If you know Strong Arm Steady, you know Mitchy Slick. If you don’t know either the rap supergroup or Slick as a soloist, it’s fair to say you won’t know Sir Veterano. At this exact moment we’re delving into concentric circles of California rap with an increasingly smaller radius. To an outsider this might seem like a recipe for failure, but if CA was a country, it would have the fifth largest economy in the entire world. It may seem like being hella Cali is a recipe for staying local, but if you can stay local in something THAT BIG, you can have an entirely successful rap career without bubbling anywhere else. In short you can’t judge the success of Mitchy Slick or his crew by the usual metrics. Here’s a more useful one — Slick’s debut album was in 2001 and he’s still in the game 22 years later. If you don’t respect anything else respect his longevity in rap.
“Everybody Hates Mitch” is an obvious reference to the Chris Rock show, but I say that knowing there’s an equal chance if you don’t know Slick you might not a TV program from the 2000’s. I’ll stop making assumptions before they make me an asshole and talk about Slick’s rap on the lead single “Keep Gettin Money.” Sayeth Slick: “Befo’ I start rappin, the whole ghetto loved me/But now I’m phoned and blow up, they like fuck me/Think a nigga Puffy, ‘Why you didn’t plug me?’/I tried to nigga, remember you didn’t trust me.” This is representative of Slick on multiple levels. Item one — he’s a traditional spitter who ain’t singing anything but a hook. Item two — Slick is a storyteller. He wants you to see the world through his eyes. Item three — Slick ain’t got time for bullshit. You know what other Cali rapper embodies those qualities? Earl Stevens.
E-40’s verse on “Klack You Out” is the biggest cameo of the whole album, but Slick doesn’t need a whole lot of names to carry a solo album. In fact Slick would rather keep those aforementioned circles incredibly tight. A lot of rappers drop an “Interlude” that’s instant fast forward material, but I love listening to Slick talk about how rappers are lying on his name, claiming he got a half million dollar deal from Mack 10. With the amount of jealousy and envy on the streets that kind of lie carries serious repercussions, because someone could run up on Slick looking to make him a vic. That’s the kind of shit that would make you retire from rap. Slick has big cojones though and he’s not going anywhere.
There are some emcees I would chastise for dropping an album that’s 36 minutes and 13 songs long and wasting one of them with a skit or an interlude. “Everybody Hates Mitch” isn’t making a hater out of me though. Sir Veterano is dishing out some classically left coast production on this album. “Homies Like You” is a delicious mixture of old school percussive sounds and outer space keyboards and bass. It’s the next letter up from G-Funk, cause this track’ll get you high af. “Wanna Be You” is more chill — well the production is anyway. Slick and the aptly named 2die4 break down more of the sneaky sheisty behavior going on in the game, and that Mack 10 story gets mentioned again, making me wonder why I never heard about it before now.
“I know how to do this shit nigga. I’ve been doin this shit for a long motherfucking time.” The intro to “Name In They Mouth” (featuring guest Jay Worthy) may sum up Mitchy Slick perfectly. Like his producer Slick is a veterano in rap. He’s been doing this long enough to avoid the pitfalls other people fall into, and openly boasts that he won’t make other rappers famous by beefing with them on wax OR online. That’s smart. Everything about “Everybody Hates Mitch” is. This album is a mixture of all the things I love about the California rap scene — a strong emphasis on rap skills combined with local slang, flavor, and bomb ass beats. “Ay straight up like this nigga, you cain’t take my legacy nigga.” CAIN’T. Not can’t. CAIN’T.
Let me sum it up like this — Mitchy Slick is not bragging about some nonsense on his album. He’s not telling you how many bodies he’s got on his name, not claiming to have more money than a third world dictator, not acting like he’s swinging the biggest dick in the yard. Real ones don’t have to tell you who they are, you know it just by listening to them. Is Slick an all-time great wordsmith? That depends. If you expect a rapper to pull out the dictionary and spit a bunch of words at you you’ll never hear in a real conversation he’s not that dude. If you expect the most complicated similes and metaphors ever heard on wax he’s not that dude either. I enjoy “Everybody Hates Mitch” because it has a formula that’s simple and effective — a rapper who can rap and a producer who can produce and neither one is gassed off their own ego. That’s enough for me.