Alley Boy released his long-awaited mixtape War Cry. I’ve been on the lookout for this tape myself, because his last two tapes Nigganati and Gift of Discernment were really impressive and unique. You always like to see progression in a talented new artist. Unfortunately progression isn’t what we got here, at least not in the value of the music.
Alley Boy is a trap rapper who can SPIT. The first time I heard him he easily traded bars with the likes of Freddie Gibbs at his best on “Rob Me A N*gga”. By that I mean his rapping rhythm was always on point, and he was versatile enough to use such cadences aggressively or calmly, mix it up, make it catchy, you name it. With that skill why would you make a song like “No Reason” and dumb down your flow so hard to where you sound like a watered down Chief Keef?
Don’t get me wrong, Alley had plenty of moments where he showed his talents, but it wasn’t in the excess that it was in earlier projects and there are plenty of moments where he just didn’t show up. Part of it might have to do with the pop route he’s going in his music, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing without sacrifice. You hear more autotune and more pop-like beats instead of a more trap or hardcore hip-hop instrumentals. Like the glitzy beat of “All I Do”. This change in pace also seemed to result in an annoying repetition in many of the songs on War Cry. This repetition is in the majority of these songs, and are aided by his features which already commonly pollute his songs. Some of the features didn’t even seem to take their spots seriously. “For My Niggas” is a decent song with an excellent hook, but Future’s verse was a joke and almost disrespectfully bad. “RNGM” is a blissfully ignorant song, but that doesn’t take away the near comedic lyricism of Ty$. And again, this is all over the tape. Another redundancy is the preachiness of Alley Boy’s interaction with fake people.
It’s not all bad though. Alley Boy always claims he does classic intros, and he does. He delivers on that surely. And even though some of the songs fail as a whole, he still raps pretty well flow-wise. One of the overall good songs is “Mama’s House” where him and Trouble have good verses. Alley’s starting in a catchy intervals (a flow better used scarcely, he used it again on “Cocaine”) and transitioning to a more aggressive flow and back, which Trouble uses his trademark digressing style and then spitting hard as well. He hasn’t lost his technical skills, just didn’t use them effectively throughout the whole tape.
Though features often pollute Alley Boy’s tracks, many times he has really good ones. Like in Gift of Discernment he had Gunplay and Pusha T who assisted in making some of the best tracks on the tape. In War Cry, some of the best songs are “Long Haul”, “Cocaine”, and “Mama’s House” all featuring rappers with particularly noticeable solo careers. Fat Trel, Trouble, and Starlito all had good verses, arguably better than Alley Boy’s on the respective songs and put more thought into their lyrics and how they approached the tracks than many of the other features. Kevin Gates also gave Alley a great soulful hook for “Long Haul”.
As far as production, the Atlanta rapper is very talented in his beat choice. “Love You” has an awesome Adele (I’m trippin. It was “Too Close” by Alex Clare. My bad. – itzme) sample used in an upbeat rhythm with an exciting piano melody and a semi-trap twist added to it. It was one of the more impressive poppy sounding beats on the tape. Though the production was predominantly good most of the other standout instrumentals weren’t the ones going more into the pop direction. “Mama’s House” has this daunting “boss-level” horns that open it up perfectly for the rappers to go in. “For My N*ggas” has an incredible drop on the hook and perfect mixing with the background vocals and autotune. “No Love” comes with such a powerful soul sample that invokes fervent empathy with the message of the song.
This tape is kinda hurt by overindulgence in a new sound and not really playing towards Alley’s strengths. War Cry also has a lack of quality control, where the songs could be more focused and unique over tracks that are really just repetitive and forgettable. It’s a 22-track tape, but I don’t think the sheer amount of songs alone were the problem just the general lack of innovation and attention to most of the songs.
This joint bout room temperature
My Favorites: “No Love” “Mama’s House”
Songs That Blew Me: No specific whole song blew me, just the general mediocrity or some parts did.