It may be the windy city, but Chicago is in the midst of a hip hop heat wave. With a new generation of artists like Chief Keef, Rockie Fresh and King Louie already adding to the tidal wave of legacy that is Lupe Fiasco, Common, and Kanye West, rookie sensation Spenzo looks to be next in line.
After gaining nationwide notoriety by dropping new songs and videos on an almost weekly basis, the 17-year-old finally dropped his highly anticipated mixtape In Spenzo We Trust, and made it clear that, like Yeezus, he's impervious to pressure.
On In Spenzo We Trust the exuberant young rhymer shows veteran confidence, coming out hard on the introspective first song "Englewood," which was produced by DJ L. It takes listeners through the zealous MC's journey from humble beginnings to imminent stardom. "Just a kid from Engelwood finally up out the hood/ Used to eat canned goods / now on them cans I'm good." rhymes Spenzo.
On songs like "At The Moment," "Anytime" and the Cuzin Bang-produced, "Swiper," the young gun showcases a style that is at times reminiscent of Future, using repetitive choruses to create the base for each rhyme. The tactic works on some songs while on others it signifies a lack of experience and willingness to be trendy in a genre that defies form.
But what he lacks in experience the charismatic MC makes up for it in energy and delivery, particularly on tracks like "Clearly Now," on which he brings the listener into his world from the jump with lines like, "1995 I became a bastard / my pappy, who knows I don't give a f***? Who knows I don't give a f***? I turned 15 and I met the one who had me but I was just too old to give a f***. Too old to give a f***!" Giving the listener an honest account of his adolescense while also displaying his ability to effortlessly ride any tempo as he oscillates back and forth between the slow flow and a more rapid fire.
Spenzo also displays a talent for creating a total collection. Although the tape comes in at just under 40 minutes, he uses melodic tracks such as "Wife Er" to balance out bangers like "Different Now."
Overall, despite moments of immaturity and an occasional lack of focus, Spenzo has established himself as one of Chicago's brightest young stars. He does what most won't and only had one guest feature, fellow Chicagoan, Rockie Fresh and he offered something that the streets and the commercial audience can both appreciate.
Couple that versatility and charisma with a hustler's ambition and uncanny work ethic, and you can bet his city and every other will undoubtedly be trusting in Spenzo for years to come.
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(Photo: Atlantic Records)