After an impressive major-label debut in May on Maybach Music Group compilation Self Made Vol. 1, Atlanta rapper Pill makes his return to the mixtape circuit to drop The Diagnosis, his first solo project since inking a deal with Rick Ross’s imprint in February. Clearly, linking up with the Bawse has opened some new doors for P-I Double L, as the tape showcases collaborations with Gucci Mane, Cyhi The Prynce, Tech N9ne, Pusha T, and Trae tha Truth, among others.

The 2010 XXL Freshman continues to break the mold of what it means to be a southern “Trap” rapper. Pill surprises on “New Clothes and New Shoes,” which, despite the deceptiveness of the title, ends up being an honest and reflective record detailing the internal pressures that lead the Pink City native to a life of moving weight. On “Send One Down,” Pill trades pensive verses with Trae Tha Truth over light percussion and simple, beautiful strings. Pill takes up the difficult task of not being lyrically outshined by Tech N9ne on “Ya Killin Me,” and the Atlanta emcee proves up to the challenge.

Because of the quality of these original tracks, Pill’s freestyles over hits like “I’m on One” and “Motivation” do dilute the mixtape somewhat. Additionally, some of the club/party tracks don’t do justice to the type of substantive, introspective music it’s clear he’s capable of. Regardless, The Diagnosis is a strong showing for the MMG signee, and now it’s only a matter of time before fans receive The Medicine, his debut album under the label. —NMB