By Alec Matuszak
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Hip-hop album releases just keep on coming lately, and there’s much more in store for April. Super-producer turned artist Mike Will Made It released the second installment in the ‘Ransom’ series to fan praise and critical acclaim. Although Mike Will Made It’s vocals are only heard sparingly throughout the album, his presence is still felt throughout the length of the project thanks to his hard-hitting and varied production style.
Mike Will first bursted onto the scene with the help of Gucci Mane (Gucci mane has played a role in launching several careers out of Atlanta) and ever since then, Mike Will has capitalized on Gucci’s endorsement of him. Mike Will branched out of his typical trap-influenced style to produce for stars such as Miley Cyrus and Rihanna. His placements and collaborations with highly successful artists have launched his career into a new stratosphere. The producer/artist now has a record label of his own, under the Interscope label. The first group he signed, Rae Sremmurd, consists of two brothers from Mississippi, responsible for the smash hits ‘Black Beatles’ and ‘No Type’.
The two brothers from Mississippi play a major role on this ‘Ransom 2’ project and serve as some of the many highlights on the record. Their collaboration with Chicago drill artist Chief Keef is a standout on the album. Each of the brothers voices compliment each other and make for an interesting sound. Other major players in the rap game today are featured on the album as well. Legends like Pharrell Williams and Lil Wayne are featured as well as trap stars Gucci Mane, 21 Savage, and Migos. The instrumentals on this album are a highlight as one would expect from a producer, but sometimes the production and the rapping do not complement each other well. For example, Kendrick Lamar’s feature on this album seem forced and out of place, as compared to Future’s feature in which the artist rapped over the beat effortlessly as he’s done several times in the past. The intro track on this album is perhaps the strongest on the project. Big Sean’s passion can be heard through his voice and the subject matter hits home for many listeners, reminding them of Sean’s struggle to rise to fame. The opera vocals on this beat are a nice surprise and pleasantly compliment the rest of the track.
Mike Will’s sophomore album is a welcome addition to many of the rap albums that have been released this week, time will tell if this project can stand the test of time and hold listener’s attention spans through the rest of the spring.