Of all the recent, surprise hip-hop hotspots (Florida, St. Louis, etc.) it's about time that the Twin Cities were added to that list. Minneapolis and St. Paul have become home to one of the leading independent labels in hip-hop, Rhymesayers. With all-star talents like Atmosphere, Brother Ali and Eyedea, the area is overdue for recognition. There's another up-and-coming artist trying to make some noise in this musically fertile land, and he goes by the name of Golden. His new CD, "The Local Mixtape" is an attempt to stamp his feet firmly in that Minnesota snow and let hip-hop know what's Golden.
The first track "It's Not Me" jumps out with a catchy beat and vocal samples reminiscent of the tracks that gave Rocafella it's sound. Not trying to get lost amongst the other popular ivory skinned rhymers of our day, he declares:
"I ain't Eminem, but one day I'll sell records like him
I ain't Vanilla Ice, I'll put that on my life man
I'm not Pete Nice, MC Serch or Mike D
MCA or Ad-rock from the Beasties
Im not slug, Milkbone or Bubba Sparxxx
I aint El-P, Stagga Lee or Aesop Rock
And I been doing this since I was 10 years old
So please tell 'em who I am (Golden)"
So now we know who the man behind the mic isn't; it's time to find out who he is.
The next track, "GNC," borrows the Rick Rubin produced track for Jay-Z's "99 problems." The lyrics come off as half battle rap, half periodic table recitation. It's hard to understand what exactly is going on with the thick vocabulary and chemical names being thrown around. "10 Paces" uses the beat from the Soundbombing II banger "The Mayor" by Pharaohe Monch. More battle raps, but with a nice flow and a clearer focus, this verse is stronger than the one on "GNC."
There are definitely some hot tracks on this record but there is a problem, and that's repetition. On most mixtapes you expect to have mostly battle rap or party-type songs on it. You put one in the CD player and you're looking for someone to rip it, you're looking for energy and Golden stays true to that unwritten law. But with most mixtapes, you have many different people doing their own versions of these songs that add different outlooks and more diversity to the record. Golden is on every single track, with only two guest artists. Now unless you're Canibus or Jedi Mind Tricks, and even sometimes if you are, the repeated subject matter of the songs is going to make that fast-forward button look a lot more attractive by about the tenth track, and it just so happens that there are twenty-three tracks on this album. And the difference between the two previously mentioned acts and Golden is that they have beat wizards like Stoupe producing for them instead of using beats previously ripped by top-notch MC's like Jay-z or Pharaoh Monch.
Even with these things working against him, he still showcases a talent that has good potential behind the right music. His flow is on point and his delivery and mic presence make you listen; although every once in a while he falls into the trap of becoming monotone. As long as he keeps improving and maybe puts out an LP that shows more sides to himself, this MC could be added to the list of acclaimed MC's that rep Minnesota.
Music Vibes: 6.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6.5 of 10
Originally posted: January 4, 2005