There’s no doubt Sha Money XL has the credentials to release a mixtape. He’s well connected in the rap game in many ways — a cousin of DJ Whoo Kid, a producer for 50 Cent and former President of G-Unit Records, former VP of A&R at Def Jam and currently an executive with Epic Records. This is the type of dude who has had his finger on the pulse of New York for a quarter of a century. It didn’t even come as a surprise to hear the ghost of Prodigy on “Divine Time” from “Chain on the Bike Vol. 1.” He passed away in 2017 and the mixtape didn’t come out until three years later, but there’s no question XL would have had some bars stashed away somewhere.

Hearing a Mobb’d up verse on a New York mixtape unintentionally makes the point that Sha Money XL is a throwback, and hearing Styles P open the next song “One Way Ticket” hammers that home. Sha revels in just how New York he is and how many people he’s worked with over the years, but in doing so he also reveals a problem with this 30 minute release. He pairs the big names of the rap game with people I haven’t heard of before or since — Chubbs the Dreamer, Tedy Andreas, Kronik? Who are these folks? It wasn’t out of the ordinary for a mixtape to introduce you to new New York emcees, but you’d usually hear from them again afterward. G Yamazawa is the most interesting guy here and he’s not even NY. He’s from Durham.

It’s not a surprise that they made a video for “Cold Winter,” it’s a surprise that they didn’t try to make one for any other track. Then again “Chain on the Bike Vol. 1” seems to have been a VERY low key release. I couldn’t find an entry for it at Discogs and aside from playlists on YouTube and Spotify it seems to have almost no presence anywhere. It bothers me that on an album so short and with so little time to waste to get noticed, XL threw in a pointless “Coming From Shadyville” skit. Like dude we get you’re connected to Whoo Kid, you don’t have to waste our time telling us.

Saying “wasted time” sums up “Chain on the Bike Vol. 1” would be low hanging fruit. I’m going to swing a little bit higher instead. It’s not time wasted to hear Domo Genesis on “D.A.R.E,” it’s time wasted to not hear more from him. In a half hour we see that Sha Money XL has access to worlds of talent, but instead of making this a who’s who of rap (pun intended) it feels like he had a bunch of scraps he threw together and tried to call a meal. It wasn’t filling and I left still hungry.

Sha Money XL :: Chain on the Bike Vol. 1
6Overall Score