10 Rap Commandments (Mixtape)

Artist: A-PinksTitle: 10 Rap Commandments (Mixtape)Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Angus Crawford

After the success of 50 Cent it has become characteristic for most rappers to build a street buzz with freestyle mixtapes. Hailing from Queens and a former student at Howard University, A-Pinks does not differentiate from the norm on his freestyle mixtape, P-Cutta Presents: A. Pinks 10 Rap Commandments. However, unlike the typical rapper, A Pinks does not use contemporary beats and instead chooses to rhyme over classic Notorious B.I.G. instrumentals that make for a unique mixtape.

When listening to the beats it’s hard to not remember Biggie and his verses. Fortunately, A-Pinks is well equipped with one-liners that allow his persona to make its mark on the track. Over the “What’s Beef” beat he skillfully rhymes “I keep a Nina Pinta/ And just turned the Santa Maria to a strip club”. Courageously he even tries his hand over the “Who Shot Ya” beat, and rhymes “I’m the shiite no Islamic ties / I’m the kinda guy chase you down like Johnny Five” that, if nothing else, brings back memories of the movie Short Circuit .

While A-Pinks is able to shine on some of the beats he struggles with the more laid back beats like “Sky Is the Limit”. After a myriad of lines about his sexual exploits and gun toting, “socially conscious” lines like “More Unity/ Equals more you and me/ Equals more empires/ Equals more jewelry” seem a bit contrived and off the mark. Additionally his attempt to mimic Biggie’s flow on “Juicy”, an arduous task to say the least, does not work at all.

The mixtape does come with three original songs (there are no names on the CD, so I am guessing on the names) “Like Yeah”, “Some Niggaz”, and the standout “Just Like You”. Over a dark beat and clever “chipmunk” sample A-Pinks shout outs hoods across the country reminding them he is “just like them” and delivers lines like “The hood pump through my bloodline/ My vein stream I can smell one time/ Run, hide, sunshine nowhere ‘round here/ I know what it’s like to be dressed in gun powder”.

Although A-Pinks does distinguish himself from other rappers and mixtapes by using only beats from Biggie, he fails to separate himself from most rappers with his lyrics. While he is unquestionably talented, fans have to ask themselves if he is better than other rappers doing the same thing.