Friday, February 5, 2016

Review #1,494: Kevin Gates "Islah"

Reviewed on 2.05.2016 (Review #1,494)

Well, it’s about that time again, despite how continuously busy I am with tryin’ to do what I wanna do!! As soon as I went to New York to get away from so much stress from work last Friday, I got contacted by multiple people via Twitter (Dave Drake, & Catfish) to review Kevin Gates Islah, released on Bread Winners Association (BWA) & Atlantic Records. I decided to review it today ‘cause today’s Kevin’s 30th birthday. However, today’s a very emotional day for me, especially music-related, and, especially in tha Louisiana rap scene! For those that don’t know, today marks two years since my former favorite artist, DJ B-Real, had blocked me from social media online, due to me tryna help him out too much, and him not believin’ in tha help that much. At tha time, B-Real had a private Instagram and wasn’t approving my request, after I had been there for him for years. It’s somethin’ that still affects me to this day, despite it makin’ me $40,000 richer in less than two years from my job. My passion for Louisiana had died down so much since, as I stopped doin’ my annual Louisiana awards, released my final mixtape compilation tha following month, basically no longer talk to anyone on tha phone, do absolutely no business with anyone, almost nobody releases “Louisiana-soundin’” music (jiggin’, Louisiana lifestyle, growin’-up-in-tha-hood-type shit) & more. Life’s a whole different ball game when you have a job, now! I work six dayz a week; I tried to keep tha Louisiana shit goin’, but no one wanted me to… So, at random times, I’ll still do one or two things a month… Still, I can’t stand this day and it was already crazy at work, so nothin’s lookin’ up for me today. Not to mention, it’s not like Kevin Gates gon respond to this review, and, OF COURSE, I’m not even gettin’ paid for this, smh!! Just luv doin’ random shit for free! It’s not like Gates gon respond, either! But, I still thought it was nice to know that Dave Drake tweeted me last week, sayin’, “hey @FrankCalhoune whats it like to see an artist you wrote about when he was just starting out top the itunes albums charts?” Next Saturday, February 13, will mark eight years since I first heard Gates, back on Nu$$ie’s 2006 Bad Azz CD. I had been bloggin’ about him since then, and am mainly known for reviewin’ his 2008 All Or Nuthin’ CD, back on September 15, 2008. So, I’m proud to have that history in me! However, that review got posted on Gates’ MySpace:
I can bet you anything he ain’t postin’ this anywhere like that review, so that’s what makes this less-special, ya know?! So, with that bein’ said, lemme regain my mood for tha next hour and review this… Start Time: 5:59 PM | End Time: 7:09 PM

Disclaimer: I rate each song from 1.0 – 5.0; each rating iz my own opinion! I only please myself wit my ratings! I don’t care how lyrical you are, as long as it’s jammin’ enough for me to like it! I look for beats, then vocals, and then lyrics. To determine my favorites, I will differ tha 4.0 ratings. If a song gets at least a 4.0 rating from me, I love it already. If at least a 4.6 rating, I pretty much really love it, as it’s considered mindblowin’ when I hear it! Any song can earn up to a maximum of a 5.0 rating. Anything I type before “ >>> ” iz what I’m sayin’ before I listen to tha song; anything after I type “ >>> ” iz what I think of tha song while I’m listening to it. If you use tha word “swag” frequently, have auto-tune in your vocals, or talk about nothin’ but money and hoes (which I consider ‘typical’ topics), I’m not buyin’ it!

© 2016 CD Review (Review #1,494) reviewed on 2.05.2016 by FrankieThaLuckyDog.

