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Neako, LVLZebra

New Jersey based rapper Neako has been slowly building a following for himself, with a handful of mixtapes under his belt and a Taylor Gang co-sign. This year, the upstart is set to release his self-produced album, T.A.T.T (These Are The Times), but before that, he rolls up a gift for fans with his latest mixtape, LVLZebra, aiming to build the momentum for the upcoming release.

The majority of the songs on the 20-track tape are fun and fit for partying or smooth and fit for lighting up. This style and varying levels of otherworldliness has become Neako’s forte, as he’s not shy about his penchant for smoke and staying fly. Anyone in search of intricate concepts or stories would benefit looking elsewhere but Neako’s raps about his come up are where he’s most comfortable, and where it seems he’ll remain.

The production on the project helps make up for some lyrical shortcomings. Neako produced two tracks himself (“N.R.B.F.M.” and “LVLFCKM”) and for the rest of the production, turned to talents like Flying Lotus, Harry Fraud, and Mark Deschamps, helping drive the release. The sound on the mixtape has the ability to captivate and take the listener to new places (“1 333 777 2323,” “Till It’s All Gone”), and generally backs Neako’s bars properly.

Other highlights on the mixtape come in the form of The Flying Lotus produce, “LVLerica Garden,” with its minimal production and tribal like sounds. The Mark Deschamps produced “LVLFLXXN,” the Com Truise crafted “Left, Down, Right, Up,” and “Rollin With The Ghost,” produced by Morcheeba, all hold up, as well.

Though not all of the content on the mixtape matches the originality of the song titles, the production is similarly remains solid through, and Neako seems on track to continue building his base with LVLZebra. —Erin Duncan

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  • Derek V #LVLCALI

    yo bro ur trippen! this mixtape is def a XXL mixtape. Lyrical shortcomings? I think ur lyricaly deaf he keeps this mixtape hella #LVLYSL, iv heard waaaaaaay worst especially at this point in hiphop. To people like u its all a bout beats beats beats beats, fuck the beats that doesnt make the song. LVLZEBRA tells a story; how is there no lyrical content on thier? Get ur smoke on and write another review.

    • http://xxlmag.com HugoStiglitz

      ur opinion doesnt count because ur name shows ur a die hard groupie. I stay on datpiff tryin to find new artist nd checked this out nd that it was ass. dope beats with weak lyrics.

      • Killa Keith LVL

        Get this Hugo dude all thee way outta here. You stay on datpiff huh? Internet Troll life is what it look like. Derek is right. This tape is all the way thoro. Beats AND lyrics. Its 2012, go listen to g rap and fall back. LVLZebra has songs like LVLNWK which is lyrical storytellin, and throughout the tape his flows are sick. This joint deserved an XL at the least. Dudes is sick if they think otherwise, or they just too busy hating. LVLZebra is one of the best projects this year period and I dont even listen to Neako all the time.

    • 4twenty3sixty5

      man despite what xxl said i listened to you and downloaded this mixtape, i just wanna let you know it was garbage. The beats were terrible and lyrically he was OK , deffinately not xl worthy.

  • Triple H

    Neako, Emilio Rojas, Chip, and Gangrene got L ratings…..and Alley Boy an XL rating…I usually co sign XXL mag’s reviews but sometimes theyre just off, at least some of these recent ones. Love to them for documenting the culture though…

  • spaceyNYC

    I actually agree this review, everytime I put on these dudes track, I hear the hot beats and i’m thinking he’s about to go in, and then i’m massively dissapointed when he opens his mouth.. I do agree that their recent ratings have been way off ESPECIALLY with Gangrene

  • MRSpacely

    yeah i agree with the zebra gang. This story isnt even accurate becasue Neako left taylor gang yesterday.

  • LocoRolo

    LVLZebra > ______________.

    Everyone’s music isnt for everybody, but Neako’s music goes hard. He may not spit all that technical shit, but if his music and lyrics are one thing? they are definitely inspiring.

  • YoungNigga410

    Hell yea, Beats made the tape. Lyrics are ass.

  • Jase

    I honestly think this mixtape deserved a XL. I’ve been a fan of Neako the longest and heard all his music and his progression. This is by far his best mixtape and I thought the “Number 23″ was that but LVLZEBRA this shit cray!

  • http://www.facebook.com/l.q.ent L.Q.

    I truly think the only thing that was wrong with this review was the fact that the lyrics got an “M”. Gucci man should have received an “M”. Neako was worth and L, at least his delivery and vocabulary is greater with the setback of being centered around the same thing. With this said…Rockie Fresh deserved an XL for lyrics and Emilio Rojas deserves an XL overall

  • http://Facebook.Com/FreshSquadOrDie Tobias Wiley

    This Mixtape Deserves A X.X.L Or At Least An X.L. @Neako Is Raw No Matter What And His Lyrics Are Not Sick At All They Are Raw As F-ck. But #TGOD x #LVLZebra x #ZebraGang

  • http://Facebook.Com/FreshSquadOrDie Tobias Wiley

    By The Way Is There Another Website iCan Go On. That Want Give My Computer Viruses??