Waka Flocka’s sophomore album, Triple F Life: Fans, Friends & Family, released this past June, didn’t exactly feel like the proper follow up to his rowdy debut, 2010′s Flockaveli. There were plenty of decidedly Flockean trap anthems on the disc, but those were downplayed in favor of records with varying levels of success in the mainstream like “Get Low,” featuring Nicki Minaj, Tyga and Flo Rida, and “I Don’t Really Care,” alongside Trey Songz. With his new mixtape, Salute Me or Shoot Me 4: Banned From America, the Atlanta rapper brings it back to where he first gained his base.
Opening with the eery “50k,” featuring Gucci Mane, was exactly what Flockaveli needed. It’s an exciting and mean key-driven affair that unites the two Brick Squad members and finds them as comfortable as ever riding side by side. The same chemistry is struck on “Money Pile,” with the Ice Cream Man and Yo Gotti, though the party record is less gripping than Waka and Gucci’s earlier collab. Another union that looks to recapture the past is “Turnt,” where Waka reunites with “No Hands” partners Wale and Roscoe Dash, and though the record will surely not mimic the accolades of its predecessor, it’s one of the best on this effort.
The beats here are all calculatedly trap music-tested, as is Salute Me or Shoot Me 4‘s content. But that’s precisely what Waka was aiming for, and what he needed. Though the style of his energy and aggression on record is no longer as surprising as it initially was, it’s still just as magnetic. When given two choices with this tape’s title, a salute for Waka is probably both safer and more fitting. —Adam Fleischer (@AdamXXL)