Kanye West: Can't Tell Me Nothing (Mixtape)

If there’s one thing that brings fans of hip-hop together from coast to coast, its the feeling of frustration you get…

If there’s one thing that brings fans of hip-hop together from coast to coast, its the feeling of frustration you get when you cop a new mixtape and, instead of hearing some fresh heat from your favorite MC, you hear a DJ screaming his name and dropping explosions all over the track. All you want is to hear that new remix with so-and-so on it, but instead, you get explosions and gunshots with the music buried in the background. Luckily for his supporters, Kanye West is a fan first. In this spirit, he gives us Can’t Tell Me Nothing, a mixtape of (mostly) full-length songs that you can actually listen to. Here’s hoping that this is the next Kanye trend to catch on.While Can’t Tell Me Nothing is billed as a Kanye West effort, it’s basically a primer for the next year or so of product from the G.O.O.D. Music family as a whole. Two (excellent) tracks from Common’s upcoming Finding Forever join sneak peaks at releases from GLC, Sa-Ra and Tony Williams, among others. Mr. Bentley tosses his fedora in the ring with “C.O.L.O.U.R.S.” which surprises on two fronts. First, it’s not nearly as wack as one would assume and second, on a track with Bently, Pimp C and Lil’ Wayne, Bentley’s verse isn’t even the weakest of the bunch. Huh? Kanye’s troops carry the flag proudly, but the star of the show is obviously Mr. West himself. Besides the title track, Kanye gives us a preview of “Stronger,” and the full version of “Us Placers” by a new super group composed of Kanye, Lupe Fiasco and Pharrell. Defying expectations, “Placers” opts for low-key, conscious raps rather than some flashy jaunt about pink sneakers and diamond encrusted laptops. Kanye’s usual goofball irreverence returns for his remix of “Throw Some D’s” (its not about rims) and a hilarious rant about DJ Premier and his love of porn. His guest spot on Kid Sister’s “Pro Nails” (another chick rapping about her makeup) is probably pushing it, but even when it doesn’t quite work, his willingness to experiment deserves credit.If packaged a little differently, Can’t Tell Me Nothing would be suitable for an official release, so it more than gets the job done as a mixtape. Yes, the mixtape is basically just a fancy commercial for a handful of upcoming albums, but as commercials go, this one is pretty damned G.O.O.D.