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The new king of LA tops off a strong year with this sprawling 30 track mixtape. Drakeo the Ruler is one of the most unique and consistent acts out of the West right now. With a laidback flow and nearly whispered lyrics, he exudes charisma across his music; Obscure slang and funny but threatening imagery build up a one of a kind style even amidst the burgeoning LA/Bay Area revival. Alongside acts such as Shoreline Mafia, 03 Greedo, Mozzy, Ralfy the Plug, Ketchy the Great, Rjmrla, and the late great Bris, this wave of dark “neo-hyphy” has had a strong regional emergence. Over minimalist, bouncy production and high-pitched G funk inspired synths, Drakeo has made a name for himself with his unique style, as well a spure quality and consistency (in addition to the noted prison stint). Coming off 2017’s essential Cold Devil among many others, he dropped The Truth Hurts earlier this year. With the big Drake assist, chilling build up on the intro, and infectious hooks, it was among his best work.
Now we have So Cold I Do Em 2, a bit of a victory lap for Drakeo as evidenced by the clips collected on the introduction. At over an hour and a half in length and packed with freestyles and remixes (feeling a bit more like a compilation than anything), it is a surprisingly easy listen. Across all that, there really isn’t a dull moment (apart from the blank minutes left at the end of some tracks; The cropping seems to have been done hastily). Production, while distinctly West Coast, is actually rather sparse and leans a bit colder than usual which fits the tape’s theme nicely. This includes a remix of Shoreline Mafia’s stellar “Bands”. Nothing is really new for Drakeo on this project, so there are still plenty of fun hooks (“I break dance when I get the bag”, “Bitch I been had uchies”) and rambling flexes. “Eye of the Tiger” is an epic closer with the brief guitar sample at the beginning and a warning for anyone still hating. The tape’s greatest highlights are actually the freestyles. When freestyling, it seems like Drakeo is forced to invest a bit heavier in his bars (as opposed to finding breaks for the beat and thinking of something catchy) and it’s a welcome change of pace. He shows off respectable pure lyricism here. “Betcha” is particularly impressive: A full six minute freestyle with no room to breathe. Finally, the features all have solid performance. AllBlack and Rjmrla deliver standout verses, while Ralfy and Ketchy outdo their typical showings.
Overall, So Cold I Do Em 2 is an enjoyable listen for any Drakeo fan and caps off an impressive year. You get all of his usual charisma as well as a taste of some more raw work from Mr. Hundiddy Bop. While it might not reach the highs of some of his previous projects, there are plenty of tracks worth adding to your playlist.
Listen to So Cold I Do Em 2 here: