In 2014, the world is inundated with music. Deep Cuts is here to help you sort the trash from the treasure. Taking a closer look at mixtapes, loosies, and obscurities, we comb the genre to find tracks that you may have missed. Great songs on terrible tapes, rappers who haven't received the shine they should, or underrated tracks from recognized names, we dig through the detritus so you don't have to.
For 2013, Deep Cuts was a monthly column, but it's become apparent that the demand for more and newer, unheard music is still out there, so we've decided to make it a weekly post. In addition, many of these songs will be posted ahead of time, throughout the week, as we discover them, rather than waiting to compile them for the column. If you want to keep up with what we're posting, just follow along here. And make sure to check back every Friday for a new column covering the previous week.
Lil St. Louis "Full Of Sh**"
Mixtape: Young & Reckless
Producer: DJ On Da Beat
Not enough people are fucking with Lil St Louis. Back in November he dropped his Young & Reckless tape with Swamp Izzo and DJ Smallz; it’s still getting spins over here. Lil St. Louis is on a lot of trap-type shit on this tape. For the most part, the production is on that menacing tip, as can be heard with the theremin-sounding wobbling whistle that tries to haunt you through out this song. The beat is reminiscent of turned down version of the Boyz N Da Hood’s "Everybody Know Me," but instead of a hype Jeezy and crew you get Lil StL threatening to murder you. The appeal of Lil St Louis is really his delivery. Words are cut off or emphasized before they end as needed to make his rhymes work. Lil St Louis has spent some time in Alabama so I’m thinking that’s where that harder twang in his voice is coming from versus your standard St. Louis rappers. For a moment in "Full Of Shit" I thought his crew was called Douche Gang but it’s Duce Gang (don’t worry, your crew can still be Douche Gang). When I realized my error it was slightly depressing. —Sergio Ornelas
ABFIFI f/ Beeda Weeda and Kingpin "The Town"
Mixtape: R8R & L-Wood Present Northern California Trunk Tape Resurrection
This is a loosie that dropped back in September but was recently heard on R8r, L-wood, and Dave Dice’s Fresh Out Volume 3 mix (which you can download here). The track that has been getting the most play is from ABFIFI, an Oakland rapper who's been active for a couple of years now but hasn’t really blown yet. He is very rooted in that classic East Bay sound but with a slightly updated twist that you’ll find with a lot of the latest breed of Oakland rappers. You can’t get much more Oakland than an anthem for the Town like this. That beat is so fresh but yet still sounds like a classic Oakland slapper. That hook is so addictive, just makes you slump while you ride around claiming an affiliation to a city you wished you lived in. You don’t get much more Oakland than repeatedly yelling "bitch." Also when these guys start stressing their words hella hoard it’s just such a great example of that East Bay vernacular done right. Beeda Weeda is the biggest name on this track, so that might explain why you haven’t heard it. —Sergio Ornelas
Stunt N Dozier f/ Peryon J Kee and Lil Pooh "Smoke Up"
Mixtape: What Da Streets Need 8
Produer: Stunt N Dozier
In the wrong hands, this kinda stuff can come across as Three 6 Mafia night at your local karaoke bar and a chilling reminder of the kind of wretched rap music championed on Tumblr in 2010/2011. Thankfully, Lil Pooh is a much better rapper than all of those artists, and the song's producers Stunt N Dozier were behind the boards for classic singles by Trae, Slim Thug, and Mouse On Tha Track so "Smoke Up"'s beat has enough subtle tricks up its sleeve and enough knock in its drums to avoid sounding like a music school production project and more like an instrumental which was originally destined for Project Pat. —Marty Macready
Ace B8gie f/ Murph Watkins "F**k a Plan B"
Mixtape: The B8gie Foo' Blues EP [Unreleased]
Producer: Bobby Johnson
F.O.C. (Focused On Cash) is a rap crew comprising of residents of the East and South sides of Chicago, who seem to share the common bond of being able to score a perfect 10 outta 10 on the Paid In Full quiz. Ace B8ie is so besotted with Paid In Full he's named himself after its main protagonist. Judging from Ace B8ie's latest single "Fuck A Plan B" (the song was given the visual treatment last week), he's also besotted with the Hot Boys, because he has the exact same dry nasal twang as B.G. It becomes evident you're not listening to an unreleased B. Gizzle track because "Fuck A Plan B" features Ace B8gie rhyming about the accuracy of the Mayan Calender(!) over a state-of-the-art panoramic beat by Bobby Johnson—he of "O.G Bobby Johnson" fame and "Again"-minor fame—before Murph Watkins comes in on the second verse extolling the virtues of capitalism with a distinctly Twista-influenced flow. —Marty Macready
Lil Boosie and Webbie "Show The World"
Mixtape: Mixtape Trappers 16
And out of nowhere, at the beginning of the year, Lil Boosie dropped a new single with Webbie, although the first two verses belong to the incarcerated Baton Rouge rapper. Over a piano-driven beat that sounds like an approximation of the original "Grand Groove," the song has a bit of a mawkish hook saved by Boosie's gravitas. "I just like to make people happy/Four kids, I just like being a good daddy/But I'm a gangster and I rock shows/A people person, so you know Lil Boosie got hoes." He was sent to jail just as he seemed on the verge of becoming a national star—his guest spots on singles like Foxx's "Wipe Me Down (Remix)" and Webbie's "Independent" had him climbing the upper reaches of the pop charts in a way most non-Drake hip-hop has struggled to since. His fanbase, though no doubt slimmed down a bit, still seems pretty active; it'll be interesting to see how, should he make it out of jail soon, his return will impact the game. —David Drake
Slice 9 f/ Neno Calvin "Take A Loss"
Mixtape: Slice Don't Do It: The Myth
Freenbandz affiliate Slice 9 first gained attention as the lighter-voiced balance for the aggro Casino on F.B.G. single "Killin It" from 2013's F.B.G.: The Movie. His debut single, "Another One," was a fairly nondescript Paxil-burst product of the Future assembly line. There's an abstracted quality to Slice 9's rapping; if any one thing is keeping his music from really connecting with a broader audience, it's the sense that he's coloring in the lines, rather than drawing the shapes themselves; verses feel a product of craft more than art, like a ghostwriting audition. Nonetheless, he's got a youthful sound, rocking over club tracks with a smoother, cleaner sheen. The result is more engaging when the beat aims for the muscular, as on low-key menacing mixtape finale "Take A Loss." —David Drake
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