If Rocko’s latest mixtape, Lingo 4 Dummys, had dropped around 2005 when the dirty south was taking over, then by all means this mixtape might be considered a cult classic. Rappers could be spitting slang he’s created on Lingo to this day. Hip-hop has had a resurgence since then, however, and with such artists as Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and Drake taking over the game, it’s an uncomfortable position to be in going into Lingo 4 Dummys.
With that said, Rocko raps about topics on life that’s relatable to a lot of us. What’s overshadowing are tracks like “W1UW,” “Nunnayu” and “Phuckuthot,” which disparages the mixtape from such songs as “Her” and “Brudda.” “Her” is a sympathetic track which reminds us when we meet someone special, we must always “Protect her, fight for her, kill for her fast.” In “Brudda,” he shows loyalty to his “Brother from another mother, brothers of the same struggle.” His style and voice connects with the beats providing the dirty to his southern roots.
Lyrically, Rocko sets the bar low as if he was playing a game of limbo and thought: the lower you go, you come out the winner. With no original content, most of the lyrics will go one ear out the other. It doesn’t really matter what Rocko raps about because listeners are more likely to be vibing over the beat and singing his hooks.
Lingo 4 Dummys actually shines the most in Rocko’s ear for production, which comes calling like ambulance sirens. The tape is ready to defibrillate an entire hospitals worth of patients on a play buttons notice. Although the soundscape of beats today all seem to share a similar blueprint (808s + hi-hats doubled + claps), nonetheless, the production is absolutely knockin’ and it is the highlight of the mixtape. Unfortunately, the blueprint is what diminishes the producers opportunity to differentiate themselves. Whether it was Jon Boi, DJ Plugg or Ferrari Smash, it wouldn’t be difficult to convince someone that the entire mixtape was produced by just one person.
Lingo offers us nothing that we haven’t already heard before. From “Slang” to “Freeky”, Rocko is already on track to becoming just another rapper in the game with limited topics of discussion. While his last mixtape presented us with his biggest gift, “U.O.E.N.O.,” creating a new wave of slang, Rocko has only cursed himself as he overly attempts on every track to recapture the flame that was once ignited from a lightning bolt. Perhaps a different drum kit might’ve sparked him into taking a different approach. Instead, we are left with banging beats, but the foundation for Lingo has been built to crumble.
Lingo 4 Dummys is a fun mixtape. It was made for twerking and ratchetness. And that’s where the party ends. Although he is proud of many things he has accomplished (just like the song title suggests), Lingo isn’t one of those crowning achievements. While his last mixtape Gift Of Gab 2 was filled with more meaningful content and lyrics, Lingo misses the home base by a stretch.—Andrew Lee