Review: Future, Young Thug, Open Mike Eagle

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SUPER SLIMEY by Future and Young Thug

Remember what a wet blanket most of What a Time to be Alive was, especially coming off career highs of DS2 and Beast Mode? How some of the tracks felt like leftover Drake verses thrown onto leftover beats Future had on hand? That’s the exact same case of SUPER SLIMEY, which is probably even more disappointing because a Future-Young Thug collaboration is a trap rap wet dream whereas more “Where Ya At” is just a nice to have. There’s just too many wasted opportunities, like the peculiar absence of Zaytoven (would it not have been nice to hear Thugger over Zay’s keys?) and Metro Boomin (who has produced beats for both); the usually reliable Mike Will Made It hands in a severely underutilized vocal sample on “Mink Flow” and collects his paycheck. Similarly, London on da Track — responsible for many of Young Thug’s best beats (“Check”, “Flava”, “No Way”) — produces “Killed Before” and it’s one of two Young Thug solo cuts that suggests that SUPER SLIMEY was cobbled together from whatever both artists had left in their vaults. (It would’ve fit right at home on the acoustic guitar-featuring and singing-heavier Beautiful Thugger Girls.) On that note, Future solo cut “4 da Gang” sounds like a re-hash of similar-sounding beats from FUTURE. Whatever few highlights don’t stack against the best songs from either artist’s previous output this year: the jittery electric guitar line on “No Cap”; the sheer contrast between Young Thug’s yip and Future’s drawl that helps the choruses of “Patek Water” and “Real Love”; Future’s hoarser voice on closer “Group Home.” And I’m having a harder and harder time finding laughs in Young Thug’s verses. By the first quarter of next year, both artists will have released something new and this one will be a blip in the rear-view mirror. C PLUS


Brick Body Kids Still Daydream by Open Mike Eagle

Up-top, you should listen to “Hymnal” right now because it contains a verse of the year contender from Sammus, who manages to keep up the same double rhyme through her entire verse while pulling in eclectic references to Star Wars (“I’d rather be hiding alone like some Ewoks, up in treetops) to hip-hop (“But don’t wait like Dre did with Detox”) while showing off her nerdier/hipster side (“Tryna pen classics like Reeboks / Or Greek thoughts or Fleet Fox”) and squeezing in the occasional gutwrencher (“Take a nap, lie awake in-between sobs / Then I rap and I pray and the grief stops / My ego take cheap shots / Can’t believe how she talk to me / She talks like it’s neat pushing buttons like key fobs…”). It’s one of those verses that would alone justify the existence of this album even if the rest weren’t up to snuff. 

Of course, Open Mike Eagle is one of the few artists that seems to improve with every release, and just when you thought he couldn’t get better than a full collaboration with Paul White on yesteryear’s Hella Personal Film Festival, he does just that. It helps that the various producers manage to make unique beats that still fit in with the album’s general aesthetic: Andrew Broder sampling what sounds like a Tim Hecker track from Virgins on “Hymnal”; Exile’s jazzy guitar on “Legendary Iron Hood” or the catchy riff that powers “Happy Wasteland Day”; Illingsworth’s memorable drum programming on “Daydreaming in the Projects”; Lo-Phi’s Flying Lotus-like beat on “Breezeway Ritual.” And Open Mike Eagle remains himself, trying to keep it all together (“I got a keep a façade, I got a play it cool / Like when you with a girl and she go away to school”; “I ain’t cried since ’94 or something”) even in the face of leaders he doesn’t respect (“When the king is a garbage person / I might wanna lay down and die”) and rampant misogyny (“If there was justice all men would have to die, patricide / Tweet at the void and heart the at replies”). The façade breaks down on closer “My Auntie’s Building” with his most visceral and straight-forward rapping ever as he watches the projects get torn down and replaced with nothing (“Blew up my auntie’s building / Put out her great grandchildren / That building cost 10 million / Now an empty lot not filled in”), closing the record with a growing beat that’s “the sound of them tearing my body down.” A MINUS