed to the Streets 2"
** (out of 4)
The only good thing about Lil Durk’s recent, now-squashed feud with L.A. rappers Tyga and The Game is that it seems to have rejuvenated the Chicago rapper. He revealed in an interview that the incident inspired him to release “Signed to the Streets 2,” a sequel to last year’s well-reviewed predecessor, before focusing on his Def Jam debut. Unfortunately, the tape’s highlights are overshadowed by a bloated tracklist and repetitive themes.
Best songs: "Ten Four," "Fly High," "I Made It"
Sulaiman, "The Mogs"
** 1/2 (out of 4)
An 8-track compilation of songs recorded between 2012-2013, “The Mogs” finds Sulaiman (of Treated Crew) bringing out a real All-Star team on this tape. In fact, with appearances by Chance the Rapper, The GTW, Mic Terror, and GLC, it's hard to believe these records have been sitting on the shelf so long. While not all of the songs achieve equal impact, this collection is solidly packed with great rhymes and showcases Sulaiman's widely underrated ear for good beats.
Best songs: "Fam And Foolies (feat. Chance The Rapper)," "Damn Girl (feat. Caleb James & Highlife)," "Don't Care (feat. Paul Scientific and the GTW)"
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