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Tony Yayo, Gun Powder Guru 4

Being G-Unit affiliated and getting hated on more or less go hand in hand. This isn’t to take away from the army that 50 Cent built. On the contrary, it’s their history of wins that triggers such negativity (take boxer and 50’s close friend Floyd Mayweather’s controversial victory over the weekend and subsequent firestorm as the latest proof). In his years as a member of the Queens-based crew, Tony Yayo has come to realize and fully embrace this fact, exemplified on both his latest single, “Haters,” and mixtape, Gun Powder Guru 4.

The mixtape is broken up by hater-acknowledgements. It opens with the “Haters Intro,” using audio from comedian Katt Williams that promises, “You gotta be grateful. You need haters.” Halfway through the ten-track offering there’s a similar interlude, “Haters (Skit),” and then the project comes to a close with the Prodigy-assisted “Rollercoaster,” where Yayo spits, “I keep my head above water ‘cause these haters wanna see me drown” for his hook.

In between hater-talk, the Talk of New York packages often gritty, sometimes comical street raps with which he’s become associated over the years. “Loyalty over greed/Hoe niggas die slow/Michael Corleone, never trust a Fredo,” he kicks on “Mr. 3000.” Later, “410 Revolver” has a gloomy ‘90s feel and, clocking in at only one minute and twenty three seconds, leaves the listener wishing for more. The same can’t be said for “Red Bottom Girl,” a boring attempt at a female record with some lazy auto-tuning for good measure.

Yayo’s next album remains in limbo, but he’s released this mixtape for his fans. And you can love Gun Powder Guru 4. Or not. Tony Yayo doesn’t care. He’s used to the haters. —Adam Fleischer

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