Review Summary: Hard-hitting 808 centric beats, and an occasionally thought provoking vibe make this tape worth the look.
Trap music is an interesting creature. Many music fans turn their noses up at the hip-hop sub-genre because of its abrasive production, abrasive lyrics, and general aesthetic of abrasiveness. Many find these to be the exact reasons it's so compelling. A sound weaved from hard-hitting custom 808 drums, and grimy brass by famous mega-producers such as Drumma Boy appeals a great deal to certain members of the hip-hop community. The delivery and charisma of its favorite rappers such as Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame also appeals to this specific fan-base. I am of the personal opinion that lyricism is not the only important factor in hip-hop. It is in socially conscious rap, but not in club bangers. Those familiar with Brick Squad and Waka Flocka Flame likely agree with these sentiments and are looking to see if Flocka has crafted quality bangers made specifically for rocking heads and yelling out the infamous ad-libs. (Flocka! What up? Waka! Flocka! Flame! Bow, bow, bow! BRICK SQUAD!) Well, Duflocka Rant Halftime Show has more of an experimental quality than any of Flocka's previous releases. Let me explain the benefits and downfalls to this approach.
Duflocka Rant Halftime Show features quality production from the likes of 808 Mafia and Drumma Boy. Particular standout tracks include "Activist", and the "50K Remix (featuring T.I.). Most of the album is typical turnt-up trap bangers, however there are more laid-back tracks present on the tape. "Just A Sample" has a sung-hook and is calm compared to every single track that has ever been released by anyone ever associated with Waka. "Judge For You" is not only another calmer track, it also has a quality message for young people. Stay true to yourself. That's not advice that seems out of place for someone like Waka Flocka Flame, he makes a living releasing music which is just him being himself. If anything these non-bangers reveal that Waka, if he feels like branching out into music that isn't just constructed with hard-hitting 808s and dirty brass he might have a reasonable future in it. Fans should still doubt however that's what he would want to make a full album out of, much less a full career.
The mixtape's lyrics are really nothing special, but that's not relevant when talking about the trap music genre. Sure, a lot of artists such as Young Jeezy are capable of constructing entertaining wordplay and being fairly clever. But criticizing a trap release for having bad lyricism is a point not even worth considering. What matters in this genre is your charisma and the quality of your production. If you're a bombastic rapper, you have a criminal past (it helps at least), and Lex Luger is the producer of your tape/album, you have the potential to be a great trap artist. Waka Flocka's attempts at being considered a "serious rapper" here, regardless of whether they're just fun experimentation or actual attempts, are pretty futile for the most part. However, "Whole Wide World" and "Judge For You" display lyrical ability that we've never seen previously from Flocka, so I'm eager to hear what Flockaveli 2/the next installment in the Duflocka Rant series brings to the table.
As a whole, this mixtape is generally sticking to Waka Flocka Flame's strong points. He provides incredibly entertaining club bangers. But, he also provides music that is generally at some points thought provoking, and you have to give Flocka props for trying to extend his reach. He definitely puts in a lot of work on a regular basis making sure that his musical product will entertain and stimulate his fans. The main point of a mixtape is; does it get you excited for his next album? Duflocka Rant Halftime Show accomplishes that if nothing else. Flockaveli 2 is almost certainly guaranteed to be filled with bangers, and his currently untitled version of Watch the Throne with Gucci Mane should be fantastic. The fans will have faith in you, Waka. Brick squad.