“Mixtape or Mistake” is a brand new column from KCPR’s very own hip-hop savant, Noah Simpson. Every week (or two or three), Simpson will take on a relevant hip-hop mixtape and save you some time by answering the age old question: Is the release of bonafide mixtape or just a – mistake?
Gucci Mane seems to have the Midas touch when it comes to co-signing artists. He’s helped launch the careers of several A-listers, including 21 Savage, Waka Flocka Flame, and Young Thug.
He may have just hit another goldmine with the signing of his newest artist, Atlanta’s Ralo.
Ralo first appeared to me in a verse of Young Thug’s 2016 mixtape, I’m Up. Usually it’s easy for a verse from a random rapper to slip by, but Ralo’s was different. He jumped on Thug’s track “My Boys” with an approach that I’ve never heard. Ralo’s voice instantly caught my attention; it was possibly the highest pitch noise I’ve ever heard come out of a rapper. At first, I thought it was some sort of joke verse. Fortunately, Ralo is for real. He makes that evident on his newest release Famerican Gangster II.
The drug dealer turned rapper has slowly been growing his name and rapping abilities over the years and his work has paid off. While you would probably better recognize him as Birdman’s right hand man during the whole “put some respect on my name” debacle, it’s time to give Ralo a shot.
Upon first glance, Famerican Gangster II may seem like 58 minutes of some weird sounding dude yelling at you. It is, but it’s also a lot more. Ralo pours his heart into every song with seemingly endless stories to tell. Moving drugs to pay the bills, falling in and out of jail, and failing to surround himself with loyalty are a few of the narratives that Ralo weaves into his story.
If you’re looking for some anthems look no farther than “My Brothers” featuring Future, or “Young N****” featuring a trifecta of trap’s hottest — Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, and Lil Yatchy.
A personal favorite, “How Could You” shows a more vulnerable side to Ralo. His story is interesting and impassioned, making it easy keep my attention and embrace his emotion.
Ralo seems to be a perfect fit for the Atlanta rap scene. With support from Thug, Future, and Gucci he has the perfect opportunity to grow. Along with the uniqueness of his voice and his unexpectedly catchy “Famgoon!” adlib, I don’t see why Ralo shouldn’t blow up. Famerican Gangster II is a great project that I hope won’t get overlooked, it has grit, character, and a whole lot of heart.
Noah Simpson, who writes this article, is a KCPR DJ and Cal Poly political science sophomore. He spins his favorites on Saturdays from noon to 2 p.m. on KCPR San Luis Obispo 91.3 FM and KCPR.org.