Gene The Southern Child – Southern Meridian Mixtape
If you couldn’t put two and two together to come up with five, Gene The Southern Child, who just dropped his Southern Meridian tape, is from the South. Florence, Alabama, to be exact.
It’s not quite like anything else that’s coming out of the South right now. As a West coaster, I tend to imagine Atlanta as the hub of all that’s South, which probably isn’t quite accurate now that I think about it, and digress as I realize that that’s probably equivalent to saying that everything out of Seattle is similar to Macklemore. Clearly, that’s not accurate.
Anyway, the tape is one of those that grabbed me on a first listen. His delivery is refreshingly uncomplicated, and makes me appreciate the simplicity of it all. Inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s novel Blood Meridian, each song is almost like a mini story, and they all work together to create the large piece that’s Southern Meridian. There’s no room, or necessity, for him to be adding unnecessary flourishes to his lyrical story.
Plus, there’s something to be said for an artist working with one producer, or one production team, and that’s “Southern Meridian.” Or, in a broader sense, it’s that they develop this cohesive feel to the project, while honing in on a unique sound to the rapper. Though ‘mixtape’ and ‘album’ are used somewhat interchangeably these days, this definitely has the feel of an album.
Presented by Adult Swim, it can be downloaded for free here. When Adult Swim puts their stamp of approval on something, is that as good as gold? Southern Meridian might be as good as gold.
Zuse & Strap (of Travis Porter) – “Shooters”
“Shooters” is the best of all my worlds, combined. Zuse and his distinct Jamaican-dance-hall-turnt-ATLien delivery are perfect here. He’s equally parts menacing as he is club friendly. Plus, one third of Travis Porter makes an appearance, and anything Travis Porter related is always a good time. Finally, it’s all over a FKi beat that reminds me how they’re one of the most underrated production teams out there (read my short interview with them here while familiarizing yourself with some of their best work). There’s a lot going on, but it all fits together like a puzzle.
Cap 1 – “I Want It”
As “I Want It” goes, Cap 1 would be a dream come true for any salesperson that’s paid on commission. Over an upbeat, cheery Zaytoven beat, Cap 1 couldn’t care less about distinguishing between a want and a need. Although I’m personally not a fan of buying anything and everything on a whim – really, where do you put all that stuff? and at the end of the day, it’s just stuff, as blase as the word itself – I do enjoy this song.
Johnny Cinco – “Crew Love”
Ahh, Drake and Southern rap. So many loose correlations between the two. Johnny Cinco’s version of “Crew Love,” produced by Spiffy, arrives a couple years after the original. Unlike The Weeknd, though, John Popi handles the singing and rapping, finding himself in a middle ground between Drizzy staccato, almost over-enunciated raps and Abel’s dizzying falsetto.
“Crew Love” joins the ranks of “The Blanguage,” Metro Thuggin’s song that was also loosely based off a Drizzy song, for that reason. We’ve witness time and time again how the Southern rappers have influenced Drake, but maybe there’s a new wave out of Atlanta that are as inspired by him, as he was by the South.
While we’re on the subject of “Crew Love,” let me tip my hat to DGB for this one.
Yakki Divioshi – “Come Up”
“Come Up” makes complete and total sense as a follow up to Yakki Divioshi’s uber dope “D.R.A.K.E.” because he’s abiding by the words that he bestowed upon us. Yakki, whose name always makes me want teriyaki for some reason, gets a little emotional on “Come Up,” letting us know about the struggles over his life. As he belts out, “I’ve been on the come up,” you can feel his anguish at what life has dealt him, but also his resolve at getting through it.
Although it seems like Yakki has pulled a Bobby Schmurda and popped up overnight, minus the goofy dance, that’s not quite the case. According to Rico Wade’s interview with Mass Appeal, he’s been putting in work for a while now in Atlanta, and goes way back with Johnny Cinco and Travis Porter. As tempting as it is to blame stupid sh*t on Vine or whatever, sometimes that just isn’t the case even though people will tend to believe anything that Twitter tells them.