When Kanye and Jay-Z put out “H.A.M” I was super excited. In my mind I thought it would be all the classical pomp and circumstance of “All of the Lights” mixed with the marauder brutality of Lex Luger’s “B.M.F.” Basically, I imagined that it would sound like the opening of a Dimmu Borgir record – heavy as shit and beautiful at once. It was going to be the “black superhero music” that Jay talked about, and the “castle music” that Ye bragged about on twitter. But, that didn’t happen. Instead we got a tepid Lex Luger track with some operatic vocals thrown on top towards the end. No regality, no power – just Ye and Jay impotently boasting. The track didn’t work because, to match Luger’s over the top (yet sparse) production, you need vocals that take up a lot of sonic space. Luger’s tracks are mostly bass and high pitched noises, leaving the mid levels completely bare – you need someone who can fill all of that up, and energetically so (preferably screaming). Ross can do it, god knows Waka can do it, Gucci can do it, if Jeezy didn’t have a Bricksquad embargo he’d work great – Ye and Jay not so much. There’s another dude we can add to the list of rappers who “gets” how to rap over a viking rap track, Gunplay.
Until the release of this mixtape Gunplay has been most widely known for getting caught on video snorting a pile of cocaine big enough to make a polar bear’s dick go limp – in front of cops. Clearly a stand up dude. Gunplay is to Rick Ross what Waka Flocka Flame is to Gucci – the incredibly hood and agro dude you keep in your crew to make tracks with overt threats of physical harm. While he isn’t as focused on being the demigod of pure unbridled rage like Waka is, he’s still exceptionally pissed off, all the time. He’s so pissed off that he starts out his mixtape by DJ Fletch, Inglorious Bastard, by shouting people out over a war mongering remix of Clint Mansell’s theme from Requiem For a Dream – if that doesn’t put you in the mood for some testosterone laden aggression nothing will. He follows that up with a Lex Luger produced track featuring Waka Flocka called “Rollin” that’s pretty much just Waka and Gunplay angrily listing off all the things church youth groups spend so many Saturdays and afternoons trying to convince kids not to be involved with.
Following “Rollin” is “Walking On Water” which might just beat “B.M.F” as the best Rick-Ross-as-Darksied track in existence. The track is built around a vibrant, fluttery synth line that reminds one of music that would be cued during vintage Steven Speilberg alien landing scenes – think E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind – but in this movie Gunplay, Ross and the rest of the Triple C’s play the role of the zenophobic military dudes who want to blow up the peaceful aliens. Another standout track is “On My Lap,” it raises your standing heart rate with it’s fire alarm synth stabs and cathedral bells while Gunplay has a fit screaming about things he likes on his lap – namely women, drugs and guns. Also, props to Gunplay for telling a chick to “nibble on the head bitch, bite balls” if there was any doubt that he’s a tough dude, he settled that debate by letting us know about his sexual predilections. Seriously, who wants someone to bite their balls? I can’t get down with that, call me a pussy, I’ll be the pussy with functional testicles.
Of note in discussing Gunplay is his odd obsession with Nazi aesthetics. His mixtape’s title obviously makes reference to the Tarantino flick about nazi killing jews. His upcoming album, Valkyre is in reference to the Bryan Singer/Tom Cruise flick about Nazis attempting to kill Hitler, both end up on the right side of the Nazi/humanity debate. But things get trickier when you realize that Gunplay has a swastika tattooed on his back. In trying to find some explanation for this rather odd obsession, you can uncover a rambling interview of Gunplay arguing for the multiple meaning of the swastika throughout history and it’s re-contextualization by Hitler – my condensation, not his words. Throughout his lyrics I haven’t been able to pick out any references to Nazis, WWII, panzer attacks or even Germany save for “fuck you in German, cursing like I’m foreign.” All in all it seems less like dude’s trying to be offensive or insensitive and instead just doesn’t really give a fuck about pedestrian things like not talking about Nazis all the time. I have a feeling he’d get along surprisingly well with Jeff Hanneman.
This mixtape doesn’t reinvent the wheel or anything, it’s angry trap music. But, its really good at being über aggressive angry trap music. If you bumped the hell out of Flockaveli and need some more songs to add to your “FUCK SHIT UP” playlist then this mixtape will do you well. If you need a new soundtrack to “do hoodrat stuff with your friends” then consider this your early Chinese New Years gift from Maybach Music.
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