Review Summary: STR8 UP iF THEY DON'T FUCKIN WANNA DELIVER SWORDFISH TO THE STUDIO, THEN WE GONNA HAVE TO GO DRIVE TO GET THE MOTHERFUCKIN SWORDFISH. IT'S REAL SIMPLE. FUCKING SIMPLE. I'M NOT GONNA RAP WITHOUT SWORDFISH PRESENT SO...IF YOU WANNA GET THIS WORKIN I NEED TH
Meyhem Lauren has drawn critiscm in the past for his lack of distinction in a field of talented New York rappers. Compared to his peers, MCs like Roc Mariciano or Action Bronson, Lauren seemed like an aesthetically acceptable second-stringer at best. Despite this, I feel as though Lauren hit gold on the Alchemist-produced "Brand Name Marijuana" from last year's Mandatory Brunch Meetings
. That song's beat wouldn't have sounded out of place on Covert Coup
- which is probably Alchemist's most consistent work- and Lauren responded to it with a hard examination of those who came before him spitting "There's too much drama in this world, that we know/Sold drugs for ten years and you've got nothing to show...I'll never be that."
DXA, more specifically their master producer Icerocks, has been one of the Big Apple's best kept hip-hop secrets for more than half a decade now. For Raw Cashmere
, Lauren and Icerocks teamed up to deliver on the potential shown in the Lauren of "Brand Name Marijuana." The album is easily the best produced effort of Lauren's career. The essence of New York city both past and present is so effortlessly displayed on Raw Cashmere
that Pro Era would do well to take a listen. The beats are very reminiscent of a forgotten East Coast rap gem, Royal Flush's 1997 debut Ghetto Millionaire
. Lauren's rapping has vastly improved, much in a matter of B-Real and Sen Dog's sudden lyrical revolution on Cypress Hill's IV
. "Supreme Knowledge" and "Swordfish Parables" are an excellent one-two punch of classic NYC rhymesaying, while "Guns In the Playpen" is a great and unsettling look at children running with gangs on the streets of the city featuring an outstanding verse from Gabbie Giftsz.
With Raw Cashemere
, Lauren has proven he can hold his own prodigous weight against his contemporaries and deliver more than just "okay, but" rap music. Only time will tell if this newfound formula for success will deliver a lasting impression, but for now, it's about as nice as a grilled swordfish kebab for Meyhem Lauren. Tasty.