Real talk, Red Cafe’s nickname should’ve probably been the Journeyman. Dude went from Franchise to Mack 10’s Hoo Bangin’ to Arista to Capital Records to RCA to Konvict Muzik. Finally the Brooklynite seems to have found a home with P. Diddy and is currently signed to Bad Boy Records. Many hip-hop heads believe that Red Café is one of NYC’s hip-hop saviors and I can truly say that from some of the sounds he put together on this mixtape that’s not such a far fetched idea.

The man’s been signed countless times to major labels for a reason. Well, when he spits rhymes like, “I can hurl on a beat/slick talk a chick, put your girl on the street/make her work for free, in turn for a “G”/listen closely, you can learn from a “G”/ball hard like the Boston Celtics/they’ll be celebrating when I’m gone like Elvis/expect money in boxes like Kubricks/bubble like the ’93 Lexus/I own stocks in Serius I’m serious/so raw I’m Eddie Murphy, delirious/Bad Boy like whatever P. Diddy is/I must say I’m quite good at this, period!” (“So Easy”), It’s not hard to see why A&R’s were so enamored with the kid. Other joints like “Light’s Low,” “Hottest In The Hood" Remix and “Criminal Minded” were so bananas that there isn’t any doubt that my real street gorillas out there are gonna gobble these joints up!

But on the flip side Red just couldn’t sell me on his commercial joints like “First Night,” “Every Girl,” and “Nympho.” He can definitely run the streets with his hardcore joints. His voice is built to keep heads in the hood nodding, not girls in the club grinding. And I was definitely disappointed when he went the Auto-Tune route with “Birthday Sex.” Word to everything, Auto-Tune should be recognized by the hip-hop community as the latest STD to diminish our culture. It’s killing us slowly but not in the good Lauryn Hill way.

When RC’s melting tracks with street flames like “General” and “Ain’t Going Nowhere” he’s a problem to be reckoned with. His rhymes and overall demeanor on a hard track make for great hip-hop music. But when he goes into that club mode and begins to experiment with Auto-Tune and whatnot, that’s where his craft suffers and sets him back a few steps. While he has all the potential to help bring the East Coast music back, it’s now on Puff on which direction Red goes with his music. That’s a scary thought…-The Infamous O

Hottest Joint: “Criminal Minded”

Weakest Joint: “Birthday Sex”