As one of a handful of up-and-coming MCs from the Windy City, King Louie's star has continued to rise over the past couple years, earning him a deal with Epic records and a ringing endorsement from fellow Chi-Town rhymer Kanye West, who featured Louie on "Send It Up" from his critically acclaimed album Yeezus.
On Jeep Music, Louie sticks to what made him one of 2012's hottest new artists: hard-hitting deliveries mixed with boisterous one-liners and a flow that's as icy as wintertime Chi.
Clocking in at just under 40 minutes, this latest effort showcases Louie's undeniable abilities, while also illustrating the need for new rappers to steer clear of trends that have already been played out.
Like his label mate Future, King L blurs the line between hip hop and R&B, and — also like Future — sometimes it works and other times it's monotonous. On "So Many Hoes," for example, Louie's chemistry with Lehday's codeine-laced banger makes for a solid hit, while on the tape's title track, it makes the song drag like waiting for the punchline in a Dane Cook joke.
One of the indisputable high notes is "Pose 2," which features BHD. Louie turns up his rapping, "Sometimes they call me Bad Lou, my daughter, she got bass, too/My homies, they got plans, too so they call us the bad crew/This b---- is free to ran through, scheming on the scan through."
Other hits include the melodic opening track "Time," which sounds like something Kanye or Just Blaze would have done circa 2001; "Flexin," which is one of Jeep Music's standout beats courtesy of Mr. Incredible; and "Summer Dress," which is the perfect ode to one of summer's classic women's fashions. "She lookin' damn good with her summer dress on/Her mama bad too that's where she get that a-- from. All these girls on me like I'm made outta money/All my glory s--- everyday is a Sunday," raps Louie.
Even on the mixtape's lower notes like "Hit a Lick," which had Louie getting out-shined by Lil Herb, and "Nice Slow," which was like the audio equivalent of Nyquil, the young standout's potential is evident. The beats were good, but sometimes didn't match as well as they could have with the rhymes, ultimately making it sound at times like an unfinished product.
As one of Chicago's best new rappers, Louie has the skills and the swag to carry the torch for his city, but Jeep Music makes it clear that he still needs to learn which songs high-beams his abilities and which ones just burn gas.
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(Photo: Lawless INC)