Travis Scott – Astroworld Expectations

The anticipation for the forthcoming release from Houston’s own and G.O.O.D Music in-house producer, Travis Scott, AKA, La Flame, is long overdue. Nearly three years after announcing the project, release of his critically acclaimed second studio album, ‘Birds in the Trap Sing McKinght’ and his collaborative LP with Migos’ frontman, Quavo; Scott has built up a lot of energy and mystery around the release for his third album.

Since his last two releases, Scott has kept himself, musically quiet. With a few appearances on others track and the single, “Watch” with Kanye and Lil Uzi, there’s nothing else but La Flame fans’ anticipation bubbling like an asleep volcano.

Anyway, onto the expectations that I hold for Travis’ upcoming LP. So, onto the first area of the album I’ll be discussing is production and producers. Although it’s known Travis is keeping all of his musical output lowkey, producers that would be good to see appear would be, Metro Boomin’ (hopefully he comes out of retirement for it), TM88, Southside and also Chris Fre$h of the 808 Mafia posse; can’t forget about the man Sonny Digital though! Yet, seeing still-upcoming producers like Smash David (“Clout” – TY$ & 21 Savage), Carnage (“I Shyne” – feat. Lil Pump), FKI1st (“Sloppy Toppy” – Travis Scott), London on da Track (“Cocky” – feat. A$AP Rocky, Gucci Mane & 21 Savage), Brodinski (“Weekend” – feat. Hoodrich Pablo Juan & Jose Guapo) and Ronny J (“Audi” – Smokepurpp) would all compliment Travis’ rage aesthetic. Too see him also channel the energy he portrayed on ‘Days Before Rodeo’ standout tracks, “Drugs, You Should Try It”, “Quintana, Pt.2” and “Zombies” are perfect examples of Trav at his creative best.

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Other producers who would be interesting and satisfactory to come up as credited on the album would be Kanye, Juicy J, Travis himself, Murda Beatz, KiD CuDi and even a Utopian Pharrell beat seems not to far out of the question for the ‘Astroworld’ conqueror. Hopefully he’s been hands on in the studio with all the producers who have worked on the album and are all following a similar sound that not only helps project Travis’ sonic creativity, but also allows him to fully expose his musical standards; whether it’s his song-writing, production or vocal performances.

Moving on, who would I love to see on this album? Plenty of guests, past and present collaborators as well as new ones. While we already know Kanye and Uzi are on a record, seeing them both separately featured individually on a track would also be cool. A guest feature I’d love to see again, I hate that I’m saying it, but the chemistry between the two is there; the infamous Justin Beiber. While I’m not in any shape or form a fan of the Pop sensation, his contribution to the illusive and unavailable on most streaming platforms, “Maria, I’m Drunk” record, alongside Young Thug, is for all three of them one of their best performances. However, acts like The Weeknd, TY$, SZA, Maxo Kream, Andre 3000, 21 Savage, Gucci Mane, PARTNEXTDOOR, Future, Lil Wayne, Hoodrich Pablo Juan and 6lack, would all make worthy features; if they come through with quality content. 20180710_171732.png I’m not saying they all need to be on the album, but, like “Watch”, and the hype it had before it dropped and adding to the pending release date of ‘Astroworld’, it wouldn’t be bad to release promotional singles. It’s also a marketing technique he hasn’t shyed away from before. Looking back to the build-up to ‘Rodeo’, a demo version of “Drunk”, as well as throwaway records “Nothing But Net” and “High Fashion” hit the internet and all settled in nicely to Travis’ constantly progressive discography.

In regards to lyrical content from Travis, I expect his most personal work to date. I am looking forward to see how Travis explores fatherhood, maturity, fame, wealth and of course; the rage. Obviously, hearing Travis rave about popping pills, smoking colossus joints, being with the baddest chicks and living his best life. Yet, hearing Travis reflect on more personal experiences in life, something we haven’t heard much from him before, would definitely add to the introspective of his ‘Astroworld’.

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Flatbush ZOMBiES – Vacation in Hell Review

Too finally get some time off work, is a joy to everyone. You get to slouch in front of your TV, watch a movie, read a book or go outside and water some flowers; to me, it’s throwing on the latest musical output from everyone’s’ favourite Flatbush zombies.

