V Don – Better Than Money (Review)

Producer V Don has provided us with some of the most unique production in the NY scene. With tracks under his belt with the likes of A$AP Rocky, The Game & 2 Chainz, his more recent material has turned towards the new school underground. The talent pool he’s pulled together has been incredible, teaming up with some of the best spitters out to date. His most recent release is the start of what will certainly be another prolific year for the producer.

A killer intro is brought to us with the likes of Rome Streetz & Ankhlejohn, who bring bars about scamming & dealing just to get by. Drums bang away as Rome spits grimy raps, and Ankhlejohn provides the perfect balance to the track with his unique flow. While Ankhlejohn might not originate from NY and Rome is a Londoner, it paints a picture of how these stories are shared all across America. V Don maybe from NY, but his production captures the entire nation.

One commendable aspect of the project is how it flows seemingly effortlessly, each beat flows directly into each other. If there’s a break in the track list, it usually due to a snippet from a movie or TV show that captures the criminal mindset further. Its immediately apparent from “Roll the Dice” to “In The Evening,” a small skit & then its right into the next beat. True care went into the sequencing of the project, while other producers might just string their compilations together, V Don treats it as an art form.

The title track of the project is one of the biggest highlights, a track featuring Eto & Wille the Kid. Eto & V Don have proven to be a great duo, but some of V Don’s best material has also been some of Willie’s best. This track sees a beat switch that lets Willie have the rest of the track for himself, feeling like a lost cut off of one of their official collaborations. Its a track that shows V Don’s skills as a producer too, as it may have a beat switch, but it feels like an extension of the original beat rather than being derivative.

While the track list is filled with highlights, easily the weakest track here comes in the form of “Dark Knight.” We hear Adonis rap from the perspective of Batman, in a night where he killed The Joker. Adonis puts a solid performance, and the beat from V Don feels like it has origins in some Italian mob film, but the concept at its core is cheesy. Its reminiscent of what someone like Papoose would pull together, a gimmicky track that gets played out quickly.

V Don’s end doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight, he continues to impress no matter who he works with. This project doesn’t even display his talents as a trap producer, something he got to show a little bit recently on the collaboration with Retch. This project feels less of the a serious project & more of a warning shot, letting other producer know he’s coming for the top spot of the year. He lets others know if they’re not on board yet, they need to be.

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