During the month of March, Coast2CoastMixtapes.com released the March Madness Mixtape series, a one-mixtape-a-day project designed to give fans a steady daily diet hip hop beats to enjoy along the way to the Final Four.
With 31 separate mixtapes in the series, there are tons of rhymes and beats to coming at you. And after diving into Vol 116 (number 10 of 31) I have to say that overall, as far as free downloads go, the mix of rap stalwarts and upstart newcomers delivers the goods.
At 33 tracks, Vol 116 showcases the top rappers from the West coast, East coast and Dirty South. Most notably rising star emcee Kid Cudi — who's due to drop his follow-up album later this year — holds his own among some of rap's best.
As far as the beats go, Vol 116 is packed with classic hyphy, crunk, R&B, reggae and g-funk joints hosted by rapper/producer Kurupt. Front to back the hooks and rhymes don't explore any new territory, but still they deliver the solid standard's that you'd expect from Lil' Wayne, Keak Da Sneak, T.I., Game and Rick Ross. Some of the best moments of the mixtape come via the legendary Snoop Dogg who continues to set the standard when it comes to rapping the dozens and throwing down one of the smoothest, dirtiest and most addictive flows in the game. It's a pretty cohesive curating by Kurupt. He's mixed together soulful autotune ballads (that actually work and aren't as bad as they could be), remixed tracks with sythn-pop and rock samples, delicious dub and the obligatory club-banger anthems filled with glimmering bling and unashamed gangsta swagger.
On the downside, not all 33 tracks live up to the hype. And sadly, some really great beats get wasted on moments of unnecessary and discouraging hyper-violence and rote approaches to rhyming about money, weed and women. I hung my head on a few tracks because they tried to tell a gripping gangsta story but unfortunately the tale lost its way among misogynist rhymes and trite gunshot sound-effect production. But, hey, mixtapes are all about experimentation, free-styling in the studio and of course, putting out fresh music to stay on the fan's radar and in their ear until the next album drops. But, still, promo mixtape or not, it's never easy to listen to a beat get wasted or hear an entertaining 16 bars of rhymes not get lifted or enhanced by the music.
Coast 2 Coast Vol 116. is available for free download on the Coast2Coastmixtapes.com website.