Alley Boy isn’t one to bite his tongue. The Duct Tape CEO has certainly ruffled his share of feathers, most recently taking some (not so) subliminal shots at T.I. and Young Jeezy on “I Want In,” off of his recent mixtape, Nigganati. Though he denied the record was in fact a diss, fuel was added to the fire just last week when Alley claimed Jizzle has been on “some fake ass shit,” following a conversation he had with incarcerated BMF kingpin Big Meech. As Alley Boy continues to stir the pot, it’s only fitting he find an equally controversial title for his latest project. And so we have Nigganati.
A Malcolm X-sampling intro might seem out of place for a rapper who could be categorized as Southern Trap, but Nigganati surprises as Alley Boy’s most cohesive and socially conscious project to date. He operates in a similar territory as Freddie Gibbs: a hardened thug, but undoubtedly self-aware. There’s no intricate rhyme schemes or slick punch lines to be found, but rather a thick southern drawl of convincing aggression and personality to account for the successes here. “I Say,” and the contentious “I Want In” are threat-laced affairs laden with goonish anecdotes. “Cops on The Block” is a throwback N.W.A. “Fuck The Police”-type record, complete with nods to Eazy-E. “Up Here” chronicles Alley’s ups and downs, reflecting on prison bids and parole violations. The booming production from the likes of Boi-1da and The Bizness also bolster the tape’s quality.
Setting his crosshairs on Jeezy and T.I, the Atlanta native reminds of the young, ambitious, and ruthless Marlo Stanfield coming for Avon and Stringer’s top spot in HBO’s The Wire. Alley doesn’t come across as a removed felon rehashing his old war stories, but rather someone unafraid of still getting their hands dirty. Nothing here sounds far-fetched or contrived, with reputation and authority being motivation over any sort of financial desire. On the project’s standout “Up Here,” Alley admits, “I done stepped on a few toes to get here, but I’m here.” By any means necessary. —Neil Martinez-Belkin (@Neil_MB)