Neako, The Number 23
Taylor Gang affiliate Neako rolls up and takes a toke while bringing listeners on a cloudy journey through his hazy mind on The Number 23 mixtape.
The up and comer doesn’t waste time setting the tone for the 23-track offering on the “Elevators” opener, where he spits, “Ex-friends still tellin’ lies/They know my circle, they just not inside.” He continues, rhyming, “You might be smoking, but trust me you’re not as high/Because I’m pullin’ and rollin up like I’m about to drive.” Later, Juicy J gets Neako to conform to his Three 6 Mafia flow on “Ice,” while the Taylor Gang general Wiz Khalifa lends the assist on “Scanners,” on which Neako exclaims, “Damn, man, I remember those days I was covered in rain/Now it seems…I’m surrounded by bitches and covered in chains/Switchin’ lanes/Heart beating fast and I’m frying my brain.”
The herbal-essence-influenced rhymes persist on tracks such as “Loud Smoke and Chevy Keys,” “Beam Up” and “Friendly Skies,” before rounding out on the compilation’s closer “Meditate Levitate Regulate (Interlude).” Airy and atmospheric, the majority of barely-heart-beating tracks on the mixtape begin with the sound of Neako’s lighter flickering.
Looking to ride the Taylor Gang wave but still carve out his own lane with The Number 23, Neako shows he has a solid flow, tough punchlines and drawl that’s sure to have listeners under his influence. —Mark Lelinwalla