May 10, 2016

Review: Piatto D'Oro - @MeyhemLauren; A Niles P. Joint

Meyhem Lauren is the reason why I invented #ICYMIMonday.  The story goes that I saw him perform in 2015 without being too familiar with his solo work, was enamored with what he had to offer musically, but also found out his most recent work at the time was released a year ago.  Instead of a premature Throwback Thursday, I created a new segment because his album was that dope.  I told myself I’d cover his next release in real time.  Well Piatto D’Oro just came out via Fool’s Gold Records so I’m sticking to my guns and taking this one to the rack.  This is one of my most anticipated releases of the year.  Since it came with producer credits, it’s only right I go track by track.

Sauce (feat. Hologram; prod. Seth Silenser) - This may be the first time I’ve heard violins and helicopters but it works on the intro on this song.  Meyhem leads off with a hit and hasn’t lost his quirky lyrical content, which is a relief.  His brother Hologram also makes an appearance.

Aggressive Metal (prod. Seth Silenser) - Ayo, the instrumental for this one reminds me of the background music in the final (Cradle) level of Goldeneye on N64.  Nostalgia will get you everywhere in this case.  It has a cinematic vibe and Meyhem proves to be a worthy leading man, as his flow is supremely confident.

Badmon Ting (feat. Big Body Bes; prod. Farhot) - The latest single from the album is a fun one.  Bes arrives early with the wisecracks and Meyhem makes a Jamaican themed joint that’s similar in vein to the mid 90s hip hop/dancehall fusion joints that got played in any NYC neighborhood that featured West Indian population.  It’s like updated nostalgia.

Vintage (prod. Seth Silenser) - In the age of the same corny ass trap hi hats polluting songs everywhere, it’s so refreshing to see Seth Silenser expertly make use of hi hats. This song is deliciously evil sounding and Laurenovich casually breezes through his bars, which is all he had to do.
Bonus Round (feat. Action Bronson, Roc Marciano, & Big Body Bes; prod. Harry Fraud) - Back in December, Mary covered this posse cut and had nothing but good things to say about it.  I concur, this is classy and understated and enjoyable.  All of these dudes play together better than the Warriors here.

Money In My Pocket (prod. Farhot) - This is the best example of a Queens rapper on a California flavored beat since Nas in 1996.  Some songs you hear and just know that the hook will play well live.  This is one of those songs.  I’m already planning to play this at the WTM staff BBQ as I serve the team mission style tacos.

Not Guilty (prod. Large Professor) - As soon as I heard the trademark sleigh bells, I knew Extra P had laced this track.  He’s clearly had good fortune with rappers from Q Boro and the streak continues.  Meyhem punches the beat right in the breadbasket.  This is a timeless song for the streets.

Live Ginger (prod. DJ Muggs) - Man, I hadn’t heard from Muggs in awhile.  I’m glad Meyhem tapped him here for the beat.  This is one of those situations where you combine two ingredients that don't seem like they would work and they do.  The instrumental is wavering and trippy and somehow complements what are the rawest vocals on the whole damn album.  No hook here, but the ad-libs in between verses are kinda hilarious.

Garlic and Oil (feat. Action Bronson; prod. A Villa) - Everything I said about this song in March still applies in May.  It’s always good when you can look back and say a song ages well like good merlot.  And this one does.

Fuckin The Whole Crew (prod. Big French) - While Laurenovich does the braggadocio raps as good as anybody, it’s always a real treat when he goes with a storytelling record.  This one in particular is all in the title; a chick is making her rounds around the entire squad trying to be slick.  But in the end, the dudes are all in on it.  This is the beat that you play during a late night diner excursion, real swanky without being too conspicuous.

Hate (prod. Super Dave) - Using vocal samples can be tricky because you want them to be relevant to your song’s theme but without being overpowering.  It happens here as the focus stays on the 1960s cop show beat instead of the dialogue.  Meyhem uses an uncomplicated flow to complete the mix.

Flexxin (prod. Icerocks) - This entire compositions is fuckin FILTHY and I love it.  You have the cascading strings on the chorus, a bullying baseline, the ripest percussion, and the occasional fluttering piano.  This is musical paella.  Lauren refuses to let the instrumental go to waste and runs full court lyrically, including the formation of a great hook.

Dragon V.S. Wolf (feat. Action Bronson; prod. Alchemist) - Bronsolino makes his third guest appearance on an Alchemist-produced track.  And somehow, it sounds nothing like you’d think.  Instead of being dark and brooding, it’s more airy.  To be clear I don’t hate this song, and it’s not badly done, it just isn't my favorite collaboration between any combination of these three dudes.  Kind of out of place on the album too, and short.

Sweet Chick (prod. Icerocks) - First off, these guitars are wicked and demand attention off the bat.  Meyhem casually slaps the beat around and still has a good time on the penultimate track.  I feel like listening to this in the car would cause a speeding ticket because it lowkey brings so much energy.  Queens looks out for Queens on this one because while listening, I paused and made plans to go to the Nas owned restaurant of the same name.  It all came full circle.

Elevation (prod. DJ Muggs) - Muggs returns behind the boards for the grand finale.  His drums sound like machine guns, but not in the modern, stereotypical, lame trap/drill sense.  Laurenovich speaks in celebratory tones but stresses the need to always strive for better.  It’s actually really inspirational and a great way to end the album.

On his last joint, the entire album was produced by Buckwild of DITC.  This time, he uses an array of producers, not just the same.  The album nonetheless maintains a sense of cohesiveness.  It’s a tapestry but with more standout singles than the last one, which can only help him commercially.  While some I never heard of before now, Meyhem Lauren makes it work.  He has one of the best ear for beats in the game.  His lyricism is still on point and he fills his bars with references to Polo, wheat grass and ginger, the finest cuisine, and having a good time while not taking shit.  At the same time, he shows his storytelling chops and even makes a motivational song at the end.  Beyond being slept on, Laurenovich is also one of the most well rounded rappers in the game.  

Rating: 4.75 out of 5.

Fool’s Gold Records and Meyhem Lauren have graciously put out this album for free (although I damn sure would've paid for it.  So click here for your free download of Piatto D’Oro.

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