In recent memory, Consequence’s hip-hop headlines have been less about the music and more about the controversy. Spats and reconciliations with former friends and collaborators Kanye West and Q-Tip created an aura around Cons where many felt like he was launching calculated attacks for publicity. Through it all, though, the Queens native has been releasing his share of free music, and he’s back this month with his latest mixtape, Curb Certified.

On the brief project (12 tracks, 32 minutes), Cons takes a golden age approach, rapping polished bars over jazzy production. There seems to have been a chip that landed on the former G.O.O.D. Music MC’s shoulder some time ago, and he’s been kicking compensation lyrically ever since. Boasts trying to prove his worth and swipes at other unnamed rappers trickle throughout the release, rapping bars like, “The most valuable negro besides D-Rose/Is the one who made his adversaries eat crow/Once I unzipped the sheep’s clothes and pulled out the wolf’s fang/And did what Sub Zero would do to Lou Kang,” from “Public Eye.” A similar take can be found on cuts like “Karaoke Bars” and “On My Own.” A bright spot on the tape comes with a verse from upstart Chuuwee, on “6 Feet Deep.”

Though Consequence may not be gaining tons of new fans with his third mixtape of the year, Curb Certfied is a friendly reminder of what the MC is capable of when he’s not brewing up some controversy. —Adam Fleischer