As one of the most buzzed about new artists to come from Gucci Mane's Brick Squad 1017 label, Young Scooter picks up right where he left off on the original Street Lottery with the second installment of the series and more stories that can only be described as the makings of the next Donald Goines novel.
Like Pusha T and Jeezy, for example, Scooter offers listeners vivid imagery of big time capers and the rules of street etiquette. But unlike the aforementioned, Young Scooter foregoes wordplay and punchlines, opting instead to focus on raw verbiage to paint a picture of a warlike daily routine.
From a production standpoint, Street Lottery 2 is chock full of thumping beats to match the intensity that Scooter brings to the table on songs like "Count Jug," "Street Lottery" and the Future-assisted "Nuttin About It," on which he raps, "Call shots like John Gotti, I get s--t poppin'/Every move a n---a make, I know my young n----s watching/20 cars hit your block and you can't do nuttin about it."
He offers words of caution to novices that dream of underworld dominance with songs like "Chances" and "Loyalty," the latter of which sees a paranoid Scooter. "Pac died by this rap s--t, Biggie died by this rap s--t/I'll probably die cooking' a brick/And all I want is money, I don't need a b---h."
Street Lottery 2 hits a high note with "My Boys," on which Scooter takes a pause to show that, despite his requisite hardened demeanor, he's still human and still enjoys kickin' it with his friends, like fellow trap MC Young Thug, who adds, "I'm wit the same n----s since day one/And it's loyalty over royalty, we don't care bout nuthin'."
"Essay," another lyrical standout on the mixtape, digs deeper into the psychology of a hustler. Scooter offers a candid perspective on how the street life is more of a calling than a choice when that's all you know. "I done been through so much s--t/They say I'm wrong for selling dope, my n----s know I ain't/My momma sold dope so why the f--k I can't?/My daddy wasn't' around, I'm focused on the bank," Scooter raps over the synth- and snare-heavy track.
"Over Wit" sees Scooter and Cam'ron taking turns boasting about their status in the streets and the string-heavy "Threw So Much" is a call out to rappers who've been flooding hip hop with inauthenticity.
But while Young Scooter continues to show that same potential that helped the first Street Lottery garner critical attention, at times he struggles to stay with the beat (and for those times when the beat lacks too, even Wiz Khalifa can't save the song). So, by the end of SL2, it still remains to be seen if Scooter can tighten up his flow and step outside his comfort zone to reach that next level of star status. But one thing is for sure, he's figured out the number one rule of the game: you got to keep playin' to win.
(Photo: 1017 Brick Squad Records)