On the newest LP, ‘Vacation in Hell’, fans of the infamous trippy trio will hear great progression from all three members. From ‘D.R.U.G.S’ too ‘3001’, and now ‘ViH’, the ZOMBiES have put out a consistent amount of material that has held fans over for the groups 2 year hiatus. One of the many factors of the new project is too point out the paradoxes they explore: through the glossy album cover, title and fluency of how the album develops. This is done primarily through experimental production and intriguing vocal techniques to keep an audience engaged and leaving the ZOMBiES still very much authentic to themselves.

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From the start of the album with the Tyler Doops produced, Heavy-Metal inspired and appropriate opening track, “HELL-O”, The Architect, Jewice and Meechy all provide head-banging bars that still place them on a more elite level than most today.  We hear the ZOMBiES flexing about “smoking Gelato”, not “seeing a cell” and Meech calling out all ‘Mumble Rappers’ to know that they aren’t any competition compared to his MC-ing ability.

As the album progresses, one of the main themes that keeps on being mentioned, is making the best out of a difficult or unhappy situation; the inspiration and title manifested into the latest project, as well as “to be a leader not a follower”.

This concept is mot notable on the following track “Chunky”, where Dia and Meech both harmonize with one another and tell everyone to “pack your bags for a Vacation in Hell”.

As the album flows on, we hear of solo efforts from all members of the trio as well as some notable guest features that I think most fans weren’t expecting. Both New York legend, Jadakiss and Texas’ own triple OG, Bun B, come through for their respective verses. Neither featuted verse were dissappointing, which is always a treat for all fan bases. Jadakiss’ contribution to “Facts” along Meechy’s excessive and graphic lyrics compliments his style perfectly as they tell of the horrors that are ‘FACTS’ today in Hip-Hop. As Jada said perfectly; –

“Don’t compare us to the large percentage of smoke and mirrors.”

While the album consists of a large quantity of tracks, the majority of it, is classic and pure quality…to me. It contains essential odd and ear-nerving records, “Ask Courtney” “M. Bison”, the solo Erick joint, “Proxies”, which is just, I’m speechless. The instrumental itself, is one the his most unique and gripping beats too date and in comparison to any of their previous work. Erick sets his rapping and lyrical skills to a new level. He raps pure Gangster Rap, while also threatening all competition.

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Moving on, the album has some magnificent highlights. Tracks such as, “U&I”, “The Glory”, “Best American” and “Headstone”. However, it’s solo efforts, such as  Zombie Jewice and A$AP Twelvvy’s “Leather Symphony” collaboration and Meech’s ode to the still dearly missed and late A$AP Yam$ on “YouAreMySunshine”. Meechy provides a different sound the fans are used too hearing from him, although on this record, Meech’s voice is more melodic and emotional.

In all, the album really does live up to the name of a “Vacation in Hell”. The instrumentals provide a scenic and chaotic soundscape for the ZOMBiES to explore various genres, as well as broaden their own sound. Until their next release, enjoy the vacation.

 

 

Rich the Kid; Album Expectations

As the last few years have come and gone, it always seems that Atlanta are, without no doubt, the most consistent in regards to the artists output of Hip-Hop based and Trap music; and the undeniable hospitality between the OGs helping ‘GLO UP’ “all their children”.

SHOUTOUT SOSA & WOP.

This year, it seems as if it may finally be Rich the Kids’. After his labels complilation mixtape, ‘Rich Forever 3’ alongside Chicago’s own Famous Dex and Brooklyn’s latest buzzing act, Jay Critch, who are both signed to Rich’s label, he got an incredible amoubt of attention. Since then, he has also steadily released three singles and teased at massive vocal guest features for his debut.

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So, who do I think would be perfect for Rich’s upcoming untitled sophomore album? Well, not only am I expecting his Rich Forever signees on seperate or a collaborative track, but also branching out into other areas of Hip-Hop. Although Rich has been spotted before with artists like Quavo, Yachty and PARTYNEXTDOOR, I’m anticipating darker melodies from Rich by exploring R&B with current genre superstars TY$ and Bryson Tiller.

