When Memphis trapper-turned rapper Young Dolph entered the rap game back in 2010, he never proclaimed to be a top-flight lyricist. Rappers claiming to be hustlers as opposed to MCs may upset some hip-hop purists. Despite traditionalists locked in their feelings, trap music continuously makes the dope boys go crazy.

And Young Dolph has cultivated that formula that makes the bando jump. After some heavy convincing from his circle of comrades to swap the dope trade for the rap game, Paper Route Empire was born and its head honcho set the streets aflame with his mixtape Welcome To Dolph World in July 2010. Fast-forward to 2015 and several mixtapes later, Dolph is back with another project full of dope boy anthems that he calls 16 Zips.

Strapped with his distinctive stop-and-go flow and drenched in country twang, 16 Zips gets underway with the Drumma Boy-produced “Boyz In Da Hood," where the tall and slender MC takes listeners on an excursion through the dogged and corrupted streets of South Memphis. However, it’s the semi-hyped backdrop on the title track “16 Zips,” laced with thumping 808s, that shifts the momentum of the 14-track project forward. Here, Dolph’s flow is more fluid than usual, more similar to the style he employed throughout his recently-released High Class Street Music 5: The Plug Best Friend. Matched with seemingly ample confidence, Young Dolph shows his coming of age hustle on the hook while rolling through verses and relishing in the fruits of his hustle.

The Ensayne Wayne-produced “Money, Power, Respect,” the piano-driven “Back Against The Wall” and “All She Wanna Do” with Jayfizzle serve as tools of motivation for stacking Dead Presidents. The latter puts a twist on the “money over bitches" theme as Dolph pens a story about his significant other spazzing on him for chasing money instead of putting in hours of quality time.

There are downsides, however. Fourteen songs of trapping, money over eye candies and guys not keeping it real can get tedious. Dolph’s transparency is one of his strengths—see previous tracks “Sacrifices” and “I Survived.” That honesty, which is the main reason that Dolph has been as successful as a MC, fails to inform much of 16 Zips, which makes for a mediocre project. Despite features from T.I (“No Matter What”), Jadakiss (“Addicted”), Slim Thug and Paul Wall (“Down South Hustlaz”) landing on 16 Zips, they don't quite add enough pop and hue to make the project stand out on its own. —Darryl Robertson

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