22Gz - Growth and Development Music Album Reviews

22Gz attempts to chase a hit on a melodic but stale mixtape that struggles to keep up with the drill scene the Brooklyn rapper helped originate. 

Brooklyn’s drill rap scene began as a ripoff of Chicago’s movement, the sign of a borough that had lost its way. In late 2016, Flatbush’s 22Gz released “Suburban,” a song that sounds like it was made in Chicago’s summer of 2012—the flow is jacked from a teenage G Herbo and the beat might as well be ripped from DJ L’s hard drive. But despite its lack of originality, “Suburban” opened up the possibilities of what drill could become in New York. 22Gz injects the single with the cockiness and swagger that has forever pulsed through the veins of Brooklyn’s premier rappers. Within the next few months, as drill rap became inescapable in the city, 22Gz went to jail.

In the spring of 2017, during a trip to Miami, 22Gz and his friends were involved in an argument over a parking spot. The disagreement resulted in the death of two people and 22Gz was arrested and charged with murder. After spending nearly half the year in jail, the case against him never came together, and he was released at the end of 2017. When 22Gz returned to Brooklyn’s drill scene, behind the force of fellow Flatbush rapper Sheff G, drill had progressed. Even as his visibility was raised through signing to Kodak Black’s Sniper Gang imprint, 22Gz’s style lagged behind. His 2019 mixtape, The Blixky Tape, sounds like it’s from another era.

On “Suburban Pt. 2,” the first single from 22Gz’s new mixtape Growth and Development, he makes up some lost ground. It follows the path set by the late Pop Smoke, who separated Brooklyn’s drill from the dead-eyed aggression more common in Chicago; instead, he talked cold-hearted shit while hitting a goofy dance, and without losing an ounce of his intimidation—a balancing act that’s essential in Brooklyn’s latest wave of drill rap. Like, yes, the centerpiece of 22Gz’s “Suburban Pt. 2” is a brutal threat (“Bust your piñata, open your māthā, shoot up the party”), but it’s still catchy and silly enough to have inspired infinite TikTok dance videos.

But it becomes clear that the purpose of Growth and Development isn’t to be a good mixtape—it’s just 12 shots at finding a single to follow-up “Suburban Pt. 2.” He comes close with the effortless “No Questions,” like someone put a mic in his face and told him to cut a wrestling promo: “Don’t test us, have my yungin’ take his necklace/Got a temper, make a movie like Netflix.” Though 22Gz no longer has a definitive style of his own, often the songs on the project are dated.

There’s tracks on the project that sound like they could have landed on an early 2010s Troy Ave mixtape, specifically “ATB,” a reminder of a Brooklyn rap era that made an entire generation turn to Chicago drill in the first place. 22Gz’s attempt at a melody is forced, and “Twirl Girl” is the type of unbearable “modern” rap song you would hear on Empire. He takes another step backward with “The Oath” and “Careers,” both of which have none of Brooklyn’s signature flash and production reminiscent of the cheap Chicago imitations the scene was known for in its earliest days. It’s almost as if 22Gz is out of touch with his own borough, like he has never taken the time to scroll through the Raps and Hustles YouTube page—the unofficial home of Brooklyn drill. The irony is that it’s clear he’s struggling to keep pace with the rapid evolution of a Brooklyn drill scene built on the foundation he laid.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
22Gz - Growth and Development Music Album Reviews 22Gz - Growth and Development Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on April 22, 2020 Rating: 5


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