Mixtape Review: Lil Gnar - Gnar Lif3

Sometimes I feel as if people think I hate every new rapper, every rapper with a "lil" name that isn't Wayne or Keke. That's just not true. I actually do give a fair chance to a lot of stuff before I throw it into the trash for being stupid. However, sometimes I'm guilty of liking stupid things too. Take for instance, I was in another YouTube black hole. While there I saw a guy doing skateboard tricks while firing a loaded gun and his aim wasn't terrible, so I checked out his music.

That man was Lil Gnar, who grew to popularity as a fashion designer with his Gnarcotic clothing line and various Internet antics before venturing into music. Admittedly not all the antics are as entertaining. Smashing TVs is whatever but getting shot just because, relax. Gnar Lif3 is the first full length project from Lil Gnar. It comes in with 11 tracks and just over 23 minutes which feels about right for a first project.

I won't lie to you, it's about a 50-50 split with me on tracks I like and ones I don't. The good news is the tracks I do like, I really like. The exception being "Iced Out" which I like but feels like it should have been a Playboi Carti song. Production on the mixtape is really varied. Mainly because there's a good variety of song types. There's the standard rap tracks, some tracks that are more melody heavy and of course a few rock tracks. One of which comes courtesy of Travis Barker.

Lil Gnar isn't the best rapper. I won't even lie about it. Occasionally he can string together a few good bars but that's more than a lot can do. A lot of the tracks are also heavy on the hooks and light on the verses which explains why they're so short. Most of the hooks are pretty catch even if you don't like the songs. Features are pretty limited through out. The best features are without a doubt Travis Barker, who needs to drop another album, and ZillaKami.

I didn't care for "455," or "Drop Top Benz," for completely different reasons. With "455 he's doing the thing where rappers don't enunciate their words. It's just a pet peeve, especially when he's perfectly clear on every track. What's the point? I don't like "Drop Top Benz," because it feels like it wants to be a summer smash but at the same time it feels like a Macklemore song. Nothing against Macklemore, just isn't my kind of music.

The tracks I like most are without a doubt "SICK IN THE HEAD," and "Gnarcotic Gang." It's always a good to hear Travis Barker pop up with rappers that aren't Yelawolf but Gnar's performance on "SICK IN THE HEAD," is great too. Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine can tell you, sometimes when you get rappers on a rock track, they just rap and don't change anything except be a little louder. But, Gnar changes his entire delivery for the track. "Gnarcotic Gang," reminds me of the old

It can't be debated Lil Gnar is more diverse artistically than a lot of new music coming out. He's also not afraid to just dive in. A lot of folks will say they have a rock influenced track and they'll just yell over some rap tracks and add a little guitar. Not Gnar, he goes all in on it which is kind of refreshing. The main struggle is it seems like Lil Gnar hasn't exactly found which lane he wants to inhabit. Sure he can keep doing a bunch of different kinds of music but that just means he'll never master any of them. Personally, I'm hoping he settles more on the rock side of things. He can still drop rap tracks but the rock tracks are why I'm going to come back.

Download a free copy of Darrell's book Phantasmagoricalread some of his other work at 12AMFiction.com and hear him on the Powerbomb Jutsu Podcast
Mixtape Review: Lil Gnar - Gnar Lif3 Mixtape Review: Lil Gnar - Gnar Lif3 Reviewed by Darrell S. on Thursday, December 27, 2018 Rating: 5

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