Ear to the Street: Young Hot Rod

What’s cracking, folks? In this edition of Ear to the Street, I’ll be reviewing Young Hot Rod’s Mixtape presented by 50 Cent and G-Unit.

Honestly, this has to be one of the biggest mixtapes to come out of Arizona. It’s no surprise that 50 Cent has co-signed Hot Rod and is helping to develop him as an artist. This mixtape will represent Arizona world-wide. Regardless of what people think about it, the fact that they will be thinking about Arizona is the most important.

The production on this record is absolutely bananas. The beat selection on this disc is so dope that it may stay in your deck or iPod for ages. Magic, Mreal, OX and Jiggalo are some of the names behind the production on this tape.

Also worth mentioning is Polo the Dawn who is really making a lot of noise with synths and snares and has a couple of stand-out tracks that make this MC jealous he didn’t rip that beat first.

Production aside, there were a ton of guest appearances on this record. Hot damn! The first and biggest name on the bill is none other than Lil Wayne. Wayne and Hot Rod kill it together by rapping about what Hot Rod knows best: hoes. His lyrics on this are a little marginal, but his style saves the day.

Next is Akon of Universal and Freeway of Rocafella Fame. This Track is dope. The simple fact that Hot Rod’s got two of the heaviest hitters in the game on this tape is impressive.

Even 50 Cent makes an appearance on this album, rolling side-by-side with what seems to be his young apprentice "Hot Rod." Rod is the mirror image of 50 only with a lighter, less serious side to him. He primarily rhymes about bitches, hoes, money, jewelry and cars. The beat on this pairing is dope. The 50 Cent meets Hot Rod combo is huge.

With all the guest spots and tight production, this shit deserves five out of five stars. Unfortunately, the lyrics are where things start to fall apart.

Don’t get me wrong; the kid can spit, but his hooks stand out on some tracks only to come off as repetitive on others.

Lines like, "I didn’t go to college. I'd rather talk shit then drop knowledge" lose me and make me want to change the track. I'm not expecting Rakim or Canibus but shit, my dude, I know you’ve got more to say than that.

He rhymes “motha fukaz” with “motha fucka” and “mother fucker.” That’s “Cat in the Hat” shit, my dude, and I feel that you’re better than that.

The worst song by far is “I Like My Hoes Ghetto.” Man! This shit fucking sucks! I wouldn’t bump this with my homies and I sure wouldn’t disrespect one of my ladies by playing them a trash track such as this.

On the whole, this mixtape is the biggest and best project to come out and represent Arizona this year. The kid is fresh and is being molded by one of the biggest icons of our time. I’m proud of what you’re doing, Young Hot Rod. You’ve obviously grown as an artist, now you’ve just got to step your game up a little more.

I could be wrong, but the future looks bright for you, young grasshopper. Listen close to your sensei ‘cause that dude knows how to hustle.

Keep your ears to the street until next time, Phire City.

Justus is a Phoenix-based rapper and founder of Cut Throat Logic Records. He moved here in 1993 and considers the Valley his home. “My kids were born here and I'll be buried here,” he said. At age 10, Justus performed a DC Talk song during a talent show at a church camp and knew that music was his calling. He wrote raps for 10 years and “pretty much sucked” until a dear friend taught him to refine his rhythm and rhyme. When he's not hitting the stage or marketing a new act for Cut Throat Logic, he's writing new songs, but if you ask him, he'll say “I just run the label.”

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Jonathan McNamara