Gangsta Grillz: Separate But Equal (Mixtape)

Artist: DJ Drama/Little BrotherTitle: Gangsta Grillz: Separate But Equal (Mixtape)Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Alejandro Mojado

The South’s reigning mixtape king is at it again with his infamous Gangsta Grillz franchise. This time Drama is throwing salt in the game by featuring premier NC rap group Little Brother. They come together to bring us Gangsta Grillz: Separate But Equal a quite unorthodox Gangsta Grillz “extra” that breaks the mold of previous efforts from the Atlanta based DJ. We’re used to Drama bringing us music from “Southern” rappers who would not ordinarily get mixtape play. And in that regard, the average run of the mill Hip-Hop head has one definition of Southern rap that LB doesn’t fit. Nonetheless, LB puts it down showing skeptics that they are about business and are ready to show that there is more to the South than just “Laffy Taffy”.

But Separate But Equal is still a mixtape made in typical Gangsta Grillz fashion; hardcore lyrics over hardcore production. There is most definitely nothing lacking on the production side with tracks from Krysis, Illmind, Young Cee and North Carolina super producer, 9th Wonder. LB also brings in some of their Justus League brethren such as Supastition, Chaundon and Joe Scudda to spit fire. Mos Def also takes off his acting hat to add his two cents to the game on a track called “Let it Go”. The mixtape also boasts an appearance from Southern rap All-Star Bun B who initially had a small misunderstanding with LB. However, with his verse on “Candy” there appears to be nothing but Southern solidarity.

Lyrically, this is another high caliber Little Brother affair. Especially Rapper Big Pooh, who has been on a roll since the release of “Sleepers”. Pooh uses this mixtape as a vehicle to prove, again, that he’s more than just the other rapper in LB. He steps it up on the entire CD, but “Macaroni” is a great example of his evolution; showing that he can always carry a track without assistance. Phonte has been on point since day one, and only continues to improve. He is very easily on the road to becoming a Hip-Hop powerhouse (peep his verse on “Can’t Let Her”) and displays some of his versatility using the beat from Kanye’s “Late” on a track called “Hate”, among others.

Long story short, Little Brother and DJ Drama have teamed up to spawn yet another stellar mixtape. With Little Brother four efforts deep in the game, this mixtape should serve to increase their listening base, though it would have been nice to hear them rock over more Southern styles beats. Nevertheless, they represent the versatility of the South, showing us that there is more going on down here than meets the eye. Gangsta Grillz: Separate But Equal should definitely not be slept on, otherwise, “you’ll be on the porch mad like you fixin’ to shave Mister”.