Chicago hip hop has gone through a lot of changes in recent years with a crop of new artists who have created a shift in the city's sound, trading melodic, uptempo thought-provokers for the ratchet club bangers like those collected for Supa Savage, the latest from the Chief Keef-backed Lil Reese.
At just a shade over a half-hour long, Reese offers just enough Supa Savage to leave you itching for more. And considering all ten songs maintain that same bass-heavy southern tempo, the brevity prevents the mixtape's redundancy from becoming self-defeating.
DJ Scream sets things off proper on the introduction proclaiming Lil Reese is "the mixtape supa savage" over a Yung Lan-produced heater. Lil Reese then gets beastly on the next song, "Irrelevant," with some help from "I Don't Like" producer Young Chop. The Auto-Tuned chorus balances out the thumping track, while Reese explains why his crew is the only one that matters, rapping, "P---y n----s talkin' s--t, but that s--t's so irrelevant," and adding, "I'm gettin' money and you not, so that mean you irrelevant/2.2.3 we shootin' that s--t knock down a elephant."
The mixtape gets even harder and slower on "Wassup," with a xylophone adding a raindrop effect to smooth over the grimy sound, which serves as the perfect canvas for Lil Durk's growl. Chief Keef, who also shows up later on "We Won't Stop," puts it down on "What It Look Like," giving more here than he did at any point on his own mixtape, Bang Pt. 2, which came out last month.
"We Won't Stop," which was produced by Tarantino, features ominous keys and awkward timing that actually helps Reese, who like Keef, tends to rap just slightly offbeat. The south siders take turns daring anybody to step into their jungle, noting, "Only the strong survive and your n----s is b-----s."
Reese then unites the north and south with "Waddam," a Chi-Town twist on Black Rob's "Whoa," which bangs out thanks to its rapid fire snare and that Down South sound that has killed many a speaker.
The young gunner saved his best for last on "No Lackin' Money Stackin'," which got turnt way up with some help from rap's closest thing to a heavy metal star, Waka Flocka Flame, and D.C. wordsmith Wale. The snare once again kept things moving while Reese set the tone with the hook, "Got all these bands, this money I'm stackin'/B---h I'm out in the field, so it's team 'No Lackin.'"
While Supa Savage may not be the most innovative or versatile mixtape, it does serve a purpose. Hip hop heads that came up on sharp one liners and witty wordplay probably won't find much use for it, but for those who embrace all things raunchy and ratchet, this is definitely a call to get wild.
(Photo: Def Jam Records)