01. “Not The Only One”
Looks like a pop-rap title? I’ono if I’m anticipated… Go Grizzly & Dreamlife Beats both on tha production… >>> More on tha southern trap-rap style with tha beat start, here, though I think it’s plain like every other beat that sounds like this… Still, sounds better than usual with you rappin’ on tha 1st verse, here. Lots of rhymes goin’ on, here… Not sure what I should exactly say about it; let’s just say that it passes tha test… Hearin’ tha hook and it sounds okay with Gates’ usual rap-sung hooks… Hearin’ tha 2nd verse and it’s just like tha 1st verse fa me… Next part, tha 3rd verse, or should I say, bridge? Sounds cheesy with how you deliver it with tha rap-sung shit… Now, back to tha full-on rappin’, and it’s you on your successful journey… Overall, just a decent start fa me fa this CD… Gon have to make these jointz much catchier if you’re gonna think I’m gonna rate this in tha 4.0’s!! My Rating: 3.7

02. “Really Really”
Wow, here comes my manager’s favorite word…, multiplied by two!! Goose, Cook Classics & Troth on tha beat… >>> Again, not feelin’ tha beginning with these weird-soundin’ vocals from some random dude… This a lil’ catchier than tha previous song… I think tha hook sounds pretty catchy for a single… Only thing I don’t like on tha hook iz tha “money” reference. It’s like, Gates, like tha title, “Really? Really?” Does every song have to have a “money” reference? Like, “really?” With that bein’ said, hearin’ tha 1st verse and it has that rapid delivery on it; not bad, though a lotta random rumblin’ fa me… Hearin’ tha hook again and it’s soundin’ pretty tight, this time! Keepin’ it goin’ with tha 2nd verse, here, soundin’ just like tha 1st verse; nothin’ different… My Rating: 4.2

03. “2 Phones”
Mad Max on tha track… Just added to Music Choice Hip-Hop And R&B about a week ago… Beat ain’t that bad, but I honestly think this a cheesy one, here! Example: My God, Gates, no need to imitate a “phone” sound with tha “ring!” I’ono how they thought this was a single over tha previous song, for example! As far as tha 1st verse, it’s still on that random shit. Like, iz this tha result of when you don’t write rhymes down and just have “money” on your mind all day, smh? Once again, just like tha other songs on here, and just like tha 1st verse, tha 2nd verse keeps that random deliverin’ of rhymes goin’… Of course, because it’s released, it’s a random playlist add for me, but I gotta watch its spins! My Current Rating: 3.4

04. “Pride”
Carmelo on tha beat… Lookin’ at tha info on Wikipedia and I have to say, why are there multiple writers for tha tracks? Ain’t there really no writers, since, most-likely, you don’t write your lyrics down? >>> Again, a corny, southern, mainstream-soundin’ intro, here… Hearin’ tha hook and your vocals sound catchier on this one. However, tha lyrics are really random to me, again; can’t really take this serious… Hearin’ you on tha 1st verse and it sounds pretty good… Back in tha day, tha lyrics and my 20-year-old brain would be like, “OMG, can’t wait to meet this dude from tha streets! Dreads! Can’t wait till we hang or talk on tha phone!” Now, today, with this 2016 music and my 27-year-old brain, I’m like, “They’ll never respond to me; they’ll never pay attention to this. I’ll never meet them since they have $320874242308472308 and are ‘too mainstream!’,” smfh!! With that bein’ said, tha 2nd verse’s whateva; nothin’ special at all! Can’t fuck with all this sellout shit, includin’ tha everybody-type lyrics of “FaceTime” and shit like that! Like, if it’s one thing I don’t fuck with that much with music, it’s when err-body be rappin’ about shit a regular individual can get. To me, I’m a celebrity, so I don’t dress tha same as err-body! I wear shit that you can’t find in most places! G-shit, thugged-out shit, ya know? That’s my style! But, all these dudes that be wearin’ regular shirts and jeans, like, really? And, you’re ‘pose to be a rapper/celebrity to me? Naw, just anotha regular person!! My Rating: 3.2

05. “La Familia”
Mxllzy on tha track… >>> Finally, a much-more interesting beat intro! You sound catchy on tha hook, here, as far as your vocals and tha G-shit you spittin’, here! Finally, no random ramblin’!! I guess you sound betta slowin’ it down with tha 1st verse? I’ono if you qualify to be usin’ Baton Rouge slang, now-a-dayz! Like, “Goin’ dumb?” Save that fa tha true Baton Rouge music, not tha sellin’-out tip! Like, Gates, you remember Nu$$ie? No shout outs or R.I.P.s to him in tha music, anymore? Why? “_______…” (fill in tha blank!!) Diggin’ tha 2nd verse, too, as you keepin’ this trill shit goin’… I like tha random shit about that girl “Lauren,” lol; luv that name! My Rating: 4.2

