Title: The Kilt
Crew: HBK Gang
From: Richmond, California (S.F. Bay Area)
Released: May 7, 2012
Forward by Ron Worthy
As mentioned in the recently published review of this mixtape by Victoria Shantrell Asbury, we have decided to publish two different reviews and let the clicks from soulheads worldwide decide who to agree with. Personally, I am leaning towards this review based on the strength of Function and Slow Down, which we feel are standout tracks worthy of a serious listen. We clearly didn’t feel the same way as Victoria on this one, who even admitted “a little sexy ratchet aint never hurt nobody.” We really love the different opinions and would also love to hear from you if you listen and feel differently.
Track by Track Review by Alvin Addo
The Bay Area is making waves again in the mainstream hip-hop culture. Don’t call it a comeback though, word to LL. The ashes of the hyphy movement have been thrown into the ocean, and with records like Drake’s immensely popular single, “The Motto” and Tyga’s Rack City; hip-hop’s eyes are on the Bay once more. For Richmond, CA native, iamsu!, this sets the stage for him to catapult to stardom, already garnering a fan base with his solid verse on fellow H.B.K Gang rapper LoveRance’s hit single “Up!”. Taking the ball into his own court, Su drops his new solo mixtape “Kilt” to show us all what he can offer on his own.
The intro begins, with an old soul sample with vocals saying, “You ever want something, that you know you shouldn’t have?” Seemingly setting a great tone for the project
The beat is carried by airy spacey synths provided by Chief of Su’s production group, The Invasion that are reminiscent of Kanye West’s Chain Heavy. Rhymes here are solid, but the hook seems somewhat average, but it’s decent record to ride to.
This self produced track and flow by Su gives me vibes of Tyga’s Faded…but that’s not a bad thing at all. This record knocks, and is sure to get the clubs going.
Another self produced Su record that provides a very chill Cali G-Funk summer feel. The smooth hook here is something I could’ve heard the late Nate Dogg on (or a hologram…whatever works). Verses here are great too as he raps about his dedication to the game.
Wake Up + 2 Milli
Wake Up is a solid track, but nothing really stands out here to me. No big flaws, but seems just average. 2 Milli, however has a great feel to it. The beat here is dope, and Su’s flow compliments the beat quite well which contributes to this H-Town down south slow mood. 2 Milli should’ve been separate from Wake Up, because now I’d have to listen to Wake Up just to get to 2 Milli, which might be too much for me to do.
Grade: B (Wake Up: C, 2 Milli: A-)
Clothes Shows & Afros
The Trackademicks and Su connect to channel Wiz Khalifa pretty well here. The beat sounds like something I could’ve heard on Kush & OJ. That being said, Su’s voice is much less abrasive than Wiz and that works out in his favor here. This track has a dope bounce, the sample is pretty mesmerizing, and Su doesn’t disappoint either.
This record didn’t do much to stand out to me. Seemed like a cookie cutter dope boy/in the trap song. It’s not a particularly BAD record at all, but I just feel like I’ve heard an uncountable amount of different variations of this record before.
This track is pretty nice here, as the topic of choice is how unique these rappers are and how they aren’t anything like these other rappers out here. The rest of Su’s HBK Gang makes an appearance for the 1st time on the mixtape here, and they don’t disappoint for the most part. There were a couple spots in the 2nd verse that had a few delivery missteps, but this record is solid.
Get It In
Similar flow to his verse on the huge hit “Function”. This record is sure to be a hit on the radio. It’s got a big and catchy hook, and the Bay will absolutely love it. Great mainstream rap production as well. Props to The Starting Six for the beat
This is a pretty chill and smooth interlude. Its starts out with highly distorted singing from Su and then progresses into Su tapping in to his more R&B side. Its evident that he’s not a crooner like Trey Songz or Tank, but this record is very dope.
Get Your Money
This sounds like the skrippa-anthem of the project, and it serves it’s purpose pretty well. Nothing lyric-wise stands out here, and though Jay Ant had the weaker verse to me, he did his thing on the production side of the record, so it balances out quite nicely. The sample here is pretty ethereal and is definitely entrancing, and is complimented by some full, buzzing synths with reverb.
Su takes a flow comparable to A$AP Rocky at the beginning of his verse, then later comes into his own style, in which he shouts out San Francisco for the Bay Area listeners. The last minute of the record features a filtered beat and autotune that takes a route reminiscent of Drake’s work.
As Far As It Goes.
Beat knocks, good verse by Su, Hollywood Keefy had a decent-to-solid verse, and the hook is average, but emotionally resonant to the listener.
Click Finna Blow
From the intro, I already liked it. Catchy, but somehow inspirational hook, that anyone who quotes “They lovin’ the crew” will immediately latch on too. The airy synth pads are perfect for the feel here. The verses chronicle a bit of backstory and future hopes for the artists, and are pretty substantial here…Probably one of my favorites so far.
Self-produced beat continues the airy feel from the last track, and the lyrics + hook here serve as a continuation of the last track. No complaints here. The minimalistic beat allows you to pay attention to Su’s story, which is a plus for this record.
The beat here combines a southern flavor with the repeating vocal sample reminiscent of Kanye’s work on Drake’s “Show Me A Good Time” from Thank Me Later. Hook here is pretty average here, but it gets the job done. The verses here showcase Su’s skills with flow pretty well, but I can’t see myself coming back to this record later.
Clyde Carson – Slow Down (Remix) (Feat . Problem & Iamsu!)
Most likely, you’ve already heard this song if you live in the Bay. This record is a hit and definitely gets people hype. Though car references are pretty overdone in rap, it somehow is fresh and new here. All the verses deliver as well, which makes this record a keeper.
E-40 (Feat. YG, Iamsu!, and Problem) – Function
This is probably the biggest record of Su’s career up to this point, and serves as a great closer to the project. This is one of the records that are putting all eyes back on the Bay, and Su delivers the standout verse here, upstaging veteran E-40. The hook is catchy and like most catchy rap songs do, have added a new word into the hip-hop culture. “Function” is now permeated into African American vernacular, replacing “party”. I’m not mad at it at all.
Best Tracks: Mainey, Over, 2 Milli, Get It In, Fly High, Click Finna Blow, Made It, Slow Down (Remix), Function
Overall Grade: B Download It.
At the end of the day, this is a pretty good offering from Iamsu. His own beats, along with the beats from other producers are more or less on point, and his lyrics are always present. He touches on a wide range of topics proving that he’s versatile and not going to be stuck doing one type of record. From a sound engineering standpoint, Su’s vocals could be mixed a little better and could be louder so the tape would be a little easier to listen to. All the tracks were pretty short, most coming up short of or barely over 3 minutes, which may end up causing the listener to want more of some of the standout tracks. There’s room for improvement, but there always is with making music. This mixtape is definitely worth checking out.
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