To be successful in music’s current digital age, you have to be a veritable Jack of all trades. DJ Drama has mastered his ultimate hustle in recent years with the store distribution of two glorified mixtapes bearing the Gangsta Grillz moniker and he’s back to christen the charm with Third Power. For better and worse, the syncopated compilation follows suit with the past installments, consisting of a left handful of street-certified opium and a right handful of standard filler.
As a medium of every artist with an ounce of street cred, Drama’s role as an executive producer is made easy by simpling fielding submissions from those hungriest for a placement. But there seemed to be a breakdown somewhere in the Aphilliates’ offices because the screening of said submissions doesn’t seem like it consisted of any type of quality control. The horrid “Take My City” suffers from a gangster pop identity crisis as B.o.B and Crooked I harmonize over a flutey melody with offsetting thunderous 808s while elsewhere, Akon howls about going legit for the 15,000th time as Ya Boy glues together predictable verses on “Locked Down.”
And seeing that most of the tracks were created in pieces due to scheduling conflicts, the premises behind some of the collabos are pretty huff i.e. being from Philly (Meek Mill, Freeway and Young Chris on “Lay Low”) or being…lightskinned??? (Chris Brown and J. Cole’s “Undercover.”)
Third Power saves face only when it manages to stick to the script and give the people what they came for. Both “Oh My” and its accompanying remix are custom fit for hood clubs and house parties alike thanks to Drumma Boy’s hypnotic keyboard symphony and current valedictorians such as Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean and Trey Songz holding down the one-liners. Rookie hitmaker, Future, duplicates the feeling on the Crime Mob-ish, “Ain’t No Way Around It” while CTE chairmen Young Jeezy and Freddie Gibbs make it “Rough” on fans only expecting poppy singles. Gucci Mane comes in the clutch with a sleeper banger in “Me and Money” only for the momentum to abruptly come to an end with Red Café and Yo Gotti’s formulaic “Self Made.”
DJ Drama’s Third Power doesn’t cement some sort of historic crest on a trilogy of classics but it doesn’t result in an ashtray substitute, either. The denouement suggests that this trinomial is best enjoyed with an iTunes gift card and cherry-picking the best tracks.
Label: E1/Aphilliates | Producers: Drumma Boy, Akon, Cardiak, Lil Lody, Nard & B, V12 The Hitman, Mike Will, P-Nasty, A-Traxx, Young Yonny, Dawty Music, Giorgio Tuinfort