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What would also be interesting too see, is that not only has he released the infectously bouncy Kendrick Lamar-assisted “New Freezer”, but a record with someone else from TDE, such as ScHoolBoy Q, would compliment Rich’s young, ignorant sound that Q is never afraid of offering on a record. Others I’d enjoy seeing guest feature on a Rich project would be Offset, Retch, Maxo Kream, Young Thug and DRAM.

In terms of producers, I feel as if Rich could work with a whole variety of producers and still craft out-of-the-box, genre-less gripping music. Producers such as Harry Fraud, Juicy J, Chris Fresh, BuddahBless, Murda Beatz, TM88 and Metro Boomin. It is at a glance, heavily Trap, idealistcly, yet all producers, Murda and Chris Fresh, have proved too be some of the undergrounds most slept on producers.

Too be honest, I am, on a real level, excited for Rich’s debut album. While he’s still classed in the ‘mumble rapper’ category, he’s shown multiple times now that he’s ready too take his career to the next level.

Big Sean & Metro Boomin – Double Or Nothing Review

It’s been just over two months since the release of another, surprise rapper and producer. collaborative project; once again, specifically Metro Boomin and Detroit’s own Big Sean. Since the release of his last album, ‘I Decided’ and the in-direct yet tasteful subliminal diss record, “HUMBLE” from Kendrick kept Sean Don quiet. Yet, just before Christmas came, Sean and Metro released the joint effort ‘Double Or Nothing’.

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While I have been a fan of Sean, not only for his dry punch lines and constantly developing flows, but because he always seems to be able to stand out among his peers for his diverseness. However, on this project, it really is the sample-flips, provided by Metro as well as some unexpected standout features.

While the first record on the album featuring Travis Scott, “Go Legend”, had as much potential too be a banger as the previous (excluding Metro) collaborative song, “Don’t Play” between the two. However, it didn’t work this time and for myself, it’s always annoying too hear the first song of an album and you feel as if it should’ve been a different song or later on on the tracklist.

While features appear frequently on the album, particular standouts are 2 Chainz and Young Thug’s verses, respectively on “Big Bidness” and “Even The Odds”, one of the most entertaining is the raunchy, Kash Doll-featured “So Good”. Although Metro’s production sounds much alike too DJ Mustard’s signature heavy bass and West-Coast synths, it is easily one of the most distasteful tracks on the LP.  However, previous features, as well as, Swae Lee’s whispered vocals compliment Sean’s aggression on “Reasons”. Not only is it one of the more lyrical efforts on the album, as well as “Who’s Stopping Me” and “Savage Time”, where he speaks up on thinking of your dreams compared to achieving them (“take that water from flint and make the president (Trump) drink”).

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To conclude, it’s not Sean’s best lyrical effort. However, due too the unprecedented chemistry between Don and Lil Metro, Boomin’s effort for the production makes room to save the songs where Sean doesn’t. Although some songs could’ve been left off or had a feature on/off or added (“In Tune” seems like a perfect fit for Lil Wayne), it is an average project. While I anticipate another Metro beat-laced album or mixtape; with Sean, I’m starting too have doubt.

A$AP ROCKY – Will He Triumph This Year?

A$AP Rocky is building up hype once again for an overdue solo project. While there hasn’t been a confirmation of a release date, producers, or guest stars, fans are anticipating it more and more everyday. Since the follow up of his collective group project, alongside the rest of the Mob, he’s been building extravagant attention. Whether it’s through teasing new music, uploading cryptic tweets or the most recent AWGE ‘DVD’; Pretty Flacko leaves a lot of room for speculation on the sophomore projects’ sonicsound.

Until a couple weeks ago.

In the early evening hours, over in the UK, Rocky dropped the ‘TESTING’ teased record, featuring an un-credited verse from the diverse act that is DRAM.

While fans, as well as myself, were itching for a release from the Harlem MC, I was honestly expecting more. The beat itself sounds too quiet, and while Rocky’s flow sounds like a hybrid of his most contemporary work and his ‘LIVE.LOVE.A$AP’ days, his lyrics don’t grab my attention at all.

