Think It's a Game Records
Think It's a Game Records

Atlanta’s bubbling hip-hop scene is undeniable. With rappers like Future, 2 Chainz and Migos all finding success on a national level, there's a new wave of artists trying to break through as the city’s best. Amongst these rapper come-ups is YFN Lucci, who's attempting to lead the South's musical charge.

The rhymer's late 2014 release and official debut, Wish Me Well, was received fairly well in the tweets and in the streets but lacked the real one-two punch he needed to explode onto the scene in a major way. There was no centerpiece single, which prevented the project from gaining the traction it deserved. However, over the last year, his stock has been on the rise. Now, firmly inked with Think It’s a Game Records, home to Rich Homie Quan and Trinidad James, Lucci delivers the follow-up with his Wish Me Well 2 mixtape.

At first glance, the tape seems mildly intimidating as it runs a whopping 18 tracks long. This wouldn’t be an issue if a large majority of the tracks didn’t sound almost identical to each other -- perhaps a nod to consistency. The effort features a full hour of Lucci flexing his lyrical prowess over uber-trap drum beats. Recurring themes of getting money, disregarding haters and stealing girls are all well and good but a bit more variance could have helped the tape’s replay value. However, for fans wanting that contemporary trap sound, this tape has it.

When it comes to his delivery, the Plies-assisted “Fucked On” is actually surprisingly honest. The gangster love song has a slower tempo, heavier keys and less trap drums, making it a refreshing break from the tape's norm. With the slower tempo and larger pocket, Lucci is able to execute rhymes of a much higher quality than most of the other tracks that force him to deliver rapid-fire lyrics. Lines like, “If I had to leave for a while would you wait on me?/And if we both get caught would you escape with me?/Every night I wonder” are favorably reminiscent of 50 Cent’s gangster ballad “21 Questions.”

The same applies to songs like “Like We Never” and “Letter From.” From a technical standpoint, Lucci is a much better rapper than he leads on. The beat selection, although incredibly top-notch trap, doesn’t seem to fit his strengths as an MC. By no means should he have employed the likes of DJ Premier to handle most of the production but he hinders his own skill set by using an arsenal of beats from the likes of TM88, Tino and OG Parker, to name a few, that don't necessarily put him to the test.

In terms of features, Lucci brings the best out of his fellow rhyme slingers. “Key to the Streets” will undoubtedly be a street favorite and showcases Migos and Trouble delivering what they do best; a plethora of southern cadence. “Bloodshed” with Young Scooter might be the best posse cut aside from the Plies track. Scooter and Lucci sound distinct enough to tell them apart but similar enough to create a fluid back-and-forth vibe.

As good as the features are on the tape, Lucci utilizes the usual suspects. A curveball collaboration or another female-assisted hook (Marissa adds a nice touch to "Run It Up") could have done wonders for this tape and may have even cultivated a larger scale single for the masses.

Wish Me Well 2 is a solid mixtape that showcases Lucci's potential. There is obviously a place for him to rhyme over thundering trap drums but as heard on the handful of deeper cuts, Lucci shines brightest when he goes the untraditional route.

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