Mustard on the beat hoe! As we delve to the end of August, I can honestly say that mainstream urban radio (POPular radio too) was run by Drake, Iggy Azalea, and DJ Mustard this summer. Kid Ink’s “Show Me” and “Main Chick”, Trey Songz’ “Na Na”, Tinashe’s “2 On”, Jeremih’s “Don’t Tell Em”, and T.I.’s “No Medicore” are most likely to be played in the timespan of an hour if you turn the radio on. With his Pushaz Ink partner, YG, having arguably one of the best Hip-Hop albums of the year with My Krazy Life, they have been recognized as the Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre combo of the new West Coast generation. Even with hits and recognition, it has not been all good press for the 24 year old producer from L.A.
There have also been the negative comments accusing him of all his productions sounding the same or underwhelming. This very writer even mentioned him when the origin and modern use of the word, “Ratchet” came into question. All of the press has led to Mustard releasing the follow-up to his last project, Ketchup. Let’s see if the man of the hour can provide listeners with more than just a song for the moment and deliver a quality project.
Note: All tracks were produced by DJ Mustard
1. Low Low
Featuring Nipsey Hussle, TeeCee, & RJ
Keeping with the Dr. Dre comparisons, Dijon begins his album in the vein of Dre’s 2001 with the sounds of a low rider starting up. With the stereotypes of everyone in LA wearing khaki suits, chucks, and bandanas, I enjoy “Low Low” as it celebrates the Low Rider culture of the West Side. Neighborhood Nip is the best person to begin a song/album soaked with West Coast influences. After his verse, I recommend going on to the next song.
2. Ghetto Tales
Featuring Jay 305 & TeeCee
Killer Mike, Notorious B.I.G, and Kendrick Lamar are some of my favorite rappers because they know how to tell vivid stories with their lyrics. With a title like “Ghetto Tales,” I was expecting at least a decent story that takes place in the ghetto. I got everything I have heard before told to me in an unoriginal way. SKIP!
3. Throw Your Hood Up
Featuring Dom Kennedy, Royce, & RJ
Every major area with a high crime rate gets shouted out on the hook: Detroit, New Orleans, New York, The Bay, etc. Typical, but it’s still a cool song. I found references to B.G.’s song, “Uptown Thang” thanks to the mention of t-shirts bearing the pictures of deceased loved ones in the hook delivered by RJ and caught a mention about the Hot Boys’ song, “Tuesdays & Thursdays” in Royce’s verse. Finally! I haven’t heard any new Dom Kennedy all summer. I wish he was the only one on the song, but it was still cool.
4. No Reason
Featuring YG, Jeezy, Nipsey Hussle, & RJ
It’s no reason or point for this song. It’s another club/I’m in/from the hood song. Eh. (*shoulder shrug*)
Featuring 2 Chainz, Jeezy, & Yo Gotti
This song sounds really jaded. Titty 2 Necklaces delivers the hook about designer drugs/clothes and being in the club, but he doesn’t sound all that happy with the spoils of his lifestyle. All of the features hit their mark, but the Snowman, going from Air Forces to Giuseppe shoes, delivers the best verse on this song.
I see that grill on the two door lookin’ barracuda
You know that barrel on the Desert Eagle lookin’ like a tuba
Five or six Rollies, flexin’ like I’m Lex Luger
Chop the rocks with the razor and my hand, lookin’ Freddie Kruger
I’m a fool with the hanger but my fork game viscous
Snowman bitch, keep the X, Merry Christmas
I’m a Burlincieaga wearin’, Clyde Christian ass nigga
You keep my name in your mouth, always bitchin’ ass nigga
Swear the roof on this motherfucker lookin’ like a scarlet
Is that a half a million dollar car? Shit it gotta be
These niggas is your enemies, that’s just my philosophy
And all these swagger jackin’ niggas owe you an apology
Icy white, two bricks on my feet nigga
(Avion) makin’ money while I sleep nigga
Cop the (mid) and cop the (low) just stylin’ on em
My Air Force 1’s you couldn’t walk a mile in ’em
6. Face Down
Featuring Lil’ Wayne, Big Sean, YG, & Lil’ Boosie
Not only does DJ Mustard provide a Dom Kennedy appearance on this album, but he also manages to get Louisiana’s two biggest rappers on a song together. Yes, Big Sean and YG are here too and actually don’t take away anything from the song, but if it was Bad Azz and Weezy’s verses and another verse where they go back and forth, I would like this song more than I already do. This is the song I want to hear in the club the most from this album.
7. Down On Me
Featuring 2 Chainz & Ty Dolla $ign
This is the most DJ Mustard sounding song on the album. After the 3:00 mark, the song turns into “Choppa Style” or classic New Orleans Call & Response. Other than that, you’re not missing much.
8. Can’t Tell Me Shit
Featuring IamSu! & AKAFrank
I can appreciate a good anthem/theme song, but while listening to this I couldn’t help but ask, “Who are y’all to tell me I can tell y’all shit?” SKIP!
9. Tinashe Checks In (Interlude)
The first of two interludes feature a couple arguing about what’s playing on the radio. This is a great moment as the hottest producer of the moment acknowledges his reign over the radio. Known for her ScHolboy Q assisted single, “2 On”, the young lady from LA has the honor of taking 10 Summers into Mustard’s versatility of making songs for R&B singers.
10. 4 Digits
Featuring Eric Bellinger & Fabolous
Inspired by the snooping women in relationships without access to their boyfriends’ phone, “4 Digits” is the next song featured on contemporary R&B radio stations if it was up to me. A hilarious Fabolous feature should help if it is ever pushed to radio.
What’s crackin’ baby, other than my code
Just came off the motherfuckin’ road
Already it’s another episode
I think shawty undercover on the low
You know I be on the phone talkin’ real late to ’em
She be walkin’ real late on me, getting straight to ’em
I be like “okay baby stay calm, it’s just Jake from State Farm”
On the real, what you searching for?
The thought upsets you, seeing that I hurt you more
I’m out the game but you know that I gotta keep it player
Every night I say a prayer, she won’t ever get the four digits
I have seen Eric Bellinger’s name featured on a couple of music sites, but I never clicked play. Now I want to go back and see what I have been missing.
11. Ty Dolla $ign Checks In (Interlude)
The last interlude begins with a Radio DJ asking his listeners to call in and answer if it is okay to have a side piece if you are in a relationship. Who else but the dude that broke out with a song about having two women driving identical cars planning to set him up to speak on this topic or nah? Unlike the previous interlude, I’m glad this one is short.
Featuring Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa, & Teeflii
The closing song on the project is underwhelming to me because it made me feel like the album was going to continue into another direction as we have gone from club songs to slow jams seamlessly.
10 Summers is twelve tracks that feature ten songs for the summer and two interludes. Of the ten songs, I plan on playing four regularly. With only a 40% score that does not mean this is a bad project. It’s only fifty minutes long so it’s not like you have to struggle to get to the last song. I listened to this album twice without hitting the skip button the first day I downloaded it from Google Play, which is an interesting choice to let it be free two weeks before its actual release. Was Jay-Z behind this move? #NewRules? Is DJ Mustard also trying to follow in his Roc Nation boss’ shoes by providing hits for the next ten summers? I think that is just me over thinking the title as he provides jams for the current summer and hope for next year that his sound won’t become stale.