Big Grim Reaper: The Return (Deluxe Edition)

Big Grim Reaper: The Return (Deluxe Edition)

Before his tragic passing at the end of 2022, Big Scarr had nearly perfected the art of muted menace. Emerging from South Memphis, he combined his indifferent baritone with equally matter-of-fact trench logistics for pummeling street raps that brimmed with decisiveness and controlled charisma. It's a talent that earned him a deal with Gucci Mane's 1017 Records, and it resonates especially on Big Grim Reaper: The Return, the deluxe edition of his debut mixtape. Checking in at 30 tracks, The Return fortifies the original with steely bars and beats that can eviscerate any speaker system. While the layers of viciousness can vary, most of the songs are threaded by ominous production, which only serves to enhance his engrossing on-wax persona. For the Offset-assisted "Fantasy," he intersperses the tale of his come-up with spurts of dismissive death threats and surprisingly vivid flexes; without a roof, he can see the solar system from his space coupe. Gliding over the ghostly horns of "MJ," Big Scarr distills destruction through a touch of winking humor, threatening to step on enemies with designer shoes. The quips spill out with the lethal calm of a crime boss. In Scarr's younger days, you could almost hear him improving in real time. On "Frozone," he mentions that he'd only been rapping for six months, and for that particular track, he flaunts more varied tonal inflections and rhyme patterns that point toward a broader range of sounds. "In Color" sees him at his most inventive, comparing his Off-White belt buckle to margarine before flashing an AK he got straight from Russia. Sliding over insistent piano, Scarr turns "SoIcyBoyz 3" into another progress report, holding his own with both his label boss and his cousin Pooh Shiesty, benefactors who saw subtle magic in all the darkness.

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