Official Bootlegs
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Despite his long-overdue debut, Don’t Quit Your Day Job, getting released with little to no fanfare, Consequence isn’t ready to fold. Instead, Kanye’s buddy returns with a brand-new mixtape, The Cons Vol. 5: Refuse to Die. His decision to work with 50 Cent’s DJ, Whoo Kid, on the project should raise a brow or two, but when it comes down to making music, affiliations don’t always matter.

Whoo Kid limits his usual nonstop barrage of self-identifying drops and lets the mixtape play like a continuation of Day Job. The pensive “Uncle Rahiem,” about a shiesty elder, set over moody horns, is a choice holdover from Cons’ aforementioned debut. Similarly, “Don’t You Forget ’Em (Remix)” features an unreleased verse from Kanye that also didn’t make the LP version.

When it comes to straight mixtape material, though, slick wordplay is still Cons’ strongest suit. On “Breakfast of Champions,” the G.O.O.D. Music associate finesses double entendres about the day’s most important meal over Gang Starr’s “Skills” instrumental: “My money tied up, but she expect me to trick/And when I didn’t, the bitch told me kiss my grits/And my reply to that was as simple as this/‘My bank is like a bowl of batter, and you ain’t in the mix.’”

Cons-to-the-Quence finds further strengths over other people’s hits. While he drops lively bars to up-tempo tracks from Beyoncé (“Sugar Mama”), Musiq Soulchild (“Make You Happy”), Patti Labelle (“Anything”) and Mary J. Blige (“Dollar Bill”), the Queens rapper misleads listeners by labeling his beat jacks “features.” He steps further out of his jurisdiction on the lone reggae cut “Blind to You (Remix),” by Collie Buddz, where ’Quence brags, “I gave all your favorite artists a line or two.”

Fortunately, Cons doesn’t give away all his good lines. He skillfully details his trife life growing up in the Q-borough over the rhythmic rocker “Q.U.E. Another E.N.S.” As long as he picks his own beats and writes his own rhymes, Cons will stay off rap unemployment.—ALVIN BLANCO