Twenty-three years old and Aftermath’s newest hype. This is Chaz “G.A.G.E.” Scott’s good fortune, and he’s eating it up knife and fork. (G.A.G.E. is an acronym for Germantown Avenue Gotta Eat.) Aftermath relationships don’t always jump off as planned (remember Hitman?), but at the very least, G.A.G.E. will leave behind this, a fiery mixtape that shows off his tree-bark flow over a stockpile of great beats.
Philly-born-and-bred, G.A.G.E. weaves gritty hard-knock life cinema through a grittier, nasal delivery capped off by typical Aftermath punch lines (“Still don’t get it?/ Just sit and I’ll laugh at ya/ I’m gone, Detox touring in Africa” from the B.I.G.-borrowed “Dress to Impress”) and moments of shuddering regret (the “Dear Mama” relent of “Don’t Come Down”). There’s a bit too much gun talk and an unhealthy obsession with strippers and groupies (the awfully misogynistic “I Know”), but G.A.G.E. is at his best when he’s going for broke and, luckily, Crack, Murder & Missed Meals offers a solid lineup of freestyle highlights. “Straight Spittin” jacks LL’s perfect “4,3,2,1” beat and lets G.A.G.E. run off an abbreviated bio (“A protégé of the doctor/ I resemble my father/ Drugs in the locker/ Black Maybach-a/ It was a time I kept the coke in the sock/ That was back when G.A.G.E. was broker than the stocks”). “East Side Story” is Game’s “Westside Story” on a different coast: “Brass here/ Check cleared/ G.A.G.E. bought a black leer/ Every day Christmas, mommy/ I make it rain, dear.”
He can write songs, too. The incredible “Cannon,” here in remix form featuring Busta Rhymes and T.I., creeps into murda-muzik zone through extended horns and chain-gang beat slaps while some old white guy says “cannon” every few bars. But it’s not what the track does for G.A.G.E.; it’s what G.A.G.E. does for himself, holding his own next to two of the game’s greatest scene-stealers. It’s an indication that he’s comfortable with stardom which is exactly the kind of thing he needs if he wants to stay on Aftermath.
G.A.G.E. Web site (streaming audio)Streaming audio