DJ MUSTARD - THE MIXTAPE VOL 1 10 SUMMERS
After the disappointing 10 Summers album of last year I didn't think I'd be going back to DJ Mustard at all. I thought his time was up and it was time to move on but after listening to RJ & Choice's Rich Off Mackin my mind was swayed to believe he still had something to give. You would have thought he'd have distanced himself from the 10 Summers title though, so it's a little odd that he recycles it for this much improved release. I assume Choice who turns up here is the same man as Royce The Choice of the great Midnight Run which was my favourite tune from DJ Mustard's brilliant Ketchup mixtape from 2013. Anyway Choice along with RJ dominate this mixtape appearing on a third of the tunes. Mustard's old mates Teeflii, Ty Dolla $ign and TC4800 pop up on a tune or two each. YG is is conspicuous by his absence. Iamsu! from the HBK Gang is a fabulous new Mustard trump card. Iamsu! should be as big as Kanye and perhaps he will be. He's got the pop smarts with a delivery that's 2010s rap perfection. Broke Boy is soo good, surely it would be a no 1 smash if released as a single. Mustard is upping the R&B dosage and cutting back the banger intake but that's not a bad thing at all. There's nothing worse than a tune wanting to be a banger but not working. RJ & Choice are pretty much killing everything they do in 2015 and somehow Mustard leaves room to let their idiosyncrasies ferment even further. Dijon (Mustard geddit?) surely realises he's struck gold with these two artists and compliments RJ & Choice with his beats rather than upstaging them. Previously it sometimes sounded like Mustard's rappers had been given a completed beat where they had to try to fit their raps to it, no matter how unaccommodating it may have been. Now it feels like Mustard is more flexible, organic and collaborative. I don't know if he's changed his working methods but it sure sounds like it. Last year I thought DJ Mustard had reached some kind of sonic arrested development but here he proves, with a little perseverance, that he is still mutating. Regression is part of this move ie. several tunes go further back than his past retro-activities ie. some songs reference stuff earlier than Dre circa 92/93 or mid 90s Three Six Mafia. Some of this stuff has got 80s R&B, funk and slow jam vibes. I guess he was always tipping his hat to these zones but perhaps not as deliberately or explicitly as he does here. Then you would swear Shooters was an instrumental outtake from Tricky's Maxinquaye. Actually come to think of it a few tracks have a Massive Attack/Trip-Hop feel. I haven't counted but there seems to be less military chanting on Vol. 1. which is probably a good thing as that started to seem a little formulaic and stale. I don't know who Justine Sky is but fuck she gives Cassie and Tinashe a run for their money on Love. This mixtape ain't no Ketchup but it also ain't no bloody 10 Summers either ie. I'm not deleting this off my computer, I'm about to give it another spin. Dj Mustard is transitioning. Let's hope he continues to in a good direction.