However, with the latest AWGE installment, more exciting bars and instrumentals should be on the way and hopefully take up more room on the upcoming LP.

Of course, I want too see Rocky and Ferg come together again for something as hype as “Shabba” or ‘jiggy’ like “Kissin Pink”. It’s the artists that he’s only starting to collaborate with or teased through social media. The thought of Flacko and Ski Mask the Slump God together on a track produced by Florida native, Ronny J, or over a nostalgic 2000 Timbaland beat would be a treat for all fans. What’s also interesting, thanks too Rocky’s team, is how involved he is with the upcoming acts, already famous and OG’s. He has connections and looks so comfortable too be an already incredibly successful musical act alongside some whose careers haven’t been justified by unreleased music but by cultural importance. Evidently from his ‘freestyle’ with T-Pain on the keys and link up with Jay Electronica.

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Most notably, A$AP’s range on his albums is clear. He listens to a variety of music, and incorporates either the sound that inspired him or will rap particular bars that make reference too that inspiration. This is most evident through his exploratory collaborations; such as the Electronic/Rave effort “Wild For the Night” with Skrillex, “I Come Apart” alongside Florence Welch or his odd adaption of British Indie music with Joe Fox. It’s also interesting too see, what seems like, a very productive friendship with major-Trap and Hip-Hop producer, Metro Boomin’. While they’ve never collaborated before, on a joint or solo project, if Metro is behind the boards, there will be, hopefully, a guaranteed headbanger on a hard-drive somewhere.

What would also be great too see is if A$AP could, bring back together Juicy J & DJ Paul for a reminiscent Three 6 Mafia track; that not only sees the latter two producing, but also vocally complimenting one another once again! The chemistry between Rocky and Chicago’s Chief Keef provided on previous records and the freestyles included on the ‘AWGE DVD’ evidently points that the two have been in the studio cooking up FIRE.

Although his projects don’t normally guest feature members of the Mob, Ferg is the only member too ever appear on a commercial A$AP Rocky project. However, it would be great too hear contributions from A$AP Ty on the Boards again, Da$h and A$AP Ant on his upcoming project. As already mentioned, A$AP’s ties in the industry have expanded, so, while it would, obviously, be great too hear more solo material, depending on the guest features, they could compliment the project and the attempted sound Rocky goes for on his new project. Collaborations with ScHoolBoy Q, Smokepurpp, Tyler, The Creator, Retch, Project Pat and Travis Barker would all be worthy alongside A$AP and would also stay true too his consistent adapting to the music climate at the moment.

Even though the album has been confirmed too be “finished”, the real anticipation starts now. How will the first official single sound, what will the final prducts tracklist look like, but most importantly; is A$AP back?

2 Chainz – The Play Don’t Care Who Makes It Review

2 Chainz has kept quiet since the release of his latest LP, ‘PGLTM’. While the album showed his most diverse musical output since ‘BOATS2’ and the short ‘Freebase’ EP. Late Thursday night, 2 Chainz dropped out of nowhere, another short and brief EP.

‘The Play Don’t Care Who Makes It’ is four tracks tracks long and while Tity holds down three of the songs solo, there’s also the T-Minus and J.Valle trippy Trap tune “PROUD”. West Coast, 4(HUNNIT) representative YG and fellow ATLien, Offset provide standout verses for themselves alongside a rapper so heavily involved in modern Hip-Hop longer than most can remember.

While the opening track, “OK BITCH”, includes a great beat, and gives us a great insight into 2 Chainz’ humbleness, it doesn’t feel like he was trying too catch listeners with his bars, on this particular song. However, “LAND OF THE FREAKS”, produced by Cassius Jay and Nonstop, is the complete opposite of the latter song, yet, his delivery and stubbornness is just ‘that’ more captivating.

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Although the last track has such a luxurious title, “LAMBORGHINI TRUCK (ATLANTA SHIT)”, it’s unfortunate, that, although the beat fits him perfectly, as all these type of beats land across all his albums, the content is ear-grabbing. However, his delivery could’ve been more aggressive, but because of the drawing flow, i find it difficult too get into the song.

