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Really quick spins: Hip-hop mixtape edition

By Sarah Godfrey

Click Track reviews recent releases from T.I., Rick Ross, The Cool Kids and Styles P

T.I. ,“[Expletive] a Mixtape"

Although this project is a mixtape by definition -- it's a free download released outside of label channels, and is meant to build excitement for T.I.'s upcoming studio album -- its title suggests that Tip isn't really fan of the mixtape oeuvre. With cameos from everyone from Jamie Foxx to Lil Wayne, and beats by a variety of superproducers, it makes sense that T.I. would want to distance himself from an art form once dominated by artists who couldn't secure record deals. But “[Expletive] a Mixtape" actually shows just how far mixtapes have come. “No Competition” featuring Young Jeezy ("the King and the Killa!” T.I. dubs the duo) and "Here We go Again,” Timbaland's stomping contribution, put most artists' album offerings to shame.

Styles P, "Invincible"

“Invincible,” on the other hand, isn't technically a mixtape - it’s not free (it’s a $5.99 download at and it’s being marketed as a “soundtrack” for Styles’ novel of the same name. But it’s filled with solid storytelling tracks, the most compelling of which are those most closely tied to Styles' book, including “Jake’s Story,” and “Kill Jake,” which follow the ups and downs of the novel's protagonist and also provide a good argument that all ‘hood lit novels should come with musical accompaniment.

(Rick Ross and Cool Kids, after the jump.)

Rick Ross, “The Albert Anastasia EP”

It seems Rick Ross the Miami rapper is being sued by Rick Ross the former drug kingpin for use of their shared name. And still, the big man insists on borrowing monikers: Ross' mixtape “The Albert Anastasia EP,” named for the mobster and Murder Inc. member, is a prequel to/teaser for his upcoming LP "Teflon Don," which takes its title from John Gotti's nickname. Ross also boldly names one track "MC Hammer," and has the nerve to call an Isley Brothers-sampling song about the drug trade "Gotti Family," even going as far as enlisting rapper Yo Gotti to provide a verse.

The Cool Kids, “Tacklebox

Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish provide the perfect summertime mood music. While their dense rhymes and pumping basslines are a quirky match for tracks named for lazy warm weather pursuits ("Fishing Lessons," "Flying Kytes"), the Cool Kids sound is a perfect fit for a track like "Parking Lot," which sounds best when blaring out of a car with its windows down and sunroof open.

By Sarah Godfrey  |  June 3, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Really quick spins  | Tags: Cool Kids, Jamie Foxx, Rick Ross, Styles P, T.I., Timbaland, Young Jeezy  
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