06. “Time For That”
Ain’t you lucky as fuck that I have “time for” this review? It’s a rare moment, now-a-dayz!! Swiff D on tha beat… >>> Slow on tha intro, here…; feelin’ mixed? Either I can take this as a good beat to get high to, or iz it a slow, pop-rap track? Hearin’ tha hook and ugh, smh @ me mentionin’ “gettin’ high” on tha intro! Pop-rap with how you deliverin’ tha hook; not diggin’ those vocals! Even with me tokin’ on a hit of my bowl, I thought I’d feel a lil’ better with this review, at times, but tha music ain’t takin’ me to higher places! Hearin’ tha 1st verse and it’s soundin’ like that fast ramblin’, again…; not too crazy wit it… Hearin’ tha 2nd verse and it sounds like you got lost fa a second? Sounds like you describin’ a conversation? A better-soundin’ verse but not by much… Ugh, just hearin’ these plain-soundin’ beats and I’m like, “Where’s tha real Louisiana producers? Beat Flippa? (My ex-patna) B-Real? King Sav? Guss?” Like, why all these plain producers that sound tha same? Neva heard of ‘em, either… My Rating: 3.0

07. “Thought I Heard (Bread Winners’ Anthem)”
Ooh, DJ Chose on tha beat! Nice look fa havin’ Mr. “Everywhere I Go” on tha track!! >>> This iz much betta!!! Catchy beat start and luv tha hook!! Glad you know how ta make a catchy hook, this time!! Hearin’ tha 1st verse and it’s pretty good; definitely betta than some of tha previous songs! Not too fast with tha delivery and not too random with tha lyrics, either! SMH @ tha end of tha 1st verse with tha “gettin’ money” reference! Yuck, right?! Great hook, once again! Luv how you repeat certain parts of tha song/hook, at times! Tha 2nd verse’s soundin’ nice ta hear, too; semi-G, semi-vibin’, semi-random, but more than semi-good, lol! Honestly, this 2nd verse’s gettin’ random with tha ramblin’ you’re doin’… Really? “C-Loc, Camp Life…;” you remember him? I thought you’re $1,000,000 past tha underground of Louisiana? Surprised you made a reference! Best song on here but due to tha 2nd verse, it didn’t pass tha others by much… My Rating: 4.3

08. “Hard For”
We got Earl & E on this beat; let’s see… >>> Oh, fuck no!! No fuckin’ acoustic shit in tha beginning of tha beat, here!! My interest just dropped; could care less about what gon come outta this? Tha 1st verse iz whateva and ugh, “You tha only one that my dick’ll get hard for…,” on tha hook? How random, but its singin’ and unexpected content gets a plus from me… A random girl in tha background arguin’ with you before tha 2nd verse? Yeah, I can agree with arguin’ with people—wait, people who argue with me! It’s their fault and initiative, never mine!! Tha 2nd verse’s whateva, but this beat just makes me want this to end already! Why this 4:07?! Way too long!! Here’s tha 3rd verse… C’mon, don’t be rappin’ about tha streets on this verse! Rap about a farm, flurries & a redneck’s magic potion brew or somethin’ with this beat!! My Rating: 2.3

½time: Wasn’t even in tha mood to review this to begin with, and it’s off to a sour start… Most of tha songs that have southern trap-like beats sound plain and mainstream like every beat out there; a lot of tha lyrics rapped on tha verses are random and fast, which don’t spark my interest that much. Then, there’s some risk-taking that doesn’t really fit tha quality standards for me. Like, you go from a Beat Flippa beat in ’08 to an acoustic-produced track? Like, when DJ Ya Boy Earl posted about how you took advantage of him and all that, shouldn’t you be givin’ him tha most credit? It’s exactly how I feel about B-Real and all that, as well as countless others! But yeah, you’re gonna have to try way harder to impress me, this time! I want street shit and club shit, not this pop shit! A 3.5-rated CD, so far; not good!!

