As we learned a couple of years ago, everybody's favorite BOSS, former Sixer Lou Williams, dipped his foot into the pool that is the rap game, no arm floaties needed. Since we first fell in love with Lou's rhymes with his cover of the Meek Mill banger "Ima Boss", we've been living by the words that he so eloquently put to the beat. "I made my first million fo' I eva got laid", "Used to be bench riding, I get that tick now", and who could forget "Bitch Ima BOSS, I get cake".
As luck would have it, unlike former Liberty Ballers leader Jordan Sams, Lou did not block me on Twitter. While I was catching up on some tweets for the day, I saw that Lou was pimping out the release date of his rap mixtape. First off, the excitement that Lou was going to even release more tracks took over my body almost as if the little aliens from Space Jam went in my nose during a game between the Suns and the Knicks. Secondly, holy shit he was going to be dropping it tomorrow?!?! (I read the tweet on Monday, it released on Tuesday).
"Here Goes Nothing", the debut project from LouWill (apparently the name he's going with in the hip-hop community) was something that Liberty Ballers had to, just had to, recap. If we didn't cover this monumental occasion, we might as well shut the whole project down. Brandon, remember to hit the lights on the way out.
As resident hip-hop aficionados, Roy Burton, Jake Pavorsky and I made it our duty to bring to you guys the most in-depth, track by track, review of the new LouWill mixtape "Here Goes Nothing" (download here).
Roy "The Supreme Fighting Machine" Burton:
I must have lucked out - the tracks I got weren't ALL horrid. It was about as good as I expected (which wasn't much).
Notable lyrics: None
There really isn't much to the intro - it's a standard, Rick Ross-esque, Roland 808 beat overlaid with clips from various movies ("The Godfather", "The Godfather II", "Scarface" and "New Jack City", among others) and Jay Z songs. If there was any sort of unifying theme, it went completely over my head.
2) Matter Fact (feat. Quez)
Notable lyrics: "I'm getting green... salad / Where I lay my head? Palace / You talking tough, but ain't throwing hands / Where I'm from, we call that a coward"
The English teacher in me is bothered that the name of this track isn't "Matter Of Fact", and there's nothing about the song that makes me forgive the grammatical error. Thankfully, it clocks in at under two minutes - that's about the best thing that I can say about "Matter Fact". Oh... and if Lou Will's goal was to mimic Meek Mill's cadence (without the screaming), he does a pretty good job.
3) Got Em
Notable lyrics: "'Cause as long as I'm the Cap, you can fall back, bruh / I have boys wrapped up, like fajita wraps, bruh"
Jahlil Beats (the man behind the boards on Meek Mill's "Ima Boss" and "Amen") gives Lou Will a nice beat to flow to, and nothing for nothing, the hook is pretty catchy. Songs are about much more than memorable choruses (tell that to Carly Rae Jepsen), and it doesn't take long for Williams to drop a few lines that make French Montana sound like Rakim (Example: "I used to only rap about money and women / But now? I only rap about money and women... well, damn!").
4) Problem (feat. Meek Mill and 2Chainz)
Notable lyrics (2Chainz): "I'm hungry, so I got a meal ticket / She don't like soccer, but we still kick it"
Surprisingly enough, Lou Will actually drops the best verse on a track with two guest stars. However, that isn't necessarily a feather in his cap given that the guests in question (Meek Mill and 2Chainz) turn in horribly sub-par efforts.
If, like me, you were concerned about the future of the U.S. Postal Service, worry no longer... not if two of MMG's finest continue to mail in verses like they did on this song.
5) Motivating Hate
Notable lyrics: "If you ain't got no love, I'll be up and down Peachtree / If you got the balls or the heart, I suggest you address me..."
"Motivating Hate" is so much better than the three preceding songs that it ALMOST makes you wonder whether someone stepped in as Lou Will's ghostwriter. Thematically, the track is a mishmash (the first verse is a general warning to haters, the second is a tribute to slain rapper Lil' Snupe), but Williams' flow is on point, and the beat (which feels like a missing instrumental from Jay Z's "American Gangster" soundtrack) goes HARD.
