2012 saw the 22 year old Vegas native release debut album Smokeout Conversations, follow up mixtape Free Smokeout Conversations and EP The First Agreement, (Funk Volume label mate Hopsin could learn from this). Earlier this year Dizzy was named to the 2013 edition of the prestigious XXL Freshman List, which in turn saw the release of ‘Still Movin’, ‘Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop’ & ‘World Peace’ as sneak peeks of upcoming mixtape The Golden Age, well it’s finally dropped, and it does not disappoint.
Dizzy’s laid-back, stoner flow effortlessly tramples along the superb 90’s influenced production, while recruiting some of the top rappers in the game to contribute verses. Funk volume affiliates Jarren Benton, SwizZz and Hopsin all feature while Wright collaborates with Pro Era members Joey Bada$$ and Kirk Knight, as well as fellow XXL Freshman Logic and popular West Coast rapper Kid Ink.
Dizzy’s lyrical themes range from pop culture criticisms, positive thinking, life lessons, philosophy, love and women. Oh, and marijuana. However, The Golden Age proves he is far, far from a “weed rapper” which is one of his main criticisms. On the contrary, Wright seems to be wise beyond his years.
The first half of the immense 22-track mixtape features many songs dropped prior to the actual release; ‘The Flavor ft. SwizZz’, ‘Maintain ft. Joey Bada$$’, ‘Killem With Kindness’, ‘Still Movin’ and ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’. For first time listeners of these tracks they may well be the stand-outs; ‘The Flavor’ features one of the catchier hooks on the mixtape, with stand-out verses from Dizzy and SwizZz, who is pretty underrated in my opinion. ‘Maintain’ features the aforementioned wisdom of Dizzy, preaching advice to anyone in tough situations to remain cool and persistent, while Joey Bada$$ adds a standard hyper-lyrical verse. ‘Killem With Kindness’ is one of my favourite songs on the album, it sees a deeper introspection on Dizzy’s life and supplies the listener with some background knowledge; particularly his mother’s struggles to raise him on her lonesome and his duty to his own daughter. All this with one of the silkiest, rolling beats on the mixtape, perfectly suited to Dizzy’s chilled tone and persona. ‘Still Movin’ and ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’ showcase the hunger and grind of the independent music game; Dizzy and Funk Volume are advocates of this musical path, and these tracks stand as testaments to it. These songs are my favourties on the first half of the mixtape, but ‘Welcome Home’ and ‘Progression’ are solid tracks too.
A few things I didn’t like however, were the Hopsin and Kid Ink features. ‘Bout That Life’ was a good track but I really didn’t feel Hopsin’s verse at all, he could’ve done a lot better on a song that had potential to skyrocket the Funk Volume name. Also, ‘Fashion’ featuring Kid Ink and Honey Cocaine was disappointing. I thought it was pretty contradictory of the rest of the album, a materialistic ode to fashion, with an annoying as fuck hook. Apart from these few things, the first half of The Golden Age is pretty damn sick.
The second half of the mixtape is where I believe most of the gems lie. ‘Untouchable’ is one of my favourite songs on the album, Logic flaunts his flow and serves up a pretty slick verse (aside from the line “I signed to Def Jam, because I’m the man”, that was weak as fuck.) The song also features Kirk Knight, hailing from Joey Bada$$’s Pro Era group, who normally features as a producer but has some really interesting bars in this song with abundantly creative wordplay and lyricism, and as always Dizzy is cool as shit in his part.
The following two tracks are great too, both are produced by Rikio and are once again perfect for Dizzy. ‘Tellem My Name’ boasts the anthemic hook “D-I-Z-Z-Y…. Wright”, while ‘World Peace’ is one of my all-time favourite Dizzy tracks. Thematically, ‘World Peace’ looks at a young Dizzy’s dreams and life, fast-forwarding to where he is now, sharing his advice and personal philosophies. The track also has another infectious hook; “Lately I’ve been feeling a certain way, peace signs in every picture that I take, I represent world peace. Smoking weed until the feeling goes away, spreading love until I’m in and out my day, I represent world peace.” From here, I feel the closing three tracks are some of the best on the mixtape. ‘The Golden Ghetto’ is a definite stand-out while ‘We Turned Out Alright’ features the legendary Wyclef Jean on the hook, which adds an emotional element to Dizzy’s tale of making it from the gutter. The last song ‘The New Age’ is produced by Rikio once again, and paints a portrait of a struggling underground artist and the resulting views of mainstream society and music. He basically sends out a warning/message that he’s one of the best MC’s in the game right now, and he makes it believable for sure. A really nice way to finish off the mixtape; there is a definite new age of hip hop coming along, and I’m fucking excited to be able to witness it.
The Golden Age has to be in the running for best mixtape of the year so far, although it’s probably 7 or 8 tracks too long it holds some real classics.
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