09. “Ask For Me”
Smeez track. >>> Maybe that hit that I took should’ve put me to sleep for tha night? I swear, what tha fuck’s this soft-ass shit?!? Beat’s so mainstream and soft, as well as how you sound all sorry and shit on tha hook! GTFOH!! “Elevated my sound; don’t hate on me now!” Really? I have no words; you already know that elevating a “sound” always makes me miss tha past!!! “Money hangin’ in my jeans…;” of course! It’s like, even this soft-ass song had to have tha most-overrated topic?! Lyrics sound a lil’ betta on tha 2nd verse, but tha credibility I have for this song ain’t happenin’ at all!! My Rating: 1.7

10. “One Thing”
Now, I know what tha multiple writer thing iz on Wikipedia: producers, too. David D.A. Doman on tha beat… >>> I hate how you mention “weed” and shit, but this mainstream shit don’t wanna be somethin’ I’d wanna hear while high! Save that for tha quality EDM that be comin’ out, all my life!! Hearin’ tha hook and it ain’t too bad over this okay beat… Hearin’ tha 1st verse and it’s a lil’ more than 1D, here, as you describe how you go inside this “chick” and all that… Keepin’ it goin’ with tha 2nd verse, here, strictly “suckin’” and “thuggin’;” weird mix? “I’m sicker than you; I have more bitches than you…” Still, as a 27-year-old, I hate when people have to be all cocky! It’s like, when can we all help each other out? Like, Gates, when you comin’ to my area? When will we shoot a video? How come we ain’t neva do business, yet? What you waitin’ for? What value do I have to you and Louisiana? My Rating: 2.7

11. “The Truth”
Here comes this, produced by Rvssian… I previously reviewed it a lil’ over a month ago, after it had been on Music Choice Rap; here’s what went down:

”…Fuck these females! That whole thing that “happened in Florida” was like, WTF? She shouldn’t’ve made tha initiative!! Definitely a song that goes hard, overall; great job expressin’ these emotions, Gates!”

Then again, WTF @ tha edited shit when tha “breasts” part came up?! My Current Rating: 4.7

12. “Kno One”
IKENNA FuNkEn & The Featherstones production, here… Again, here’s what I had to say, previously:

“…This anotha crossover one that’s on Hip-Hop And R&B vs. Rap (Music Choice). Kinda soft, but kinda good, at tha same time.”

So yeah, it has a catch to it, even though it’s so poppy… My Current Rating: 4.0

13. “Told Me”
Anotha track by Mxllzy, here; let’s see… >>> Kinda feelin’ tha beat intro, here… Hearin’ you on tha 1st verse and it sounds like you’re tryin’ a lil’ more with tha paranoid-soundin’ delivery; nice 1st verse… As far as tha hook, it sounds good ta hear with tha different kinds of voices you got… Tha 2nd verse sounds pretty nice, here, too; better than tha random ramblin’ from before… My Rating: 3.6

14. “Ain’t Too Hard”
Not really lookin’ forward to anotha Earl & E track… Like, really? WHERE’S THA LOUISIANA PRODUCERS?!? >>> Sounds like tha world ending or somethin’ with this beat start… Sounds in tha background are nice, but can’t deal with tha typical claps and southern trap-like sounds… Hearin’ tha 1st verse and I’m not really feelin’ tha “FaceTime” shit again… Beat’s way better than their acoustic shit from their previous-produced track… Still, this beat has a special place for how I feel about this song, right now… Hearin’ tha 2nd verse and it ain’t too bad; I like how you talk about what you listenin’ to, “now.” Like, it went from “Boyz II Men” to “The Weeknd.” Either way, a decent track, overall, with a high rating from me! My Rating: 3.8

