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DJ Steph Floss & Young Chris: Last Man Standing

[Editor’s note: DJ’s, to have your mixtape considered for “Mixtape Massacre” send CDs to: c/o “Mixtape Massacre”/ 1115 Broadway, 8th floor/ New York, NY 10010]

Once part of a dynasty that couldn’t lose and a member of Philadelphia super-group State Property, Young Chris seemed like he was bound to blow at any given moment. But before you knew it, the two hands that created the “diamond in the sky” pulled apart and Young C. and his partner-in-rhyme Neef, were children of a bitter music divorce. It wasn’t long before they began imitating rap legends from the ’80s on their album cover. Needless to say this pretty much put in question any street credibility they had accumulated up to that point. They had officially hit rock bottom.

Since then Young Chris has been trying to destroy that last commercial image of himself and rebuild his street reputation via the mixtape game and underground freestyles.

The effort continues on his latest offering, Last Man Standing. Daring to be different from your average mixtape, DJ Steph and Chris decided to make songs over original tracks as opposed to jacking for beats. And I will say that the production was rather impressive.

He sets off the street album with the slow-paced “Gangsta,” where Chris describes his thug life and thoughts. Nothing too original there. He then picks up the tempo on “Rush,” where he teams with the mentor Beanie Sigel who torches the mic with more intensity than any pipe Amy Crackhouse could handle.

Aside from Beans, there’s a cool crop of guest appearances. We also hear from Pastor Mase (or is it Murda Mase nowadays?) on “Ghetto Girl,” Peedi Crakk (Another disgruntled former Roc alum) on “Kill Me,”and even the hip-hop Martian himself, Lil’ Wayne (His verse, though, reeked of effortlessness) on the Caribbean-sounding “Paradise.”

For most of his career Chris has always been known as an above average rapper–but he’s always had his own identity. That’s no longer the issue now. If Jay-Z were to ever say, “That’s my son,” there’d be no argument. The Philly native sounded like a teen Jigga man on this mixtape. Obviously he’s studied his big homie’s early albums enough and applied that style to his own. From the way the rhymes were lined up, to the delivery used, Chris seems to have fallen into a rap identity crisis, which leads him to imitate the hip-hop legend one way or another. So while the music was actually OK, I’m still bothered by the fact that he’s trying to be someone he’s not. Will the real Young Chris please stand up?

Hottest Joint: “Rush”

Weakest Joint: “Tell Me How You Like That”

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