This mixtape was released on July 17th this year. A lot of you may be familiar with the name King Carter. He’s a member of the popular experimental lo-fi Hip Hop group, [sLUms]., who’ve gained popularity mostly through the work of their most popular member, MIKE, as well as cosigns from Earl Sweatshirt. I’ve been trying to get into more of their work. It’s certainly clear why MIKE is the most popular because he’s easily the best rapper in the group. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say that. I probably haven’t heard enough to make a strong statement like that. So far most of what I’ve heard doesn’t come close to MIKE’s material though. King Carter is one of the artists in the group who is yet to drop a project that I actually enjoy. I don’t think any of his projects are bad. He’s only dropped two other ones as far as I’m aware, one of which came out in May of this year. It was an okay EP. There were a couple songs on it that I liked, and even one that I loved. I think his debut album, Prisoner of Mind, is much better though. I still wouldn’t call it a good album personally, but it’s worth listening to, especially if you’re generally into [sLUms]. I actually have no idea who this Rago Foot person is. I’m assuming they’re just a producer who handled most of the beats on this project, but I may be wrong. I don’t know yet because I haven’t actually listened to the project. This is a pre-listen preamble. Most of my preambles are written before listening to the project in question. Anyway, I’m actually not expecting this to be very good. I haven’t been much of a fan of Carter’s previous work, and it seems like even his fans have been disappointed in this project. I hope I feel the opposite way, but I won’t be surprised if I end up thinking it’s wack.
I didn’t end up thinking it was bad, but this is easily the worst project King Carter has ever released. It’s very mediocre to me. There are actually only two tracks on the entire project that I like, which is obviously a bad thing. However, most of the songs really aren’t that bad. They’re just really goddamn uninteresting. The best thing about this mixtape is the production from Rago Foot. I think most of the beats are pretty dope. My issue is mainly with King Carter’s rapping. It’s not good. I think I’ll just talk about this entire project in the proper order of the tracklist since I only like two songs. It opens up with Triple Double, which I actually think is pretty good. First of all, I think the beat is genuinely really fucking cool. The rapping from Carter is admittedly a little bland—the lyrics are pretty goddamn generic.
Ain’t the nigga you want problems with
I ain’t tryna politic
All I do is body shit
Moving like John Gotti did
However, his flow is really fucking nice. I think he sounds really good. The mixing on his vocals sounds like shit, which is unfortunately an issue that permeates the entire project. I didn’t mind it too much on this track though. The song doesn’t really sound like something I’d expect to hear from a [sLUms]. artist. It sounds like there’s a much stronger Trap influence than I would’ve predicted. I fuck with the song though. It’s pretty good. The following track, 10 Toes, is actually produced by Cleto Marez, who did a really good job. I like the beat a lot. Unfortunately Carter’s rapping sounds bizarrely amateurish to me; the writing is shockingly generic—even more so than that of the previous track.
Niggas don’t want beef like a vegan
This is the kinda line that would impress me if I was a 10 year old and I’d only ever heard 3 rap verses in my life. The production is pretty much the only aspect of the song that I like. Carter sounds like a random ass struggle rapper that Cleto Marez picked up off a corner in New York. It’s not a terrible track, but I’m never gonna listen to it ever again. I think it’s okay though. The third song, Run It Up, actually features MIKE, who has a decent verse, but I’d be lying if I said it really moved me at all.
I was indifferent towards his performance, mainly because it’s no different from any other verse I’ve ever heard from him. It’s not a bad verse, but it’s not very attention grabbing to me. What little interest I had in the song completely dissipated by the time King Carter began rapping. I think the production from Rago Foot is pretty solid, but overall the song is very bland to me. I think it’s mediocre. The next song, Wad3, is actually one of the few songs that I think is legitimately bad. The beat sounds like it had potential to be cool, but there’s just way too much going on, and the mixing is too rough for me to enjoy it personally. It sounds like a mess. The first verse is performed by Nigz TG, whose vocals are buried in the mix. I wasn’t familiar with him before listening to this song, but I think his performance was decent. King Carter surprisingly had the better verse in my opinion. I think it could’ve been a good song if it was cleaned up a little bit. It just sounds way too unpolished for me. I think it’s wack. The next song, After Thoughts, is a slight improvement, but I still think it’s mediocre overall. The production from Cleto Marez, DJ Blackpower & Omari Lyseight sounded surprisingly dull to me until the percussion came in, which made it sound much better. It actually ended up being the sole aspect of the song that I genuinely liked. I don’t think any of the verses from Carter or Goya Gumbani were bad. They really just went in one ear and out the other honestly. I think the song’s boring as hell. It’s followed by Can’t Touch This, which is one of the better songs on the album in my opinion, although it still lacks replay value for me personally. I think the jazzy production is really great, and Carter’s rapping actually sounds relatively solid. It’s still not really that interesting to me personally, but it’s acceptable. I mainly just enjoy the song for the beat. The rapping didn’t tarnish it for me though. Unfortunately, the vocals from George Riley did; her