Los Angeles rapper Pacman da Gunman, protege and signee of the late great Nipsey Hussle, has been carving out a nice lane for himself in recent years. Dropping tough, trappy West Coast raps, he’s rather versatile and has something for fans of any Cali style. That made Hit-Boy the perfect collaborator on their new project Bulletproof Soul. While Hit has been on a strong, prolific run these past few years (collabing most notably with Nas, Benny the Butcher, and Big Sean), this marks a return to his greatest strength: West Coast bangers. Reminiscent of his roots and his stellar collab album with SOB x RBE, Pacman and Hit-Boy bring the best out of each other on this short, sweet listen.
Palm itching so I’m on my way to get it
Keep them peoples out my business, I ain’t struggled in a minute
Now she always in her feelings, I ain’t fucked her in a minute…
Not your average, Imma go in for the gutter
I’m a nigga that’s gon’ take it there every single summer
The album opens with “Not Your Average”, where Pacman immediately starts flowing and he spouts confidence. This is a quintessential Hit-Boy beat, with that deep G Funk bass and the surfer style melody. “Told Us Not to Do It” features Peezy of Detroit’s Team Eastside, continuing the city’s cultural influence and link to Cali, as well as Hit-Boy’s continued strength in that upbeat Michigan trap style. “The Cycle” slows things down a bit, with Hit dropping a dreamier beat with a subtle vocal sample. While it might be some softer production, Pacman keeps spitting and gets reflective; Nipsey would be proud, hearing the hunger and street wisdom Pac drops hear
Pacman Da Gunman & Hit-Boy – New Heat (feat. J Stone)
The next song “New Heat” features fellow All Money In artist J Stone, an essential name in the scene who commands the mic and would benefit from some more work with Hit-Boy himself. Trading bars with Pacman, this is another softer cut (highlighted by the occasional electric guitar riff) which shows the tight bond these artists share through all the bullshit. “Find a Balance” has a drumbreak and heavily chopped, muffled vocal sample which match perfectly and just make you want to move. It’s the perfect fit for Pacman’s flow, concept of balancing street and family life, and that soul sound is also where featured artist Dom Kennedy is right at home. Bulletproof Soul is full of these slept on LA cats who have such an essential, traditional lane.
I was Hit-Boy on the block, wasn’t missing a beat!
“Cold Nights on 60th Street” is possibly the record’s greatest highlight; With a funky horn that builds so nicely, it is Pacman’s most direct and emotional tale of coming up rough and making it in the game. It all wraps up with “Till We Meet Again”, a beat which even on it’s own could get you teary eyed with that panning sample at the front. It’s the perfect soundscape for Pacman to address all his lost loved one’s, family and homies alike, looking forward to seeing them once all this bullshit in the streets is over. Bulletproof Soul is a great artistic step forward for both Pacman da Gunman and Hit-Boy, who show a range of emotion and sound at home together. There’s so much potential on both ends and we can’t wait to see what comes next.