Mixtape Review: August Alsina, The Product 2

Def Jam signee successfully packages vocals in street melodies.

(Photo:  Def Jam)

With DJ Drama's co-sign and Def Jam’s support, August Alsina's new tape, The Product 2, is just the right mix to get listeners addicted to the 20-year-old New Orleans native. "If you need crack, come and get the rock," he announces boldly on the intro track, claiming to be the product the game's been missing. "This is the product, hold on to ya muhf---in' daughter," affirms legendary producer Jazzy Pha over an updated version of his trademark funk, produced by The Exclusives.

Throughout the rest of The Product 2, Alsina's voice is established as fresh in a slowly resurgent R&B game. His blend of raw content and sweetly refined melodies is not revolutionary, but he combines the greatest strengths of Miguel, Chris Brown and Frank Ocean with a street edge that few of his peers can imitate.

His star power is hard to deny as he rides thumping 808’s and rousing horns alongside fellow Def Jam-signee Trinidad Jame$ on "I Luv This Shit." On "Work," he proves his hit-making ability as he croons over a club-banging beat featuring swirling synthesizers and laces an impeccably spat guest verse from Roscoe Dash.

While his lyrics are nothing to write home about, Alsina's talent with melody makes him as dangerous as any young chart topper (when paired with the right beat and vision). He hit emotional notes on "Get Ya Money," a ballad encouraging a girl to hustle for hers however she can get it. "I ain’t judging you, baby I salute," he sings in celebration of independent women everywhere. He tugs further at the heart strings while flying with Curren$y on "Let Me Hit That," "Every time we kiss it’s Swisher Sweet," he whispers on the sensitive smoker’s anthem.

Overall, in just 14 tracks the versatile performer shows why Def Jam believes in packaging his potential. If he can continue to balance crafting club bangers and cruising music while developing his lyrical depth, he just might be one of the brightest of the new crop of R&B stars. 

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