singing sounds really flat in my opinion. It’s not a song that I’d return to in the future, but the production is fantastic to me. Sacrament of Penance is my least favorite song on the album. I think that track is terrible honestly. The production from Cleto Marez is super mundane to me; I actually think it’s the wackest beat on the mixtape. I’m also not a fan of Carter’s lazy flow and delivery either. It’s similar to why I’m not a fan of Earl’s more recent work. It just sounds really bad to me. There’s actually not a single aspect of the song that I like. I think it’s super wack. The next song, Wicked Ways, featured Goya Gumbani again, who had an alright performance. I like his writing a lot, but I’m just not into his delivery at all, and the shitty mixing certainly didn’t do it any favors. However, from this verse alone, he seems like a much more competent MC than King Carter himself. Much like with the preceding MIKE collaboration, I lost all interest in the song as soon as Carter started rapping. The one aspect of the song that I kind of enjoyed was the production; I think the beat is pretty cool. However, overall, I think the song is very mediocre, and that’s me being nice. Unfortunately the following song, Slow Burn, isn’t much better. The beat is decent I guess, and the vocals from George Riley are tolerable. That’s as good as it gets though. It never surpasses “tolerable.” It’s actually a solo George Riley song, so there’s no rapping on this track at all. I think it’s mediocre. Track 10, New Slaves, is another one of the weakest tracks on the project. I think it’s pretty bad. The beat sounded like it was gonna be pretty cool at first, but it just doesn’t go anywhere. It’s way too repetitive in my opinion. I think the content of the song is kind of cool I guess, but it’s not exactly original, and I don’t think it’s particularly well executed here. At this point, the bizarre mixing quality of this project was really starting to test my patience. I think the song is wack. Thankfully, for whatever reason, the mixtape kinda gets a little better after this point. The final third of the project is pretty decent. I thought the production from Cleto Marez on All for It seemed a little lame at first, but it grew on me as soon as Carter actually started rapping. For once, it actually seemed like Carter had something interesting to say on this project; the content is much more personal and introspective. I don’t think his rapping here is amazing or anything, but it gets the job done. I was satisfied. I also like the verse from Goya Gumbani too. I think this is one of the better songs on the project, but it still doesn’t really have replay value for me personally. I think it’s a little boring honestly, and the rough mixing quality certainly doesn’t help. It’s not a bad song though. I think it’s decent. Unfortunately, the production on Psalm is very underwhelming, but I think this track has one of Carter’s best verses on the whole project. The song isn’t bad, but the super straightforward structure just makes it a little uneventful. It’s literally just a solid verse over a tolerable beat. It’s one of the better songs on the project, but I won’t be returning to it. George Riley’s vocals on Black Bird sound really awkward in my opinion; the mixing is really bad, and there’s way too much reverb. It sounds like a mess. It’s kind of frustrating because the actual beat itself sounds really cool. I think it would’ve worked better if King Carter & George Riley’s performances were separated, but they’re singing and rapping over each other at the same time, and it just sounds way too cluttered. I think it was a poor decision for Carter to rap over Riley’s vocals personally. I want to like the song more than I do, but it’s just too messy for me to enjoy. It’s a decent track overall though. Crucifixion is actually my favorite song on the project. I really love the bizarre, evil sounding, distorted production; it sounds like a nightmarish, screwed up version of an instrumental that you’d hear in an old cathedral. I also like how slowly the song builds up. Carter doesn’t start rapping until a full minute has passed. The mixing on his vocals is horrendous, but I think it kinda works alongside the eerie production. However, due to the muddy mixing, some of his lyrics are virtually inaudible. His flow is dope though, and he sounds good. I also caught the subliminal shot at Kanye, which is much appreciated.
Niggas pro-Trump & self proclaimed geniuses
I actually like the song a lot. I think it’s dope. The mixing kinda did a 180 for the following song, Who’s Gonna Save the World; the beat sounds really muddy, but the vocals are relatively crisp. The production from Awhlee sounds really cool to me honestly. The shitty mixing just kinda adds to the charm. The actual rapping from Carter is cool too. It’s not amazing or anything, but I enjoyed it to some extent. I think Awhlee also contributed a verse—or maybe it was Rago Foot—although there isn’t a credited feature. I don’t really care for the verse itself unfortunately. I think the song is okay, but I probably would’ve liked it more without that featured verse. The penultimate song is called All the Smoke, and I actually think the beat is pretty awesome to be honest. Unfortunately King Carter’s rapping is just typical posturing that you constantly hear in Trap music these days, and I don’t think he does it particularly well. I really wish the instrumental version of the song was available because Carter didn’t do it justice. The song is okay overall. Again, I really love the beat, but the generic rapping did absolutely nothing for me, and the Soulja Boy sample was annoying as shit. It might actually be someone else, but I’m pretty sure it’s Soulja Boy. The final song is called Peace, and I think it’s pretty mediocre. The production is cool, but I’m not a fan of Carter’s lazy delivery at all. The production is really the only aspect of the song that’s preventing me from calling it wack.