This is what you get when you do a Google image search for “unsigned rapper.”
After all the Stack Bundles freestyles and the endless stream of Dipset and D-Block tracks, every New York rap mixtape includes a two-minute freestyle or four from unsigned rappers, and maybe this end-of-the-mixtape spot is the new entry point for East Coast rappers looking for a way into the business. But maybe it’s not; these guys tend to sound just like each other, rapping over nondescript badly-mastered beats and saying the same stuff. I don’t remember the last time I listened to any of these tracks more than once, but I’ve got a stack of new mixtapes on my desk, and I don’t want to write about 50 Cent again until I see his movie, so here’s a roundup.
From Big Mike’s The Big Boy Game VII
Mack Nice: Some guy from Atlantic City with a thick, gargley delivery, something like an older and more frustrated Juelz. He needs work: no punchlines, circular reasoning (“I could never be fake cuz I’m too damn real”), and the Game disease where he keeps dropping the names of more-successful rappers: “I tell you like Sheek, kiss ya ass goodbye / Drop bombs on ya town, nigga, don’t ask why.” Why shouldn’t I ask why?
Deuce Five: This guy does the thing where he starts out all awkward and mumbly but slowly gains confidence over the course of his verse until he’s all snarly and angry. He likes to talk about the ways in which his bullets will affect your particular body parts, which is badass: “You can survive with it lodged in ya chest / But you might die later if that bullet move to the left.” I like this guy, even with his weirdly ungainly punchlines (“lyrically, I’m the Russian in the fourth Rocky before he fought Rocky”).
From DJ Capone’s G-Unit Vs. D-Block & Dipset
Weezy Weez: Capone introduces this as “vintage shit,” but I think that’s because he’s using the instrumental of Jay-Z’s “Renegade,” not because Weezy Weez is old or dead or anything. Weezy is not Lil Wayne, and he’s rapping over the phone for some reason. He has a hypeman finish his lines for him, even over the phone, which is weird. He’s got a fairly nice, low-key delivery, but his punchlines are not quite there: “I fuck with hot niggas that make lava melt.” Isn’t lava already melted? After he finishes his verse, he talks for almost a full minute, confusingly telling us that he “didn’t even write that shit.”
Facts: This guy isn’t on the tracklisting, so I’m not sure if I have his name right. (It could be Fax.) Capone tells us that he’s from Harlem and he’s “down with Rodney Jerkins and my nigga Michael Jackson” (not making this up). He sound a whole lot like Hell Rell, which means he’s the best guy I’ve mentioned yet, sadly enough. He’s pretty good, though. And he has healthy eating habits: “I’m not bulimic, either; I’ll eat ya food.” That’s a relief! I was worried he was bulimic.
From DJ E. Nyce’s On My Grind: Volume Ten
Rain: Is this guy unsigned? He might not be. He shouldn’t be. Unsigned guys usually don’t rap with his combination of ferocity and technical skill; his freestyle is the first track I’d actually bother to listen to again. His delivery is fast but not rushed, full of internal rhymes and easy transitions: “Grab the cannon and blam it, dammit / This ain’t Candid Camera / No jokes when I catch a tantrum.” I’m not going to say this is the next dude based on a two-minute freestyle, but Rain is someone who might actually go somewhere. Now watch him turn out to be some legendary mixtape veteran who everyone but me already knows about.
From Sickamore’s I Can Make You Famous Three
Casino Chip: He’s from Arizona, which is maybe not a good sign. But he’s got a nicely greasy squeak and a basic ability to stay on beat. This is a song, not a freestyle; it has a chorus and everything. He yells out West Coast a lot, but does Arizona count as West Coast? Also: “Who want it with desert heat? / Don’t slip on them desert streets / You get left right under a cactus, you bastards.” Deserts have streets? And how would you slip on these streets? There is no water. Casino Chip is a stupid name.
Amount Boyz: Amount Boyz is also a stupid name. But! They rap over a sample of Led Zep’s “Whole Lotta Love,” which is awesome. The website has pictures of seven dudes, but only two rap here, and they both sound just like Young Chris, which is fine. “Adolescent, performed for the president twice / Sixteen, bank account looking real nice.” Is performing for the presidents something you brag about? One guys sings and sounds really good. I like this song.
K Doggz. (I think it’s K Doggz. The CD’s tracklisting is a little bit misleading. It could be Boo Blades, but I think that’s just one guy.) This song has a really, really bad chanted hook, but these dudes mostly have really nice Midwest quick-tongue flows, like the guy from Do or Die who sounds the most like Twista. (Belo? Is that it?) They just want to fuck, apparently. “Take it in the butt for me / Act like a little slut for me.” This is making me uncomfortable.
From Whoo Kid’s Hollywood Homicide
Dan Akroyd. How does an unsigned rapper get on a mixtape track with 50 Cent? This guy is going to take over the world.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 9, 2005