Alley Boy follows a long line of southern real-life storytellers like Scarface, Lil Boosie and Yo Gotti. One of Alley’s favorite activities is calling out rappers whose rapsheets don’t match up with the gangsta personas on wax, like he did on “Your Favorite Rapper” with Pusha T and “I Want In”, which took shots and Jeezy and T.I. On his latest mixtape, War Cry, Alley continues to cover his gangsta narrative and emphasize his authenticity.

The early stages of this entirely too long mixtape touch on betrayal and revenge. “See The Signs” sees Alley’s street smarts pick up on a friend turning against him. “Mama’s House” is a continuation of this line of thinking in which Alley Boy exacts punishment on those who’ve revealed themselves at turncoats or involved themselves in squabbles with him. While these can be compelling at times, it becomes problematic when this joylessness consumes an entire body of work.

A highlight is “Cocaine”, reminiscent of Yo Gotti and Gucci Mane’s “Pure Cocaine”, where the Duct Tape CEO pulls in his Louis V Mob teammate Fat Trel to pay tribute to the drug game. War Cry’s brightest moment is the soulful, Gutta Girl-produced “No Love”, where Alley Boy and Yo Gotti share their experiences with the cut-throat nature of street life. “I’m pouring liquor, too many homies lost in the system/ Leg wound, 60 years, who’s the real victim/ Too many trust issues, the scars deep-rooted/At 14 catching bodies, the whole hood polluted,” he reflects. Moments like this have always been Alley Boy’s best, taking a step back to analyze his environment. The unfortunate thing is that with the exception of that track, the tape doesn’t offer much that cant be found in today’s thick catalog of street music. Alley’s biggest strength is his passionate storytelling abilities, but he doesn’t spend a lot of time putting together coherent anecdotes for the majority of War Cry. —Lawrence Burney (@TrueLaurels)