In my opinion, it seems he’s doing similar to what A$AP Rocky has been doing by uploading ‘TESTING’ songs for reception on his upcoming albums’ sound through Soundcloud. Alike, it will work. While I’m always excited for a new 2 Chainz LP, I’m always ready too take a cup half full or empty with every project he releases; as there are immediate standouts for every fan, you always discover a new song you could like on a potential re-listen.

Maxo Kream – Punken Review

Its been a long time coming for the Houston-bred MC, Maxo Kream. After shyly appearing on the scene, releasing overlooked and under-appreciated projects, he has finally come through for his fans, and critics, too give one of the more impressive, full-length Hip-Hop projects of this year already.

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Staying true to his roots throughout the project, Maxo begins the album with intense “Work”. Over screwed drums, a bouncy flow and depicting a scheming lifestyle, “starting cripping”, “trapping factions” and “smelling of marijuana odour”, the beat quickly switches too a smooth come-up story of his childhood to a popping Rapstar.

While the album does hold previously released singles, “Grannies”, “Bussdown” and “5200”, Maxo holds down the rest of the album primarily solo. While features appear from 03 Greedo & D Flowers, on their respective records, the true featured highlight is (I can’t believe I’m writing this) Trippie Redd.

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His vocal contributions on the chorus of the raunchy and trap-influenced “Capeesh” as well as his verse capture an energy only comparable to that of Lil Wayne and adds a great touch to the album.

The album also dives deeper than previous projects into Maxo’s personal life. With tracks such as “Hobbies”, “Pop Another”, and “Love Drugs”, the Houston MC goes into detail of the struggle of battling drug issues, depression and living inside a corrupted society.While all these songs are highlights of the album as well, specifically the sample-flip of Tame Impala on “Pop Another”. What really stands out is the intense interlude, “Beyonce”, where Maxo compares his “Draco singing like Drake or Quavo” and the follow-up to his ‘Maxo187’ cut, “Astrodome”, with “Astrodome Pt2”.

Over a hypnotic guitar-led instrumental, courtesy of Atlanta’s Da Honorable C-Note, Maxo big ups his “spanish chicka’s”, and professes his admiration for “sluts and thots”.

Too conclude, Maxo’s most recent giving too fans is a dark, chaotic and heavy on storytelling. Maxo lets his guard down completely and comes out unscathed. If anything, he’s proved himself once again too be a consistent MC and fresh creative mind in Hip-Hop.

Flatbush ZOMBiES; ViH Expectations

Since the release of their official studio-debut album, ‘3001: A Laced Odyssey’, the Flabush ZOMBiES have kept themselves quiet, and through their loyal fanbase, still maintaining a fierce buzz for their previous project, solo ventures and past loose singles.

In their spare time of recording their upcoming anticipated follow up to their brilliant debut, Meechy Darko, Erick Arc Elliott & ZOMBiE Juice have made collaborative ventures with Snoop Dogg on a ‘G-Mix’ of the groups cult classic, “Palm Trees”, appeared on the A$AP Mob’s ‘Cozy Tapes 2’, yet, still remain relatively quiet in announcing their own news.

Somehow though, due to a keen following, die-hard fans and a great understanding of ‘quality-over-quantity’, the Psychedelic Renegades have hopefully brewed up a project that, not only follows the consistent political topics, personal struggles and wild tunes of ZOMBiE-fueled drug references and partying. PSYCHEDELICRENEGADS

Firstly; I obviously expect the majority of production too be handled by their always reliable in-group producer, Erick ‘The Architect’. But also see maybe three or four tracks that have other, still notable, or upcoming production credits.

Harry Fraud would be a earful contribution to the project. While he’s only collaborated with them on “LiveFromHell”: seeing both Elliott and Fraud chopping it up with nostalgic Jazz samples and dreamy melodies or their ability too craft demonic-trance like instrumentals, the two together would make a great addition to the album. ARCHITECTAs well as Fraud, seeing additional drums or sampling from either Mobb Deep’s Havoc or RZA would not only be a wicked co-sign from two legendary acts in New York Hip-Hop, but also accompanies all three of their styles, helped molded by OG’s in the Boom-Bap scene.

