A couple years ago, I made a big fuss, basically by whining that the San Diego Music Awards didn't just automatically give an award to rapper Mitchy Slick. While he's not exactly a household name (but then, how many rappers are household names these days?), he's definitely the most successful, still-active rapper from San Diego. Fast-forward a couple years: What's been up with Mitch?
Honestly, not a ton, or at least not as much in the music department as I would have liked. Personally, he's been touring all over the world as you can see from his "He's Everywhere" vlog series on Youtube. But musically, he hasn't been as ubiquitous. He has reportedly been working on a much-anticipated album with Bay Area producer DJ Fresh, but that's been years in the making now. His group Strong Arm Steady has released a good deal of music, including this year's Stereotype album, with beats from Statik Selektah. But Mitch has always been the least-prominent member in that group, likely owing to him not actually living in the same city as the other members (on one of their albums a few years ago, Mitch was even strangely credited as a featured guest instead of an official group member). And, really, Strong Arm Steady music doesn't slap as hard as Mitchy Slick music.
Though Mitch's musical output has been sparing, thankfully this kinda new, very free mixtape, Wrongkind Is Everywhere, Vol. 1 (download here), compiles some of what he's leaked in the past couple years in one place. There are tracks from different upcoming Mitch-related projects that have been mentioned at some point, including the DJ Fresh collaboration, Feet Match the Paint, and his next solo album, Won't Stop Bein' a Blood.
But as you could probably tell from the mixtape's title, this is more of a Wrongkind family affair than a solo Mitch showcase. Surprisingly, that turns out to be kind of a great thing. The biggest takeaway from this mixtape is that the Youngkind rappers, a younger (duh!) division of Tha Wrongkind, can really spit their asses off (if anyone's still into analogies, Youngkind is to Wrongkind what Lil' Wayne's Young Money is to Cash Money). Mitch has never been a pure lyricist; his strengths distributed more evenly across the board from songwriting to hook-writing to personality. But the Youngkind rappers, especially dudes like Oso Ocean and 2Die4, are straight-up, spit-for-the-fences type of rappers. They have the ability to take existing beats, black out, and really turn someone else's song into their own. Just look to Ocean's "Ocean Montana," his take on Autotune warbler Future's "Tony Montana," as proof.
This mixtape is for sure a mixed bag, with less-talented Wrongkind rappers filling up space. But that should be expected from a low-stakes mixtape compilation like this. If you put the Mitch tracks together with the Youngkind tracks and throw in "Loot Hungry" from incarcerated-but-dope lyricist Lil' Spank Booty (yeah, that's his rap name), you've got a pretty solid listen.
Quan Vu Quan Vu is the founder and editor of local music blog sdRAPS.com. He has also written about local and national hip-hop acts for San Diego CityBeat and the San Diego Reader. You can nerd out on rap trivia by becoming BFF's on Facebook or e-mailing him directly.