Gucci Mane, Migos, Rich the Kid, Tom Aspaul, Sicko Mobb & King Louie: Free Mixtape Roundup

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Gucci Mane visits BET's '106 & Park' at BET Studios on June 1, 2010 in New York City. 

This week's free releases include yet another project from Gucci Mane, silky R&B from Tom Aspaul, a collaboration between Migos and Rich The Kid, and two new tapes from Chicago acts, King Louie and Sicko Mobb.

King Louie - Drilluminati3 (God Of Drill)
While some of the rappers who helped popularize Chicago's drill scene in 2012 have moved on to different things -- namely Chief Keef -- King Louie's sound remains, for the most part, tough and brutal. This matches the relentlessly violent world he describes: on "Take Em To Church," Louie hoarsely intones, "since I'm living in hell, I know I'm going to heaven." The tape opens with a series of plodding beats full of degraded, aggressive bass. But Louie has latent pop instincts -- listen back to "My Hoes They Do Drugs," from Drilluminati 1, or "Michael Jackson Money," from last year's Tony, which has a beat not far from Fetty Wap's smash, "Trap Queen." When Louie chooses to exercise this gift, the resulting tracks can't help but stand out next to the bleakness that's around them. "Live It Up" is about the hedonistic impulses partially engendered by the cruel environment in Louie's songs, but it never seems cheesy. On this tape, full of harsh stories, how could it? "My World," which finds hiim rapping and singing over soft acoustic guitar, is even more startling. You keep waiting for the beat, but it never comes.

Gucci Mane - King Gucci
Gucci has been in prison this year, but he's released a stunning stream of music despite, or maybe because of, his circumstances. One day in March, he put out three albums simultaneously. Who knows when this stuff was recorded, where, or how. Gucci's prolific streak has always been part of his appeal, and it's partially thanks to him that Future, Young Thug, and other Atlanta artists put out so much music so quickly. There's plenty of misses of course, but the idea is that no moment of inspiration goes uncaptured. Take Gucci's "Money Do," from Breakfast, which came out that same fateful March day as Lunch and Dinner. It's got a minimal, unfussy beat, some enjoyable boasting, and a great hook that absolves Gucci of all sins: "I don't have an ego, but my money do." The rapper gets plenty of firepower to help him out with King Gucci, including rising star Fetty Wap and proven hit producers like Metro Boomin', FKI, and Zaytoven, Still songs mainly fall into two predictable classes, embodied by "Still Selling Dope" and "Get Her Drunk." This tape doesn't have a high point comparable to "Money Do." But that's OK, because Gucci will probably release 50 more songs in the next six months.

Migos and Rich The Kid - Still On Lock
Due to legal troubles, Migos had to delay their tour and the release of their debut album, YRN Tha Album, which will now come out on July 31. But in the meantime, they released Still On Lock, a collaboration with fellow Atlanta rapper Rich The Kid. Fetty Wap makes an appearance on this project too, which just proves how hot he is right now. Zaytoven turns in a pleasantly strange beat on "She Ain't Goin," looping an instrument that sounds half-way between a pan-flute and a bagpipe. But "Slam Dunk" is the tape's most emphatic, gleeful track -- "we crossed over then we slam dunk!" The celebratory tune offers Migos an opportunity to show off a wide range of syncopated grunts and yell "slam dunk" and "alley-oop" over and over; it's senseless and completely enjoyable.

Tom Aspaul - Revelation
There's not much information about Aspaul on the internet, besides that he's English, he's done some pop songwriting, and he's interesting in R&B. He uploaded Revelation, a continuous 25 minute recording labelled "mixtape," to Youtube this week. This is a bold move for a relatively unknown artist in an age when cherry-picking listening habits are deeply ingrained. (Even Prince ended up releasing a version of Lovesexy that was broken up into individual tracks after he originally mixed it as one extra-long song.) But Aspaul's gamble pays off; though this is a scrappy, low-budget-sounding effort, that doesn't hide the fact that several of these tracks are potential hits. Try "Good Together," a bubbly number with a crisp beat and a sugary hook. "New Moon" cleverly interpolates Carly Simon -- but not just any Carly Simon, the song "Why," from 1982, which was produced in epic fashion by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic fame. Aspaul saves the best for last: the title track is a gleaming blend of his sweet falsetto and club-ready synths, one remix away from the pop charts.

Sicko Mobb - Mulah
Sicko Mobb's stock is rising quickly, so they wisely capitalized by releasing Mulah less than two months after Super Saiyan Vol. 2. They're known for relentless energy and glowing, sunshine-in-a-bottle hooks, but they play with some different sounds here. Opener "This Is How We Rock" has the brassy bombast of recent Kanye West tracks, and "Make Shit Happen" relies on a guitar, which seems strangely conventional for this group. Don't be alarmed though -- the duo places "Robin Jeans," the wonderfully-named "Mulah Medusa," and "Jaguar" back to back to back, slathering them with auto-tune and rapid rhymes and funny lines ("Al Pacino, going bananas!"). Sicko Mobb is playing Moma PS1 this summer in the same lineup as English Grime artist Skepta, which is sure to be one of the season's most vigorous double-bills, but they also would have fit well on an earlier weekend, playing along with feverish music of PC Music producer A.G. Cook.

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