Review ·

With Propane Piff, Agallah, also known as the Don Bishop, formerly 8-Off the Assassin, has illustrated just how these mixtapes can stand, creatively, in the place of rap albums. The elements are vivid and maximized: colorful ideas, eye-catching artwork, clear quality, tight mixing, no needless drops or interludes, careful beat selection, original production. Agallah, gruff-voiced and reminiscent of a crime boss, moves swiftly, blending corner reports with stirring escapism, blunted weed breaks and cautionary boasts, cramming thirty tracks into seventy-five minutes, leaving a thick smoke cloud in his exit.

 

Most things benefit from their association with the tape as a whole -- the "Bandeleros" remix, for example, is something different, not something great -- but the standouts are everywhere. The hard-rock-lifting "N.Y. Survival" quickly becomes a pride anthem. "So High," with its plaintive flute notes, is late-night highway music. "Who Never Made It" is sweltering hood opera. Even the borrowed "Whoop Ya Head," from G-Unit, is made to feel at home in Propane Piff's context. Agallah is confident yet reserved, never forcing his lines or fishing the bait for too long. He stands at a distance, strings and high-hats hovering, beat blasting, like he's got all the time in the world. If this is the new beginning, we can return the hospitality.

 

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Label site (streaming audio): http://www.babygrande.com/

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