6) Choosin (feat. Office Man)
Notable lyrics (Office Man): "If y'all wanna know who wrote this here, it's the Office Man...")
No sense in burying the lede on this one: The person singing the hook on this song goes by the name "Office Man" (W.B. Mason has a mascot, now?). That in and of itself should be reason enough to skip to the next track, but Lou turns in one of his better performances of the entire mixtape... for a while, anyway.
In a way, this song is a microcosm of Williams' career. In the first verse, he rides the beat pretty well as he explains his prowess with the females. Then after the hook comes a four-pack of bars that is the musical equivalent of a fade-away 20-footer with 14 seconds left on the shot clock:
"Got her to my spot / Rippin off top She said her name is cold / I said my name is hot I ask her where she's from / She says New Orleans / I say wobble-dee wobble-dee wop... drop it like it's hot"
It appears that not even Office Man can save Lou Will from himself.
Jake "The Hammer" Pavorsky:
7) Number One (feat. The Casey Boys)
Notable Lyrics: (The Casey Boys) Girl you're number one on my list, number one on my list of things to do: get this money and you.
Very romantic song from Lou. He essentially spends almost four minutes rapping about how he'd pamper his woman, shopping sprees, trips to foreign places, stuff typical of a baller like LouWill. The hook is peppered in throughout, and it's sung by "The Casey Boys", who I'm pretty sure is one guy. Maybe he's a twin. Hard to tell. Anyway, The Casey Boys sings about how this female of interest is number one on his list, but in fact she's actually tied for the top spot with "getting money". It's then clarified that she's on "the top of his list". Falling faster and faster behind the money.
The song is somewhat catchy, and probably one of the better tracks on the mixtape.
8) Break From Myself (Feat. K.Michelle)
Notable Lyrics: (LouWill) "I can't sleep. I can't think. I need a drink, shit, I need a shrink!"
A little more of a serious track from LouWill. He discusses being on the road a lot, missing important events in his daughter's life, and at the song takes a dark twist at one point. "Looking over the edge of my penthouse suite" Lou spits, "I'm thinking to myself 'You might as well just leap.'" Don't do that, Lou. I still need to review 4 more of your tracks. Lou puts K.Michelle on the hook, and it's rather tough to listen to. Was happy for this one to end.
9) Back And Forth (Feat. Quez)
Notable Lyrics: (LouWill) "This ain't my rookie season, I'm a vet-er-an!"
Lou gets on this track with Quez of the rap group Travis Porter, and put out a half decent product. The beat is actually something you can bob your head to, which I surprisingly didn't find much of on this mixtape. Quez takes the song from the top, and although his flow is good, there's not much to say about him lyrically. To end his verse, Quez raps "...and we don't do this shit one day, we do this all weekend." Gotcha, Quez. Two days instead of one. You can step out of the booth now. Lou comes on spitting fire, sort of reminding me of "Ima Boss" remix. I can live with this song.
10) Love Like This (Feat D Bop'em)
Notable Lyrics: (LouWill) "I got her wide open like a wheat field."
D Bop'em. D. Bop. Apostrophe. Em. All I can think about when I hear his name is the Hasbro children's toy that came out in the 90's. Lou once again starts rapping about women, and things get awkward. "I want a son but I don't know who gon' give me one. Baby ma', she ain't ready for another one." Then common sense would tell you to go find another baby mama, Lou. Duh.
This song is an unmitigated disaster.
11) Playin (feat. Jagged Edge)
Notable Lyrics: (Jagged Edge) "I feel like Roger Federer, you know I play with the racks."
I'm not even really sure what that means. Am I done here now?
This mixtape was horrific. I had so much hope for Lou Williams as a rapper, and his first true project was embarrassing.
Tanner "The Excellence of Execution" Steidel:
to reintroduce myself to preface, friends. I went into first listening to this mixtape with the most open of minds. Despite the hilarity of his "Ima Boss" freestyle (was not a freestyle, no matter what he titles it), I actually thought it was quite catchy and decent. I was hoping that my section for the review would contain at least one track like this. It didn't. I hated every single part of songs 12-16.
