Doing his small part to form a more perfect post-racial America, next-gen Atlanta up-and-comer Young Dro is taking the fight to Cate Blanchett with his new mixtape Black Boy White Boy. The rapper’s revolutionary philosophy of black dudes wearing scarves is set up nicely by the mixtape’s cover: Dro, wearing a green sweater, yellow scarf, and orange cape reads the International Herald Trib while drinking tea. A Stevens-the-butler-from-Remains of the Day-looking dude posts up in the back. Yung LA is there, too, hovering over a teapot bigger than his own head. And on the table sits a lithograph of a woman who, given the participants, could only be Emily Bronte.
In a perfect world we’d be getting into some Gosford Park trap music, right? Well, Black Boy White Boy is more concerned with contemporary sartorial and pharmaceutical issues than the emotional repression of the early 20th Century Brit class system. But after you pick yourself up off the floor following that disappointment, you have a blinding mixtape to listen to.
I’m going to insist on going the long way here and describe Dro’s flow as an obvious descendant of the scene in Stripes where Bill Murray is singing cadence and the General asks him what kind of solider he is, to which Murray responds, “Aaaaaaaaarmy soldier, siiiiiiiir!” Or we can take the short cut and say he sounds like Freeway on some mellow Ecstasy. That probably works better: When Dro isn’t talking about the equal status both AK-47’s and Ralph Lauren Purple Label clothes have in his life, he’s usually popping off about popping pills and taking off “like a Thundercat.”
Building on the chemistry they achieved with their underground favorite, “Ain’t I,” Dro and fellow Grand Hustler LA move though two dozen treble-and-synth post-snap tracks, dabbling in both auto-tune R&B (“Black Boy White Boy”) and diet-trance (“All The Money”). Dro’s rolling flow and comic rhymes are the real banned substances though; sing-songy without being corny, tough and funny, he actually creates a very MDMA-like illusion that his proclivity for ascots and A1 steak sauce is incredibly profound. Roll with the winners.–Chris Ryan
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 20, 2009