Despite not having released a major label backed album since his 2007 Asylum/Warner Bros. offering I Need Mine, Lil Flip has maintained his status as one of H-Town’s finest, with a constant output of independent albums and mixtapes. Though they may not mirror the success he saw with smash single "Game Over" and the platinum-selling U Gotta Feel Me in 2004, they allow his name to remain relevant in Southern cirlces. With his latest drop #KissThePinkyRang, the Clover G offers up another purple dosage of the distinct flow and creative wordplay that first caught the ear of DJ Screw over 10 years ago.

While Flip’s subject matter mostly consists of your typical rap braggadocio, it’s how he makes full use of his vocabulary that makes him stand out. He’s a naturally illustrative lyricist and still knows how to play with words and concoct impressive-sounding in-bar rhymes, spitting on “ADIDAS,” “Me and Scoopa in the cougar, with a German Luger/I’m stackin’ gouda, my Indian chick from Chatanooga.” Flip also shines on “My Jewelry” with Yo Gotti, and later on “Listen to Your Heart,” his own flip of 1988 Swedish pop single of the same name. On the latter, the Houston emcee shows a different, softer side, sharing his personal ups and downs, including a tale of a friend locked up over involvement with drugs and guns. "Quarterback Vision" exhibits the braided-rhymer's conceptual side, as he creatively compares football to life in the ghetto ("When you see the judge, lookout for the whistle/And you can challenge the play long as yo' lawyer official," he raps).

Flip knows it's no longer the "Game Over"-era, and seems to have accepted that as he's matured, rhyming on "I Told Ya So," "All my cars black, so MTV wanna see the fleet/But I decline, I want money, not the fame/I'm 30 now, so I don't rap too much about my chain." And though #KissThePinkyRang is a solid release overall, there’s not much that separates it from his other 20 or so mixtapes (of the past year). Flip Gates seems to be content in the realm of the transient mixtape circuit, in which his releases sustain their buzz until he drops the next one—and considering his track record, that shouldn’t be too far away. But until then, stack your styrofoam and give #KTPR a listen. —NMB