West Coast representatives Horseshoe G.A.N.G. are probably best known for their affiliation with Crooked I and the Circle of Bosses (C.O.B.) camp. The group, comprised of Demitrius Capone, Julius Luciano, Kenny Siegel and Andrew “Dice” Dinero have been looking to break through by bringing an aggressive, in your face approach with battle rhymes and punch-lines du jour. Their latest mixtape, Ambitions Az A Writer (a play on and homage to the 2Pac’s classic “Ambitionz Az A Ridah”), boasts the crew firing fierce lyrics and in a way, Horseshoe G.A.N.G looks to do Pac proud on this one.
Unlike most mixtapes, Ambitions Az A Writer is more of a 17 track cipher. Every cut is punchline-heavy and finds the MCs competing for the top spot on wax against one another (very Slaughterhouse-esque). Production wise, there isn’t much, as Ambitions finds the G.A.N.G. running through popular instrumentals first rapped on by artists like Big Sean, Nicki Minaj, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West. Fans of thought-provoking and witty punchlines will enjoy Ambitions Az A Writer, with tracks of note such as “Shoot Game” and “Right Amount of Wrong.” The tape relies on the strength of the rappers to carry it, rather than the beats, and the foursome put their skills on display with the standout track “Team 6,”, the project’s high point.
While the group’s lyrical prowess is not in question, Ambitions does drag on. Rhyming over other people’s instrumentals has its creative limitations and though they can rhyme, the G.A.N.G. drops cringingly bad hooks on many tracks. The 17 tracks become tiring towards the tail end of the release, as the mixtape becomes more of a marathon (it clocks in at nearly an hour and a half). If tracks such as “King Kong,” “No Hoes” and “My Dick’s A Super Hero” were trimmed, the compilation would have been a tighter and more focused release. Yes, Horseshoe G.A.N.G. is lyrically impressive, but the overabundance of punchlines can also become draining and the lack of diversity make the mixtape lose some luster as it winds down.
In the end, Ambitions Az A Writer is a strong release from the West Coast foursome. The group’s lyrical talent is hearty and will continue to be their bread and butter. Some have compared the group to Slaughterhouse and as far as hunger and style, the comparison is fitting. Future releases with more varied production and subject matter will no doubt make the comparison more true to reality. Horseshoe G.A.N.G is a team on the rise and Ambitions Az A Writer is a nice look into the future. —Nene Wallace Reed