12) Yea (feat. Shado B)
Notable Horrible Lyrics: "You heard the hook / So you better not mess wit me" - Let's clear it up, guys. All the hooks says is "We hold it down / We hold it down / We hold it down / We up in here" - What about that hook would make somebody not want to mess with Lou?
I wanted this track to be his own version of Usher's "Yeah" more than anything in the entire galaxy. The logic made sense to me. Lou's from Atlanta. "Peace up, A-town down" (not about Allentown unfortunately) is some sort of Atlantian (that's not a thing, I'm sure) saying. All the pieces tied together. Unfortunately this track is nothing like the song I danced to during my prom king runner-up days (damn you, Jamal McClain) in high school.
13) Never Before
Notable Horrible Lyrics: "I've been there, done that / I swear to God, Google me / I've been here before, dawg / Ain't nuttin you can do to me" - Notice the bold font in that lyric. Why is that so important? Well, the last part of the chorus has the hook-master singing "... we ain't never been here before". So which one is it, Lou. You're contradicting yourself a wee bit.
This track right here is Lou's version of "Started From the Bottom". This is by far the least terrible of the songs I was assigned in this little project. It's a smooth, light beat that plays a bit quieter than the others as Lou would like you concentrate more on what he's saying than what the producer laid out. Lou raps about growing up and not caring much about school but rather where the gym was. Apparently kids teased Lou for this and he was a regular victim of mockery. I'm not saying this isn't true, but usually kids who care more about basketball than school aren't the subject of peer ridicule.
14) Work (feat. LiveSosa)
Notable Horrible Lyrics: "Now let me work, work, work, work, work / So I can spend 300 on my shirt, shirt, shirt / All your friends say he a jerk, jerk, jerk / But when I get you in the bed I get ya to.... fill in the blanks"
"Two cups, one blunt, two lips, (silence)". What's the end to that line, Lou?!?! My 3 guesses:
- One cornish game hen
- "One" is a song by Metallica
- Just like every other normal person
"Work" is a track dedicated to Lou's game with the ladies. Blah blah blah I'll make her scream blah blah blah if she don't want it, I'll get her friend blah blah blah. Then a "started from the bottom now we here" randomly popped up. Is this mixtape over yet?
Notable Horrible Lyrics: "They be like why he still rappin'? / Cuz dawg I'm still snappin" - Sorry Lou, the days of "Snap Yo Fingaz" and the snap piece of T-Pain's "Buy U A Drank" are long, long, long, long gone.
From the title of the song, I was under the impression this would be Lou diving into his fears, dealing with them on a daily basis and possibly overcoming them. Boy was I wrong. At the end of the first verse he talks about the "goblins and goons" he rolls with. The buddies with tatted tears who gotten 10 year bids. Even a threat not to mess with him or you'll be entertainment on the six o'clock news. Great timing for that line, Lou. Have you met Aaron Hernandez? You guys should do lunch. I'll set it up in Outlook.
Oh and after all that he rolls into the chorus saying "Don't be scared....". Lou, you just told us about guys you hang with who are serving hard time and threw out a not so subtle threat. How the hell you expect me not to be scared?
Notable Horrible Lyrics: "8 years ago, said I was a flash in the pan / And now, I'm as solid as the actual pan that's in hand" - Can't make this stuff up, guys.
Lou only mans the first verse in the mixtape closer and I've had about enough of this whole thing. The hook has Lou rapping that he prays everyday, he prays to God about his sins, and then says when "(he) grind (he) gon' win". Doesn't seem to fit in with the whole praying theme but to each his own. Call me a hater if you'd like but something doesn't feel quite right when you rap about praying, you're asking for forgiveness then go on to flaunt how G you are. Maybe that's just me, I don't know.
I really wanted to like this. Nothing would make me happier than cruising down Main Street in Bethlehem blasting Lou so all the people dining at Mama Nina's could jam. But I just can't. I have to give credit to Lou for putting out a tape, however. It's not easy and the man is definitely putting time into the craft. I'm sure tearing his ACL midway through last season gave Lou more time than he thought he'd have to put this project together. The magic just isn't there. Sorry, Lou.