Two years removed from his mixtape Life Without Shame, Emilio Rojas again teams with DJ Green Lantern to drop his latest mixtape, Breaking Point. Thirteen tracks deep, the oft-delayed project is a bit of a departure from the twenty-plus track mixtapes often flooding the Internet, as Rojas looks to bring listeners quality over quantity. Breaking Point, features a different sound as Rojas attempts to, perhaps, reel in a different audience.
The title track kicks things off as the Rochester native shows why, lyrically, he’s one of the stronger up and coming MCs in the game. He pours his heart out on the J-Glaze produced track, getting deep and talking about painful family memories with lyrics like, “My daddy learned she was pregnant and he was so angered/He tried to end it, I’m no stranger to coat hangers/He getting livid, sittin’ in on the clinic visits… he takes it out on my mama ’cause he was into hittin’/And that’s probably the reason my sister is into women.” Tracks such as this, as well as “SPIC,” the surprisingly smooth “Pimpin” and “Take A Look Around” (bad hook aside), are where Rojas absolutely shines.
The problem with Breaking Point lies in Rojas’ attempt to crossover, which is evident in the majority production featured on the mixtape. With most of the beats on BP being synthesizer based, the result is a mixed a bag. Tracks such as “Classic” and “Middle Finger” are unquestionable bangers—two standouts of the mixtape. Other cuts, like “Lookup” and “Realization,” are middle of the road attempts to use the Lupe Fiasco/Skylar Gray blueprint. However, even when Rojas takes a step forward, he takes two steps back with misses like “P@$$y and Cologne (I Got It)” and “I Thought You Knew.” He even attempts get his Drake on with “Blame Me” and “One Last Time.” But these attempts fall flat of what would seem to be his desired outcome, and leave the listener wondering who Rojas is.
Breaking Point is an example of what an artist needs to do to succeed: define your identity. When Rojas follows his blueprint and does what he does best, with impressive wordplay and honesty, the results are strong, such as the title track and “Classic.” When deviates, it results in the less-than-stellar “Show Me What You Got.” As an MC, Rojas all the tools: writing, delivery and versatility. Now he just needs to hone in on that. —Nene Wallace Reed