Vado drops more slime than Nickelodeon on a Double Dare contestant. Having ridden shotgun throughout Cam’ron’s reemergence in recent years, the Harlem MC is back with Slime Flu 2, a follow-up to his 2010 retail mixtape of the same name. The project marks Vado’s first body of work without the pink touch of the Diplomat head honcho, as he looks to carve out his own path, and cast aside an identity defined by being Cam’s protégé.
Vado embodies the quintessential Harlem MC: the dapper dressing, slick talking, lyricist with a street vernacular that everyone else can’t help but adopt. Whether the subject at hand is Rugby gear, bad women, or a look inside New York City’s criminal underworld, he attacks beats with an unrelenting flow of precision and descriptiveness. It’s a refurbished version of the style his Harlem predecessors, Big L and Cam’ron, are recognized for.
On the slowed down “Louis V Bag,” Vado tries his hand at a song geared towards female fans, taking himself out of his comfort zone of bar-heavy street bangers. With a chopped and sped-up sample from The Weeknd’s “The Party and The After Party,” it’s a change of pace that works, and shows versatility.
Vado elicits the help of Fabolous on “Ok Y’all,” a boisterous lyrical affair where the two Gotham rappers trade verses over the frenetic production of Araabmuzik. Fab comes in aggressively, spitting “Ok y’all, just bought a K y’all/ Don’t make white sheet you niggas, KKK y’all/Don’t make me Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, KKK y’all/Cause I will blow three stacks, KKK y’all.”
Another impressive collaboration is “Bed Piss,” where Raekwon delivers a gem of a verse over icy, fluttering keys. (Seriously, does the Chef ever disappoint?) Vado’s verse is just as strong, so it comes as a bit of a let-down that perhaps the best cut of the tape is also the shortest, at just over 2 minutes.
Minus a few skippers, Slime Flu 2 shows that Vado can stand on his own, and doesn’t need his mentor in order to shine. It won’t go down as his landmark solo release, but there’s no doubt he’s at the forefront of the next wave of New York rappers. With Boss of All Bosses 3 just around the corner, Slime season is just getting started. Get your flu shot. —Neil Martinez-Belkin (@Neil_MB)