Kirko Bangz – Procrastination Kills 4 (PK4)

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Procrastination Kills 4 (PK4) lands as a project slightly better than mediocre. Kirko adequately illustrates his major strengths, songs of pain and others with exceptional hooks, while simultaneously showing that limited concepts and delivery bobbles need a little improvement.

Kirko’s strongest suit derives from painting pictures of pain and narrating tales of transforming tragedy to triumph. There’s something about his struggle that allows him to captivate listeners even when they don’t relate to his struggles. The effect of “Use to Be” is one of the most impactful tracks. The story of Kirko’s aunt filling the role of his mother and best friend, before being murdered by her husband, provides glimpses into his trialing childhood.

“Have a auntie like your mom and she was your best friend/ She helped you get your first car, helped you furnish ya crib/ Get ya girlfriend a job, helped yal through s**t/ Dress your sister up for prom, helped you manage ya chips/ And you turn around and lose her in the same damn year.”

“Vent,” “On My Own” and “Help Me Out” further Kirko’s message and portraits of pain.

Another major strength of PK4 rests in musical versatility. Far too many rappers rely on bass-overloaded beats to fight half their battle of acquiring fans. It’s obvious that Kirko understands the importance of appealing beats because his previous singles – “What Yo Name Iz” and “Drank in my Cup” – garnered most of their attention from their bombastic bass lines and catchy hooks. On this project, Kirko doesn’t allow that same pattern to restrict or define his identity.

PK4’s song order works as a huge asset. Instead of placing the biggest hits within the first seven songs in typical fashion, Kirko groups the songs by type, which allows for smoother transitions. Bombastic hits come first followed by songs catered to sex and strippers. He then proceeds with narratives of struggle, heartache and pain, before ultimately finishing with a selection of smoother tunes that ride.

Houston, Kirko’s birthplace, flies under the radar for the majority of PK4 before its musical influences break through. It’s not until the last three tracks – especially “Lettin Them Know” featuring Paul Wall and “Laid Back” – where slower, riding beats or chopped and screwed hooks materialize.

Yet, Kirko demonstrates weakness. “Nasty N***a” could have been left off PK4 altogether. It doesn’t do much to improve the project, and the presentation of the song comes off a bit weak.

“Stop B*****n” follows suit. The song wasn’t well planned.  Kirko removed intensity from his voice, but the instrumentation of Drake’s interlude of “Good One’s Go” didn’t mesh with Kirko’s intended theme. Kirko has to consider his delivery prior to choosing beats. Sure, it’s supposed to be an emotional song where he airs out complaints, but his brash delivery was harsher than what the instrumentation could support, resulting in a clash.

Limited topics also work against Kirko. Every rapper has a comfort zone of subjects in which they operate, but Kirko’s potential promises better works in the near future.

Overall, Procrastination Kills 4’s semisolid effort serves as a promising platform for 23-year-old Kirko Bangz. His weaknesses are easily addressable. After a little maturation as a rapper and improved subject matter, Kirko’s potential could give birth to a consistent hit maker.

7.0/10

*Review also hosted at http://www.pefferreviews.com/ and http://rapruler.com/

2 Chainz – Based on a T.R.U. Story

Based On a T.R.U. Story album artwork

2 Chainz released his highly anticipated debut solo project, Based on a T.R.U. Story, as a G.O.O.D. Music member. This album succeeds his previous mixtape, T.R.U. Realigion, which garnered huge buzz and propelled 2 Chainz into rap’s spotlight. Since then, he has become a feature animal appearing on many major artists’ singles, mixtapes and albums.

Many wonder how 2 Chainz became relevant in rap. He may not have content that fans require from a lyricist, but the answer is pretty simple. He just doesn’t care! 2 Chainz’ delivery is more comical, bolder and more reckless than any rapper out, as seen on the brief intermission on “Yuck!”. He isn’t afraid to take a chance with his bars. Regardless of whether his punch lines register a direct hit, he delivers each line with confidence, style and vitality. If his energy doesn’t enhance punch lines, his adlibs definitely will. 2 Chainz’ “truuu,” “yeaaaauuhh” and “word” are commonly duplicated in speech amongst hip-hop fans.

The question he poses on the album’s second single, “Birthday Song,” is completely fitting.

“They ask me what I do and who I do it for/ and how it come up with this s**t up in the studio?”

Not only does that question allude to his recent success, but it also provides an example of the style and confidence previously stated. After all, he did rhyme “do it for” with “studio”, which at best could classify as a slant rhyme. 2 Chainz fearlessly stretches words, mispronounces them, and uses his southern dialect to appropriate rhyme scheme, as displayed on “Crack.”

2 Chainz even displayed boldness by stepping out of his bass heavy, southern, comfort zone. The song “I’m Different,” produced by DJ Mustard, takes a trip to the west coast and brings the jerky, groove style that has surged to the forefront of California music. Like the name of his song, “No Lie,” 2 Chainz is different, and very different at that. There isn’t another rapper that could say some of the oulandish things 2 Chainz does and maintain respect as a hit-maker.

“Extremely Blessed” highlights where 2 Chainz difference displays weakness. This smooth song features The Dream and directs attention to beautiful girls with banging bodies that guys would consider extremely blessed. 2 Chainz’ flow needs to be ratcheted down to parallel the song.

He may not have a smooth flow in his repertoire, but he did display a relaxed delivery on the track “Stop Me Now.” 2 Chainz successfully dialed down intensity while maintaining style and matching the sound of this more subtle, ol’ school sounding song.

“In Town,” featuring Mike Posner, fills the role of a sleeper track. As track 11 out of 13, it’s disguised in the back end of the album where average tracks tend to dwell. Once again 2 Chainz effectively allowed the instrumentation and tone emitted by Posner to dictate his energy level. This song has single potential.

Based on T.R.U. Story, definitely highlights all of 2 Chainz strong points. His hooks are catchy, he places adlibs in appropriate places, and he consistently delivered the erratic style that his fans have grown accustomed to. Although 2 Chainz constantly talks about Louis Vuitton/True Religion, big booty girls, and foreign cars, the albums’ sound displays an increased bit of versatility, which will be necessary for 2 Chainz to remain relevant as his solo career progresses.

The album also has well balanced feature selections: Lil Wayne, Drake, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, The Dream, Mike Posner, John Legend and Playaz Circle’s Dollar Boy all make appearances.

Beat productions follow suit with contributions from: Drumma Boy, Mike Will, Bangladesh, Sonny Digital, Streetrunner, and Southside.

*Review also hosted at http://www.pefferreviews.com/ and http://rapruler.com/