King L doesn’t always get enough credit for how versatile of a rapper he is, but his new Tony mixtape might convince a few more people to start paying better attention. Chicago has a special way of combining aggression with fun in music. If you think about it, that’s kind of scary, but it’s a reflection of reality. And it’s a powerful thing to hear.

Both sonically and lyrically, King L’s Tony is a powerful reflection of Chicago in 2014. Bobby Johnson provides another skull-cracking beat with the absurdly bass-heavy “Day,” but “Live & Die in Chicago” shows off L’s complexity and ability as a songwriter. Using a hypnotic flow with a repetitive melody, L does perfectly what Keef did so well on songs like “Hate Being Sober” and “Love Sosa.” Other highlights include “Sheesh,” “Would You Believe It,” “G.O.D.” and “Fuck N*gga.”

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