Favorite Rap Mixtapes of July 2017 From Yung Lean & Scallops Hotel to DJ Escrow & Dizzy SenZe

Scallops Hotel, your family-friendly rapper

With a cascade of releases spewing from the likes of DatPiff, LiveMixtapes, Bandcamp, and SoundCloud, it can be difficult to keep up with the overbearing yet increasingly vital mixtape game. In this column, we aim to immerse ourselves in this hyper-prolific world and share our favorite releases each month. The focus will primarily be on rap mixtapes — loosely defined here as free (or sometimes free-to-stream) digital releases — but we’ll keep things loose enough to branch out if/when we feel it necessary. (Check out last month’s installment here.)


VIK - Facts of Life

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There are a thousand Soundcloud users out there who want to be the next All These Fingers, YungMorgpheus, or Theravada, but like the Highlander, there can be only one. Anybody can fuck up a beat, you see? But it takes a measure of ingenuity to fuck up, in, out, on, and off that beat simultaneously. VIK does these things, and he raps under the name Comfy God. Look, I’m just telling you facts here. Facts of Life is everyman rap as a mostly wordless psychogeography, an anti-happening happening to occur on tape, that type of spontaneity so dope it makes you believe in destiny… and rewind.


Jonatan Leandoer127 - Katla

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Looks like someone’s been hitting the books lately. Ditching the Yung Lean moniker for his government name, Jonatan Leandoer127 opens his sophomore effort with an excerpt from Milton’s Paradise Lost. “Immediate are the acts of God, more swift Than time or motion,” he recites, stumbling over a few words. Producer Palmistry washes the missteps with swells muted strings — no drums needed. Save for the occasional flourish of cyborgian autotune, Katla bears little resemblance to Yung Lean’s back catalogue. You’d have better luck shelving tracks like “Hell Rain” and “Cathedral” in a playlist alongside Julee Cruise and Lust For Youth than you would next to cuts from Unknown Death or Warlord. Leandoer’s Swedish spoken-word poems are chanted with liturgical weight atop misty ambience, then strained through a compression filter as tinny as a Nokia Tracfone’s speaker. Imagine This Mortal Coil remixed by Moby or Oneohtrix Point Never grabbing hold of some Sinead O’Connor stems. File this one under “Future Folk.”


Truman Snow - TRUIYASHA

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I don’t know why Truman Snow isn’t Tiny Mix Tapes’ favorite rapper, but I can only assume it’s because I’m the one championing him thus far. Sorry, Tru. Let me put it like this, though: If you like Young Thug and Future, you should love Truman Snow. If you love Young Thug and Future, you should move to Norfolk, Connecticut, find Truman Snow and volunteer to mule drugs for him or something. He probably doesn’t even need that service, but it’s the thought that counts. And the drugs count too, so buy Truman Snow ALL the drugs, mule them to him, then buy them back from him. Don’t lend him your ears. Give them to him, like Van Gogh. He may have only released two mixtapes so far this year, but he deserves 10 spots on all our lists.


Godbody Jones - IN GOD WE TRUST

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Godbody Jones is an MC/photographer, from Memphis, Tennessee, but his art contains little of the grim aesthetic that have brought horrorcore rappers like Tommy Wright’s 10 Wanted Men and Geto Boys back into the underground spotlight. His lyrics may be typically nihilistic, the product of young frustration directed a crippled nation, but they soar over uniquely melodic beats on “Intro” and “Face It.” Jones has a confident, expressive voice with good range, which is practically a requirement for a successful 2017-era MC. On “Brightness Down,” he puts it all on display, gliding effortlessly between deadpan drawl and slurring vocoder runs. When Jones sings, “Are you down for a ride, or you down for a roll?,” dragging out the “roll” like a he’s skating a steezy rock to fakie, the head instinctually bobs along with him. “Coraline” is a standout — evidence that the Godbody has hitmaker potential alongside being a harbinger of doom.


Scallops Hotel - Over the Carnage Rose a Voice Prophetic

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If DJ Escrow’s Universal Soulja is the logical extreme of noise rap, a kind of “Coke La Rock meets Merzbow” alpha-omega point, then Scallops Hotel’s Over the Carnage Rose a Voice Prophetic could be described as alt rap on a similar trajectory; however, the tape’s loose assemblage of experimental one-offs, classic remixes, obscure collabos, and instrumental interludes has such a kid-in-a-sandbox vibe that such microgenre descriptors miss the point. If you want to hear a young mastermind at work, you listen to Milo, but if you want to hear that mastermind at play, working things out and having what sounds like an awesome time doing it, you listen to Milo’s side project Scallops Hotel. This is what a mixtape is supposed to be, but better.


DJ Escrow - Universal Soulja Vol. 1

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“Lifted up.” Overdrive, reverb, and more overdrive, in layers like the roll of tinfoil I accidentally peeled unevenly and fucked up even worse trying to fix. Adlibs hollered as if over a heavy wind. A steady, violent burn. “Dipping T-shirts in blood and that.” The “fucking exclusive” WeTransfer link already expired; “you’ve got to get a new connect, find a new plug.” A PROLIFIC DEAMON with nothing to prove, Escrow lacks the easygoing temperament of a Blue Iverson, though I think some of the latter’s cheaply synthesized strings are hiding somewhere, flayed beyond recognition, in his jagged brush. Clearly the spark to balance the cool of right-hand-man Babyfather, his gift to the melting world this July was a mixtape with texture to match the brain-baking heat. The long, empty days of summer can grow around you like a husk; stay alert. “The mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

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