Troy Ave, ‘BSB Vol. 5′ [MIXTAPE REVIEW]
For the better part of the past decade, much has been said about New York's underwhelming crop of up-and-coming rappers. Aside from 50 Cent's decade-plus rise to prominence and Nicki Minaj's queenly reign in rap, NYC hasn't produced a dominant mainstream rap figure in ages.
Brooklyn rhymer and BSB Records leader Troy Ave is the latest spitter out of the Big Apple that media outlets such as XXL and MTV have placed their bets on as the one to watch. Looking to build upon his solid 2013 project 'New York City: The Album,' Troy Ave rounds up his fellow BSB cronies Young Lito, King Sevin and Avon Blocksdale for his latest mixtape effort, 'BSB Vol. 5.'
The L.A. Leakers-hosted project starts with the kick-off single 'Good Time,' which is produced by Yankee. The song instantly grabs you with its infectious, house party-influenced beat and Troy Ave's witty quotables.
"Only thing missing is the cheese, know I got that / Buy and sell blocks, Monopoly, no top hat," he raps.
The BK representer gives his fellow BSB artists some airtime as well. Rappers Young Lito and King Sevin spit bars over Childish Gambino's '3005' beat, while Troy Ave addresses social media hecklers.
"I heard some n----s called me Troy Average / Well, let me tell you bout the s--- average / You n----s ain't coming out never, never, never, never! / You're colder than December driving Jetta's, Jetta's, Jetta's, Jetta's!" he raps.
Troy Ave calls up some heavy hitters in Diddy, Ma$e, and T.I. for the remix to his latest single, 'Your Style,' with winning results. Tip steals the show with his verse, while Diddy and Ma$e give the track a little uptown swagger.
Troy Ave and Young Lito also hijack Bobby Shmurda's 'Hot Nigga' and go for broke with Mr. Powder paying homage to the BK sensation, spitting, "Still watching, ain't quote Jigga / Should buy a GS 300, wait, switch the figures / Shouts to GS9, BK n----s / I love my city to shine, you see the way I glitter."
On 'Shining All My Life,' Troy Ave takes shots at Buckshot following his comments in an interview with AllHipHop.com. Other standouts include reworkings of current radio bangers, such as 'Lifestyle,' 'Lonely' and 'Cuffin Season.' Fellow Brooklyn rapper Maino makes an appearance on 'Something Epic' while 'Cheekz' may be the project's best track, with its updated version of the beat for Ghostface Killah's classic, 'Mighty Healthy.'
In comparison to his earlier mixtapes, Troy Ave is leaps and bounds ahead of where he was musically on 'BSB Vol. 5.' Getting his weight up in the lyrical department and infusing some much-needed personality into his sometimes cliche dope boy tales, Harry Powder's ability has finally begun to catch up to his hype and is indeed one of New York's top prospects. Another pleasant surprise is the increased presence of Brownsville rep Young Lito, who has emerged as BSB's next-in-line and a potential breakout star.
Highlights aside, 'BSB Vol. 5' isn't without slight missteps. When the BSB boys attempt to tackle Drake's 'The Motion,' the outcome is clunky to say the least. And while having standout moments of their own on Vol. 5, at times, Avon Blocksdale and King Sevin are still a bit raw and are not ready for prime time quite yet.
Overall, 'BSB Vol. 5' may not stack up against landmark mixtapes from previous New York cliques, such as G-Unit and Dipset, but it's definitely worthy of a listen and intriguing enough for fans to look out for what these from Brooklyn rhymer have in store next.