While I’ve gone on a bit about producers, it seems like this album, is potentially, heavily inspired by Slasher films, heavy Rock and more importantly, showcasing the ZOMBiE’s are a group risking all too break into all forms of Hip-Hop or any genre. I expect only as much Child’s Play and Nightmare on Elm Street references that Meech provides on Instagram.

Although ‘3001’ proved (for the *third* time) that the group can hold down an album by themselves, either as a solo and a fully MC equipped effort, there’s only the need of 2 or three guest features. However, seeing the Flatbush natives getting a track with Danny Brown isn’t too far-fetched, plus, it’s always great too see some of Hip-Hop’s most creative and  experimental minds coming together again and again.

Too be honest, I’m ready for a Vacation in Hell. Firstly, its been too long since the release of their last album, and being a massive fan and pleasure of seeing them live, I’m too excited.

Until April.

Juicy J – SHUTDAFUKUP Review

It is safe too say, that Juicy J, one of the founding members of Three 6 Mafia and a pioneer of Trap music, really is one of Hip-Hop’s hardest working machines. In 2017 he released his “Gasface” EP, as well as the first $uicideboys$ collaborative tape, ‘Highly Intoxicated‘ and his long sought-after ‘Rubba Band Business‘ album. It was a great year for Juicy, for himself, old and new fans as well. Yet, his latest installment, teased towards the end of 2017 and first few weeks of the new year, is now out. The Juice Man and New Orleans production and rapping duo, $uicideboy$ connect once again for ‘ShutDaFukUp’, which, quote the man himself, would see him “taking it back to (19)95” in style of production and sonic sound.

Did Juicy J, the $uicideboy$ succeed with this task? Honestly, yes. While Juicy’s lyrics aren’t too afar from his adapters, the obvious inspiration he had on them and the culture, is fiercely difficult to argue about.

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Opening up the project with “Hot Line” which samples the cult classic “Walk Up To Your House” and sees Juicy recounting his comeuppance, bringing the Mafia back, immediately captures the era that Three 6 Mafia made it onto the scene. The track’s filled with abrasive drums and a haunting synth that allows Juicy to capture the sound that has made him the OG he is today.

The album doesn’t only include $uicideboy$ production alike to their earlier joint project with the Memphis MC. Chase Davis, Ben Billions, Murda Beatz, Crazy Mike and Juicy himself handle the rest of production. While the latest names don’t necessarily give the nostalgia that the $uicideboy$ brought on ‘Highly Intoxicated’, but have also achieved the same goal with this mixtape. Not only does it feel like a revival for Juicy, but also bringing up the next important artists who will be creating their own sound, that is as thrilling as T6M’s come-up. Another track, early on in the mixtape, “You Know”,  interpolates an aggressive drum pattern, freaky but suitable horn sample and two great verses from J. Talking about getting “private jets to islands”, “spending a million on his kids”  and calling out the ones who are just here “on a scene just to make a scene”.

While the guest features are scarce, Wiz Khalifa, Lil Pump and the late Lil Peep make appearances, however, with the tone and atmosphere of the album, I was expecting more from the Three 6 Mafia posse.

Although Project Pat makes a gnarly guest feature on “Play Wit My Gun”, anticipated, but never fruitful features from DJ Paul, Lil Wyte or Gangsta Boo on any of the tracks or a remix of “Kamasutra” would’ve been a great add to the albums aesthetic. Yet, all features  on their respected songs, compliment Juicy well, and still keep it to the aesthetic of the original Mafia sound. Tracks such as “Them Drugs”, “We Can’t Smoke No Mo”, “Malia OG” and “Advance” all show off that Juicy is still a motivated recording artists as well as producer and that slowing down his creativity isn’t going to happen any time soon.

To conclude, the project boasts some of Juicy’s darkest and most ratchet anthems in his career. Although it’s not ‘fire emojis’ from front to back, both Juicy and the $uicideboy$, attempted successfully in re-crafting the ‘Mystic Stylez’ Three 6 Mafia sound that inevitably became one of the biggest influences in modern Hip-Hop.

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