Mixtape: The KiDD Classic
Producer: Beazy Tymes 

Cinematographer/beatmaker DGainz has the ear and eye for talent; he worked closely, early on, with a who's who of Chicago MCs, from Chief Keef to Spenzo to Tink, before each artist ended up moving on without him. When he speaks about artists, he talks confidently and with blunt honesty about their strengths and weaknesses. But considering how often he speaks of wanting to work behind the scenes, it must have been frustrating to watch talent he had ID'd early end up elsewhere.

Jay2 is the first major project for DGainz's new Distinguished Gorillaz label. Jay's tape Visions came out earlier this month to little fanfare. Jay2 is from Chicago's north side, and is—like many of his city's new crop of artists—just a teenager. From Keef to Tink to Lucki Eck$ to Lil Herb, teens have received a bulk of the considerable buzz in the windy city.

Jay2 sounds like a driven writer on his debut, someone whose lyrics are carefully considered, if occasionally pro forma. The record, overall, is not as distinctive as Lucki Eck$'s unusually distinct Alternative Trap. It is, though, a very carefully crafted piece. Jay2 is a thoughtful kid (at one point, he raps over the "Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst" beat, which suggests where his head is at), but still somewhat flexible, stylistically. When the stripper track "Go To Work" arrives, it's refreshingly malevolent, although its escapist fantasy also feels a bit more like an attempt to touch all the bases than a piece of an authentically felt vision.

Jay2 has many pieces in place, he has an easy chemistry with his main producer, Beazy. His persona at this point has an anonymity that makes his tape feel a little like a business card at times. Overall, the record feels clean and well constructed, with plenty of room (and potential) for growth.