Jeezy, Fabolous, Kevin Gates & Young Scooter: Free Music Round-up

Ryan Young
Jeezy photographed by Ryan Young on August 20, 2014 at S Prime Steakhouse in Long Island City, New York.  Grooming by Booz The Barber at BOOZ WORLD Premium Grooming Services.

This week's free releases include new projects from veterans Jeezy and Fabolous, a release from Kevin Gates, and Young Scooter's second mixtape of 2015.

Jeezy - Gansta Party
Jeezy has been releasing music for more than a decade, which is an impressive accomplishment all by itself. A lot of rappers have come and gone during that period, but year after year, Jeezy keeps putting out solid projects defined by his gravelly croak. Interestingly, Gansta Party is completely different from Jeezy's last album, Seen It All: The Autobiography, which involved almost exclusively big names like Jay Z and Rick Ross. The rapper connects with a lot of young talent, those from Atlanta (Rich Homie Quan and producers Sonny Digital and London On Da Track) and beyond (Kevin Gates, YG, Shy Glizzy). With their textured, raspy voices, Gates and Jeezy make a particularly compelling pair on "She Knows," in which they try to persuade some women to dump the men they're with. Most of their reasoning is sexually frank, but Gates injects a touch of sweetness too: "Hold your hand out in public, when we walking in the mall/ Out to eat we go wherever, they respect that I'm a dog." The tape ends on "Wit Me," which shows that Jeezy doesn't need assistance from up-and-comers. The track approximates bouncy G-funk, and the MC takes the opportunity to display the wisdom he's accrued from years of experience ("N----s talking that rich shit, I'm tryna be wealthy/ Be around the spinach so that's why I'm eating healthy").

Jeezy Talks 'Seen It All' Album, Trap Music & Career Longevity

Fabolous - Friday Night Freestyles
Like Jeezy, Fabolous has been around for a long time, and he's also still capable of compelling work -- see "Ball Drop," released at the very end of 2014, or "Cuffin' Season," from 2013's Soul Tape 3. But while Atlanta has become one of hip-hop's most important cities during the course of Jeezy's career, Fab's hometown of New York has less influence over rap than it did when he first made a name for himself in the early '00s. Friday Night Freestyles is a loving tribute to a time when NYC was still the center of the hip-hop universe. True to its title, this tape collects a series of freestyles the rapper released weekly on Fridays this year. Fab picks classic beats from New York rappers, including Mobb Deep's "Shook Ones," Wu-Tang Clan's "Ain't Nuthin Ta Fuck Wit," and Nas's "The World Is Yours." This is peak '90s nostalgia, and it suits Fab just fine.

Fabolous: 'Money Does Not Become a Shield for You'

Kevin Gates - Murder for Hire
It's been a strange year for those who follow Kevin Gates. In January, he announced he was having sex with his cousin. Later in the same month, there was a shooting at his show in Kentucky. Then in February, he declared that he kicked a woman out of his house when she refused to engage in sexual acts with his dog. At the same time, his August Alsina collaboration (and first official hit) "I Don't Get Tired" was climbing the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Murder for Hire isn't laced with many hits though. The mixtape is a short, brutal tape, full of violent rhymes and tense beats. "Khaza" is the song that's gotten the most attention; it's a strange stream-of-consciousness track that's all over the place. At one moment, it's shockingly bleak, as Gates imagines his daughter's murder: "Comin' home to my apartment, finding my daughter dead/ Then we put his kid in the oven, so now his daughter dead." On the same tune, the rapper also taunts Jay Z because Beyoncé follows him on Instagram. But if you're hoping he'll address any of the things that have happened in his life recently, you'll be disappointed.

Kevin Gates Declares He's Having Sex With His Cousin, Won't Stop

Young Scooter - Juggathon
Atlanta rapper Young Scooter teamed up with producer Zaytoven for this project. It's already his second mixtape of the year, and there's still more than half of 2015 left. In a town full of rappers with distinct styles, Scooter doesn't always stand out: he doesn't boast a strange vocal tone or an unusual delivery, and he tends to rap in an easy, unhurried way -- confident, but not always exciting. Scooter and Future are frequent collaborators, and Future appears on two tracks, including "Play With Them Keys."  "Play With Them Keys" is a song about the drugs that also gets mileage from the fact that the rappers seem to be talking directly to Zaytoven's flowery keyboard sample. On "Irrelevant," Scooter pulls off a convincing warble, adding distortion and grain to his voice. The beat manages to float and hammer at the same time. Scooter plays the curmudgeon here, complaining "all you rappers sound alike!" and shooting down every possible objection like a trial lawyer: "irrelevant!"


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