15. “I Love It”
Produced by The MeKanics… >>> Beginning sounds like it gon be cheesy… Beat completely went under or somethin’ before tha hook ended… Hearin’ tha 1st verse and tha beat’s typical southern-trap, of course; no comment… Rhymes ain’t really special for me, either; let’s keep it goin’… Now, we’re at “tha club” on tha 2nd verse, here? Honestly, no way would you have a quality club banga now! I don’t hear no “Head 2 My Toes” in any of these tracks, these dayz… You seem too street, but mainly stay in that one lane of tha “attempted streetz.” Meanwhile, it’s tha same kinda mainstream-soundin’ beats, not beats from tha undaground of where you’re from! Damn, even a 3rd verse, too? Why so many verses on each track? Fast rappin’; blah, blah, blah… My Rating: 2.5

16. “Jam” feat. Trey Songz, Ty Dolla $ign & Jamie Foxx
Smeez track; 1 of 2 bonus tracks… Honestly, this lineup just makes me wanna SKIP IT!!! Makes me throw up when you’re “too busy” to get a hold of me or somethin’, smh!! >>> I’ono if I can be calm when reviewin’ this R&B shit when I thought I was listenin’ to an underground rapper from Baton Rouge, LA! Beat and hook’s great for an R&B song, like, mainly a Trey Songz song or somethin’, but definitely nothin’ poppin’ fa me!! Even Trey, too! He was cool a decade ago, in ’06, when I thought his music was overlooked! After that, it’s like, really?! Didn’t think you had two verses on this with all these people, here… You’re soundin’ like a bulldog with your rapid fire rhymes vs. this slow vibe… Thought I’d hear more of tha other features but they’re in tha background… My Rating: 2.1

17. “Excuse Me”
Smeez again? R&B again? Bonus again? >>> Beat’s on that slow, southern trap-type shit, and it’s an okay hook… Again, nothin’ really special happenin’, here… Hearin’ tha 1st verse and it’s back to that random shit again…; next! Tha 2nd verse sounds slightly better with how you’re describin’ shit that’s goin’ on, here; you and your “conversation!” Even rappin’ ‘bout “racks” on tha hook, smh! Really? Got anotha question fa you, Gates! How come I ain’t eva make a penny off you? Like, should I just die today? Should I just quit tha music business? Like, I just luv how much I’ve fallen off and that no one hits me up, anymore! I fuckin’ HATE today!!! My Rating: 2.9

Overall: Well, I’ve finally reached tha end of this review… I have to say, tha 2nd ½ really didn’t get any better; it actually got worse! Too much risk-taking goin’ on that never fit your style or nothin’! Some artists are cool with taking risks with different music and shit; you’re not one of them!! If you want to impress me again, you gotta come through with those club bangaz and that Louisiana-soundin’ street music! You gotta definitely quit that bullshit “money” rap that err-body be puttin’ out, now-a-dayz! That’s anotha reason why I’m not so passionate about doin’ shit fa Louisiana people, anymore—well, can’t even come close with working six dayz a week, anyway! With that bein’ said, I expect this review to just go in tha garbage, random people bitch and jump down my throat about it, and for me to be like, “Well, I wasted another fuckin’ hour again, for Louisiana……………, for what?!?”


17.       “Ask For Me” 1.7
16.       “Jam” feat. Trey Songz, Ty Dolla $ign & Jamie Foxx 2.1
15.       “Hard For” 2.3
14.       “I Love It” 2.5
13.       “One Thing” 2.7
12.       “Excuse Me” 2.9
11.        “Time For That” 3.0
10.       “Pride” 3.2
09.       “2 Phones” 3.4
08.       “Told Me” 3.6
07.       “Not The Only One” 3.7
06.       “Ain’t Too Hard” 3.8
05.       “Kno One” 4.0
04.       “Really Really” 4.2
03.   “La Familia” 4.2
02.   “Thought I Heard (Bread Winners’ Anthem)” 4.3
01.   “The Truth” 4.7

Average CD Rating Review:

Total Score:                      56.3
Total Songs:                      / 17
Average CD Rating:       3.3

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