Dope boys with hustle and flow seem to be all the rage nowadays. Riding the wave ignited by trap stars like T.I. and Young Jeezy is Atlanta native Yung Joc, the latest find from Diddy’s Southern diplomat Block. Luckily, the 23-year-old’s cocksure debut, New Joc City, detours from anonymity and balances topical familiarity with undeniably star-making mojo.
Joc’s wit runs rampant on “Dope Boy Magic,” where he fires off endless head-turning punch lines while skillfully experimenting with different sequential number combinations (“Three out of 10 niggas is some haters/Be-Four it’s too late, five shots to your tater”). Despite slightly swagger-jacking T.I.’s flow on “Hear Me Commin’,” the freshman MC glides atop Los Vegaz’s frantic trumpets and cymbal crashes with ease.
Unfortunately, Joc does have his limitations. Focusing on stroking his ego and lifting skirts throughout, the ATLien’s subject matter goes in cliché circles. The obligatory car tribute “Flip Flop,” featuring Jody Breeze and Big Duke, is bogged down by such bland similes as, “Paint’s dripping like it’s fresh out the shower.” Even less stimulating are his attempts at seduction. The Marques Houston–assisted “First Time” is a poor man’s slow jam complete with limp acoustics and mood-killing pickup lines like, “Give me ya Vicky Secrets, tell me all ya dirt/You smell like peaches, must be that Bath and Body Works.”
Corny brand-name drops aside, Joc does display vast potential, as evidenced by his Nitti-produced single “It’s Goin Down” and the rapid-fire “I’m Him.” But it’s the poignant “Picture Perfect” that reveals that there’s more to this young trapper than meets the ear. Backed by producer Lvis’ faint organ bed, Joc exposes the often-unseen ills of fame with succinct clarity (“Niggas in these videos with these multiplatinum projects/Can’t even get a credit card and their mama still in the projects”). To raise New Joc City’s population, this Yungster needs to expand on such wisdom in the future.—MATT BARONE