Yo Gotti
Cocaine Muzik 4

Beats: XL
Lyrics: L
Originality: L

After experiencing mainstream success thanks to “Five Star,” the 106 & Park-worthy single from his 2009 mixtape Cocaine Muzik 3, Yo Gotti bounced back with the fourth installment of his DJ Drama-hosted mixtape series. While the short break could have potentially weakened his overall product, CM4 is filled with more than enough synth-heavy street anthems to keep the Memphis rapper’s profile higher than ever in 2010.

From the emotional “M-Town,” where he addresses how he went from small-town hustler to the self-proclaimed king of Memphis, to his freestyle over the New Boyz hit, “Jerk,” where he chastises “fake-ass dope boys,” Gotti is clearly still the same old G. Whether he’s rapping about moving weight over Dorrough’s “Ice Cream” instrumental or huddling up with a bunch of sports metaphors on the bouncy “Touchdown,” nothing ever sounds contrived coming from Gotti.

In fact, the only thing that holds CM4 back from being just as strong as any of his previous efforts is that Gotti uses his latest mixtape to showcase fellow Memphis rapper Zedzilla on nine of the mixtape’s 18 tracks. It works well when the pair pop bottles on the slow-tempo “In The Club,” but it frequently slows any momentum the tape picks up. But Gotti does enough to balance out his less-experienced counterpart on tracks like the Lil Wayne-assisted “Women Lie, Men Lie,” which only amplifies the growing hype surrounding him. “Ain’t no secret, niggas know I got next,” he raps. “Got swagger through the roof, I was born just to flex.” If Gotti stays this consistent, it’s only a matter of time. —Chris Yuscavage