UTG Mixtape Roundup: November 2015

Future and Young Thug have set the standard for balancing high quality with high quantity when it comes to mixtape releases, but even without the media attention, their lesser-known contemporaries have echoed a similar ethic in 2015.

Thus, it’s no surprise this month’s mixtape roundup features multiple artists from the current capital of hip-hop following in the footsteps of their mainstream superiors alongside a handful of dynamic rappers from outside Atlanta’s borders as well.

Know a struggle rapper whose mixtape is actually hot? Want to try and convince Mike that Gucci Mane isn’t the most important artist of the 21st century? Get at his mentions on Twitter.


On his sixth solo release of 2015, Bones continues to exercise his grueling, melancholic brand of hip-hop (see: sampling “Elegia” by New Order) with expectedly haunting results. Rapping at a low frequency, the California rapper utters ambiguous tales of self-championing bravado (“Am I lurking at your door? You don’t really wanna know”) mixed with hints of painstaking affection (“If I should fall off the edge of the world, I’d crawl my way back to you”); through the hazy veil of reverberating snares and floating synths, Bones bares all on HermitOfEastGrand.

Standout tracks: “Cholesterol,” “IThinkThereIsSomethingInTheRadiator,” and “TheArtOfCremation”

Ethan SaciiDirty Glove Sacii

Ethan Sacii’s elastic, auto-tuned flow paired with TM88’s opiate-influenced production work is a match made in heaven as seen on the 808 Mafia producer’s Sacii Lyfe record earlier this year. Thus, it’s only right the two Atlanta artists continue crafting 808-driven homages to liquor and lean on Dirty Glove Sacii. Once again, Sacii is given ample room to contort his cadence on verses and ad-libs (“I’m leaaaanin’ (whoa!)”) as otherworldly synth-lines and quaking percussion-kicks churn with head-nod inducing force. The album’s obvious highlight is the star-studded “Thug City,” but Sacii’s offbeat approach to hip-hop ensures the entirety of the record is worth bumping as well.

Standout tracks: “Leanin,” “Let’s Get It (feat. Spike Sacii),” and “Thug City (feat. 2 Chainz, Quavo, K Camp, and DJ Outtaspace)”

Lil Uzi VertLuv Is Rage

When colliding the production values of Atlanta trap, Chicago drill’s off-kilter flow, and an OVO Sound leaning atmosphere, the result is Lil Uzi Vert’s Luv Is Rage. The Philadelphia native’s newest project kicks off with overwhelming urgency on album opener “Safe House,” a warning to those who find too much comfort in their safe house, but the joint is just a small taste of the sonic set-pieces to come. Quirky bangers such as “Super Saiyan” and “7am” are perfect to send thundering through your surround sound and get buck to (“That bitch say she waiting/Lil Uzi go super saiyan”), while cuts like “Moist” and the Young Thug-assisted “Yamborghini” bring on a bit more introspection that’s not only visible in the lyrics, but the the airy nature of the production as well. It’s a potent mixture from top to bottom whose cross-regional sound makes success seem imminent for Uzi Vert.

Standout tracks: “7am,” “Queso (ft. Wiz Khalifa),” and “Yamborghini Dream (ft. Young Thug)”

Noelz VederePyramid Poet

While Pyramid Poet‘s content may have cerebral themes on more than one occasion, it’s by no means a “conscious rap” record. Created by Chicago artist Noelz Vedere, the seven-song project is a hyper-focused whirlwind of clattering snares and towering 808 kicks complemented by Vedere’s throaty cadence as he dives into a host of personal demons. The emcee isn’t alone, though, as a handful of quality features is present – most notably Mick Jenkins’ impassioned flow on “Reign” that serves as icing on the cake for Pyramid Poet.

Standout tracks: “Bliss,” “Pyramids,” and “Reign  (ft. Mick Jenkins)”

QueI Am Que

The most traditional(?) of this month’s featured mixtapes, I Am Que, finds Que (of “OG Bobby Johnson” fame) continuing to expand on the sound of his breakthrough hit. He exercises his raspy, Southern twang to navigate through a host of tweet-worthy punchlines (“I’m faded just like Boosie’s head/Eyes bloodshot, them bitches ruby red”) alongside street-centric tales (“When them street lights on, you hear hundred-round drums”), thus striking a much appreciated balance between the two styles.

The mixtape’s distinct lack of features (aside from a Sonny Digital verse) is also worth noting as it speaks to the cohesive nature of the project. Even with a handful of songs that have street-single potential, I Am Que is most powerful when heard not through the sum of its parts, but rather the engaging whole.

Standout tracks: “Gucci Said (ft. Sonny Digital),” “Liquor Talking,” and “Woodworks”

Mike Giegerich
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