Machine Gun Kelly – EST 4 Life
Machine Gun Kelly (MGK) struggles to gain momentum at the outset of his most recent mixtape, EST 4 Life, but delivers great quality on the back half. EST 4 Life begins with a slew of tracks that may qualify as slightly above average: “Police,” “Get Laced,” “Blaze Up” and “EST 4 Life” ring in as tracks marginally better than mediocre. Contrarily, the tape closes strongly with songs like “Halo,” “Highline Ballroom Soundcheck” and “Letter to My Fans.”
“Get Laced” and “Blaze Up,” two tracks with similar themes mainly possess content surrounding marijuana. Of course, as far as rap is concerned, this comes as no surprise. There’s no avoiding tracks that boastfully discuss exceptional weed quality or the amount of blunts rappers burns through. Those tracks definitely cater to smokers. DUB-O’s track “Hy for Days” also fits this category.
MGK is often heard saying “lace up” or “lace the f**k up” throughout his tracks, especially the smoker’s songs. Lace Up has been confirmed as the expected title of MGK’s debut studio album.
“Hold On (Shut up)” is the song most likely to MGK’s next single. This is the only song on the mixtape that landed a major feature, Young Jeezy, and has all the makings of a radio single: an ambiguous, commercial, catchy hook, a bass pounding beat and displays the signature flow that MGK places on tracks. MGK sounds like an uzi spitting bullets or chopping helicopter rotors when he quickens his pace to his signature tempo.
The tail end of the mixtape shows much more cohesion than the beginning. MGK presents better topics and increased emotionally infused music. “Her Song” and “Letter to My Fans” are perfect examples.
“Highline Ballroom Soundcheck” distanced itself from the rest of the tracks on EST 4 Life. Clearly it’s the best record. Freestyled over Notorious B.I.G’s “Dead Wrong,” MGK manages to build an engaging flow that smoothly navigates between topic while maintain a consistent rhyme. Typically, an excerpt of quotable lines would be provided, but the entire freestyle is worth hearing.
MGK also murders his “Rucker Park Freestyle.” It’s a live recording that takes place at the historic Rucker Park, but MGK admits that he wrote the lyrics while en route. He manages to excite and engage the crowd using the refrained word of “muhf**kah” at the end of every line as he delivers a couple witty punch lines while sitting on the basketball rim.
Also, Honorable shout out to DUB-O, EST19XX label mate of MGK. He contributes several catchy songs to the mixtape, most notably “Paid” and the previously mentioned “Hy for Days.”
His tracks rival the quality of some of MGK’s songs, and that may not favor well for MGK. It’s unclear whether that highlights MGK’s failure to progress, or speaks volumes to the potential that DUB-O has to produce a hit. Nevertheless it boded well for MGK that this fellow Ohio state representer worked with him instead of against him.
All in all, MGK put forth a solid tape. He possibly could have considered a different track order to help capture listener’s ear earlier on, but the closing of the tape makes strides to make amends for that. EST 4 Life had a couple of dull moments, but should provide enough buzz to propel MGK’s debut studio album, Lace Up, when it hits the shelf on October 9th.