In the year since he debuted on the scene, Atlanta native Trinidad James has skyrocketed to the forefront of urban music. As he embarks on the post-‘All Gold Everything’ portion of his career with a new mixtape, ’10 Pc. Mild,’ the follow-up to last year’s ‘Don’t Be S.A.F.E.’ He released the tracklist last week and revealed features ranging from trap artists like Gucci Mane to wordsmiths Danny Brown and Childish Gambino. However, the question remains if Jame$ can handle an entire mixtape without the lightning in a bottle that blew up his career.
The Atlanta rapper doesn’t really rap, per se, as you’d think he’d have to on ’10 Pc. Mild.’ Rather, he performs in a series of galvanizing chants and rants filtered through his rough delivery and yelps. It’s a fairly limited approach but somehow it works through these 10 tracks. There isn’t a dull moment on this collection, whether it’s through his hyper-aggressive shouts on ‘Material Thing$ Hard To Deal With’ or his mantra proclamation on the solid ‘Ro$enberg$.’
Jame$ doesn’t push himself all that much here as he has great production to fall back on. With the likes of Westwood, J. Pardon & Villo and XXYYXX on call, ’10 Pc. Mild’ features a range of bass heavy, synthy beats aimed to inspire unsavory behavior. There’s an urgent sobriety to it all. The odd beat out is K.E. On The Track’s hypnotic, female vocals on the instrumental. Its soothing tone is a sharp contrast to the rest of the production, but then you look at the title of the track: ‘Hip$ter $trip Club.’ This might just be what a hipster strip club actually sounds like.
The guest verses on ’10 Pc. Mild’ feel like they come in at the wrong time, interrupting Jame$’ flow rather than support it. The beat changes with Playa Fly’s appearance on ‘Quez,’ but it still doesn’t feel like he’s saying much of anything. Earlier on ‘Material Thing$ Hard to Deal With,’ CyHi The Prince completely drops the ball with a horrendously predictable line correlating firefight hoses and women. The features aren’t a total loss though as Danny Brown comes in with “Powder stains on designer clothes” in his great verse on ‘Quez.’
Gucci Mane’s “I’m a trap n—-, I’m not hip-hop” line on the solid album-closer ‘Ea$tside’ encapsulates Trinidad Jame$’ entertainment value. He doesn’t have to try to silence critics by changing up his mainstream style for something more conscious. As long as he entertains, that’s good enough.