Review ·

Harlem's Jae Millz, who calls himself "The Statue," appears on the cover of his latest mixtape, 2005 Is Mine, in appropriate form: next to Ms. Liberty herself. He's holding it down, in case you didn't pick up on it, and given what's actually on the mixtape, it may not be long before you agree with him.

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Millz is the dude who got at Ness on Puffy's Making da Band a couple years back, then dropped one of the last great hip-hop singles, "No, No, No." He's been buzzing for awhile, allowing just enough time in between appearances so that his accomplishments look like they've spanned longer than they really have. This mixtape is the preview for his (hopefully) upcoming debut, Back to the Future, scheduled to drop this summer on Universal/Wanna Blow. It kicks off with the menacing "Statue," where Millz's whispers underneath a lurching timpani boom make him sound like another Jay from New York. "What's Up What's Up" shows off his Southern drawl against pimp-stroll handclaps before returning home with a pair of freestyles, one to Alchemist's "Hold You Down," the other over Jadakiss's "By Your Side."

Millz is in his zone the whole way through, stepping up his flow to murder freestyles like "Take Them Back" and slowing it down to fit a groove on "Stop Me." He's got a gift for jacking beats, flipping verses on Kanye West's "Spaceship" and Young Buck's "Bonafide Hustler." But he gets a little overzealous and ends up stumbling over remakes of the Ice Cube classic "It Was a Good Day" and another West track, "Jesus Walks," two cuts that are more than just backdrops for rhymes.

Lyrically, Millz is into sex and celebrity but doesn't try to impress with tales of selling coke or cinematic shoot-outs. He's super-confident but has the goods ("Who wanna try Jae?/ Fuck it, I'll battle myself now/ MJ-style, nigga/ Spinnin' myself 'round," from "Statue") to prove it's not shallow hype. He'll have to dig deeper on his full-length, but if he can maintain the swagger and versatility he shows on this mixtape, "The Statue" should become a permanent fixture.

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"It's Whateva," featuring Fat Joe, mp3

"Streetz Melting" and "No, No, No" mp3s

- 2005

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