Review ·

Like all Purple City/Dipset/Diplomat/whatever affiliates, DK appears from nowhere with huge industry connects and about four albums' worth of material. On his debut mixtape, DK gets Kay Slay to host and a Kanye-produced track, "If Not Me Then Who?" He's got potential -- comfortable mike control, witty punch lines, soulful taste -- but he might be reaching too far, especially when he throws around the word "king" and counts himself among the "top five, ever" in "Smoke La," which rides the beat from "Fu-Gee-La."

 

There's more than enough to back up lesser claims, though. "Mercenary," featuring the 730 Paperboyz (another crew; this is how Purple City membership grows), is a ridiculously good appropriation of Dirty South craziness, boasting sawing violins and crystal keys and anchored by the kind of stop-on-a-dime flow Cam'ron pulled off beautifully on Killa Season's "We Make Change." DK holds up surprisingly well over the course of the tape, adapting easily to curveball beats and finding grooves as both a hardcore street rapper and a crunked-up club popper. He's rock steady over the squealing soul of "The Corner," then amped up on the punchy "Ride 4 Me, Ride 4 You." "Testify" is the way-too-brief highlight, a ninety-second freestyle where DK murders his way through video-game bubble sound effects and stabbing syth-lines lurking around the corner. Word of advice: keep making tracks like this and let the top-five lists fall where they may.

 

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