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Plies Supplies More Street Anthems, But Rarely Breaks New Ground In ‘Da Last Real Nigga Left’ Mixtape

The art of rapping recklessly, un-filtered and making it listenable is a skill Plies has thrived with. Just look at his catalog since his debut album, The Real Testament. Plies knows what he’s good at; he’s like a Juicy J but with a lot more yelling. Like Juicy, he sticks to his strengths: high energy turn up music aimed to please your inner gangsta and booty shaker, yet he’s not as refined or focused. He’s been able to be relevant for so many years because there is a lane for his music, however he hasn’t been able to produce “Bust It Baby” numbers like before because he’s predictable.

Da Last Real Nigga Left is a decent mixtape. As an artist, Plies isn’t a slouch. He has enough presence to carry songs on his own. His capability to know how to tap into the listeners inner goon is impressive. Standouts records like “Lawd Knows,” “Baking Soda” featuring YMCMB member Tyga and “If She Gone Fuck” showcase that skill; gritty bangers that’s aesthetically pleasing to your animalistic side. “Ain’t Gotta Lie” is the high-point of the mixtape. A blood-pulsing four-minute long smack talk that has replay value.

However, the flaws of the project are glaring. One: Da Last Real Nigga Left is entirely too long. After a while, the songs start to sound like each other, and many tracks could have been left on the cutting room floor. It’s hard to maintain such a high energy throughout a 22-track (technically 21 since the outro is just 8 minutes of shout-outs) mixtape. Second, because it is too long, the subject matter gets unsurprising. There’s only so many ways an artist can rap about “fake niggas” (“Fuck Nigga Fee,” “I Remember,” “Creep”) and how much richer they are than everybody else (“Whip It,” “U Mean 2 Tell Me,”) on one project with monotonous production.

Nevertheless, hip-hop needs someone like Plies. Hip-hop has a wealth of avenues where artists can prosper; conscious rapper, lyrical monster or turn-up king, any artist can find roles where they can thrive in. However, when an rapper finds that role, the goal is typically to build on their strengths and find ways to improve it or risk the chance of being left behind. Plies found his role as supplier of goon music and it’s quite evident with Da Last Real Nigga Left. While certain songs can get thrown into any playlist, the tape provides nothing new from Plies.—Emmanuel C.M.

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