Rating: 7 / 10
After the well-documented departure from Maybach Music, many dismissed Pill and his music. After all, being publicly embarrassed by, arguably, the hottest label in the game is hard to come back from. However, instead of sulk, Pill kept right at work. The Epidemic is another addition to the rapper’s strong mixtape catalog; but would it live up to the pre-set and now, newfound pressures?
The beginning of The Epidemic reflects its title; chaotic, confusing, and a little bit of everywhere. The intro, “Moving Out” has a heavy southern flavor to it, but proves to be unfulfilling. You sort of expected him to come out with a bang and address all the naysayers. This is followed with “Parkin’ Lot”, which is nothing special and highlighted by Twista’s guest verse, where he awkwardly shouts out MMG; a testament to how unorganized and uneasy the project begins.
“All On Me” and “I’m So Player” are both lackluster, and here Pill sits lazily with the first four songs on his latest highly-anticipated mixtape equaling a low dull of buzz. In addition, DJ Holiday is featured throughout the record- the self-proclaimed, “Martin Luther King of mixtapes”- but anytime the first quarter of the project begins to pick up any steam, Holiday rewinds the track to boast a bit more, killing any momentum it had.
It is the track, “It’s So Hard” that marks the turn into the right direction. Prior to this, Pill was yet to impress. But over the soulful beat, Pill begins to get into a lyrical comfort zone, “I try to balance it out, when I’m in school learning/ 2:30 bell ring, I’m back in Hell burnin’”. There are two freestyles on the tape: “Scarface” and “Heaven Only Knows”. The first is over the Southern legend’s “Girl You Know”, and Pill’s southern drawl sounds at home. The second is a bit of a surprise, as John Legend’s track of the same name is featured, and Pill does it justice.
“Dreaming” and “Memories” are two of the better tracks here, both optimistic in feel, and somewhat pessimistic in lyrics; a winning juxtaposition. The same can be said for “Why It Gotta Be Like Dis (Mama)”. Pill is much better off over sample-based production with genuine messages, than showboating, aggressive songs. After all the foolishness of the first four songs, Pill settles down and gets into a good groove for the rest of the ride.
Pill could have very easily flopped after the MMG fiasco, and become another artist that came and went. In the beginning of the tape, it seemed like this was the route he was taking. In contrast, Pill figured it out for the rest of The Epidemic and pulled through with some nice music. It’s unclear where Pill’s career will go now, but one thing is for certain; he’s not going anywhere without something to say about it first.