17 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The streaming era introduced a number of unlikely new stars in the hip-hop world, fueled by viral songs that tended to defy genre conventions. Amid this proverbial gold rush of the 2010s came Smokepurpp, a Miami rapper with lyrics as explicit as those of his city’s regional rap originators 2 Live Crew. The popularity of his independently released tracks led to major-label arrangements and the 2017 release of the uncompromising Deadstar. While that mixtape often trembled under the deliberately distorted bass weight of producer Ronny J, who returns here on the overdriven “Audi II,” its sequel, Deadstar 2, employs a range of producers like Apex Martin and Go Grizzly with far less abrasive intent. What that decision reveals here is the unveiling of Smokepurpp as more of a developed artist than many might have given him credit for. “Robbin Robbin” finds him flexing and Auto-Tune-crooning over a hypnagogic trap beat, while the easygoing “Ariba” has a Young Thug-like effervescence. Even his choice of features reflects his transition well, as he builds with Lil Pump and Ty Dolla $ign alike.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The streaming era introduced a number of unlikely new stars in the hip-hop world, fueled by viral songs that tended to defy genre conventions. Amid this proverbial gold rush of the 2010s came Smokepurpp, a Miami rapper with lyrics as explicit as those of his city’s regional rap originators 2 Live Crew. The popularity of his independently released tracks led to major-label arrangements and the 2017 release of the uncompromising Deadstar. While that mixtape often trembled under the deliberately distorted bass weight of producer Ronny J, who returns here on the overdriven “Audi II,” its sequel, Deadstar 2, employs a range of producers like Apex Martin and Go Grizzly with far less abrasive intent. What that decision reveals here is the unveiling of Smokepurpp as more of a developed artist than many might have given him credit for. “Robbin Robbin” finds him flexing and Auto-Tune-crooning over a hypnagogic trap beat, while the easygoing “Ariba” has a Young Thug-like effervescence. Even his choice of features reflects his transition well, as he builds with Lil Pump and Ty Dolla $ign alike.

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