Welcome to the first edition of the ‘Studio Monthly’, in which I, Sinani Sebadduka, will share and review some of my favorite hip-hop albums of recent times, along with my tracklist of the month after the reviews.
“Ganger (Deluxe Edition)” – Veeze
Detroit rapper Veeze has been on an exciting rise over the past few years. From releasing short songs on YouTube (his debut album “Navy Wavy” was only 23 minutes) to receiving features from rappers such as Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, and Babyface Ray, Veeze has solidified himself as a major figure in the modern iteration of Detroit rap.
It all culminated with the release of his recent album “Ganger.” With his effortless murmur-type rapping style, Veeze seamlessly raps over some entertaining instrumentals. In high-energy tracks like “Not A Drill,” “Rich No Duh,” and “Rich Rockstar,” Veeze flexes many stereotypical aspects in your usual trap album: wealth, clothing, and more. However, as mentioned above, the instrumentals help shape the album; the lowkey synths and booming drums add to its distinctive style. Veeze manages to make each song unique—”Amusing” feels like speeding down the highway, while “GAIG” and “LICK” are on the slower, chiller side. The true standout on the album was the track “Unreleased leak.” The slow, more introspective number combines Veeze’s usual ruthless bars with some contemplative lyrics.
Favorite Songs: “Unreleased Leak”
“Bigger than Life or Death” (2021) – EST Gee
The breakout mixtape of Louisiana MC EST Gee in 2021, “Bigger than Life or Death,” was an eye-opener to music from Kentucky. While there had been major artists from the state during the 2010s/20s such as Jack Harlow and Bryson Tiller, none of them brought the threatening trap sound that is consistent in EST Gee’s discography. From the early amateurish recordings of the first “El Toro” installment, to his preceding mixtape “I Still Don’t Feel Nun,” violent, boastful lyrics have been a constant theme to Gee’s music. Having signed to Yo Gotti’s CMG records just months before the release of “Bigger than Life or Death,” EST was elevated from your usual underground artist to the main stage. Big names such as Future, Lil Durk, Young Thug, Lil Baby, Dugg, and more helped bring attention to the album and aided its reception.
The mixtape begins with the grand intro “Riata Data.” The track sets the table for what is to appear on the rest of the mixtape: hard, gritty trap songs with booming production from Southside or FOREVEROLLING, and bangers like “5500 Degrees,” “Bigger Than Life or Death,” “Capitol 1,” and “Lick Back.”
An avid listener of late 90s and 2000s gangsta rappers like Jeezy, Scarface, and Yo Gotti, Gee uses these influences to help advance the album. An example of that is the true standout of the compilation, the underground hit “5500 Degrees.” A bold interpolation of former Hot Boyz member Juvenile’s classic 1998 track “400 Degreez,” Gee recruited the help of Lil Baby, 42 Dugg, and Rylo Rodriguez; with Enrgy Beats behind the resampled beat, the four rappers delivered a stunning recreation of the classic track.
Despite this being a great album, there are, of course, still misses. There’s the attempted (but failed) anthem in “Price Tag,” or the autotune-based track “Forreal,” which uses a sample from “Funk Flex Freestyle” with completely new instrumentals and verse. The track was disappointing, and minus the hook, should’ve been a part of the track “All I Know” (ft. Pooh Shiesty), which utilized the instrumentals and first half of the original “Funk Flex Freestyle.”
Favorite Tracks: “Riata Data,” “5500 Degrees,” “Bigger than Life or Death,” “In Town,” “Run 2 Me,” “Capitol 1,” “All I Know,” “Lick Back (Remix)”
The Monthly Tracklist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6w5aMHS7sFSt0f5ZbJDgUD?si=4166ead6c8024d24