Rating: 9 / 10
Since Emilio Rojas’ impressive mixtape with DJ Green Lantern and his show-stealing flow on Laws’ “Hold You Down Remix” alongside Big K.R.I.T., he’s been slowly trying to develop a buzz to make a name for himself. Although the aforementioned mixtape,The Natural, was solid, it left something to be desired as far as the style that most of his core fans wanted. With the release of his new Green Lantern-sponsored mixtape, Life Without Shame, he’s found the perfect balance of showmanship through his rap flow and his lyrical content to impress even the most stubborn Hip-Hop fan.
One of the most impressive things about LWS is Emilio’s rapping ability in itself. He has a rare knack for being able to maintain his precise flow for extended periods of time. In that aspect, he’s not unlike Busta Rhymes as at times his rhyme patterns and syllabic schemes alone seem to carry the entire verse. Most rappers are unable to accomplish this successfully, but Emilio maintains this flow for a majority of the mixtape. Combine that with the fact that he never sacrifices his content for his flow or vice-versa, and that he makes it sound way too easy without taking the excitement out of rap presence on songs, and it shows how skilled he is on a microphone.
As mentioned above, the content here is high-quality as well. Although full of clever lines that make you stop (“You’re nothin’ to them ‘til you buzzin then it’s on / then they f**kin with ya squad like the mother of LeBron…”), the tape thrives on the perfectly executed concept songs and original topics. From him and Mickey Factz reminiscing on their past conquests in “Ex-Girl”, to Emilio addressing his struggle with being a Venezuelan-American on “All Mixed Up”, to the shocking narration/conversation in “Right To Stay,” which goes on behind closed doors with a cop that discovers an illegal female immigrant, each song is different from the last. Although all of the songs are not as heavy or explosive as the latter, they all feel well-done and flow together rather well. The cameos from Mike Bigga (aka Killer Mike), Yelawolf, and B.o.B. add to the replay value as well, although you get the feeling that Rojas needed no help handling all of this solo. This project could’ve easily been an album.
With strong wordplay, an almost hypnotic flow with rapid fire on/off switch, strong song concepts, and incredible features (not to mention the “Hold You Down Remix” thrown on at the end for good measure), Life Without Shame proves that Emilio Rojas belongs in the category of rappers on the rise. Here’s to hoping that people jump on the bandwagon early before they get left. If you’ve been sleeping on Emilio’s raw talent, consider this your wake-up call.
DOWNLOAD: Emilio Rojas – Life Without Shame Mixtape“Life Without Shame” ft. Tenille