Written by David Turner (@dalatudalatu)
A singular voice can carry a rapper a long way. Pimp C’s snarl, Lil Wayne’s alien crooks and right now attention should be on Casino’s rocket launcher vocal booms. Best known for being the brother of Future, Casino’s Frank Matthews tape shows style triumphing over the intellectual piddle known as substance. Where the dearth of compelling lyrical content that exists in trap rap can be mind-numbingly repetitive after a while, once a rapper figures out a way to unique to approaching the genre treadmill they can almost say anything in the mic and hold a listener’s attention.
Casino’s voice does more than simply project out; at his most amped (“Right Now”) one can hear the depth of his vocal chords vibration. Though he might be shouting, he isn’t barking into the mic like a DMX or even a Waka Flocka Flame, his aggroed approach out doesn’t sound quite so put on. On “Pocket Watching” where Future deliveries one of his most unhinged out performances since last year’s “Sh!t,” Casino breaks up syllables of words to get them fit in a particular staccato rhyming scheme that even makes a chant of “Turn Up” sound ready to break a pair of headphones’ internal wiring.
Though Waka Flocka Flame hasn’t stopped releasing mixtapes since his last lukewarmly received album, Triple F for Life, Frank Matthews is the best continuation of that Lex Luger and Waka Flocka sound since Flockaveli. But the more time spent with Frank Matthews makes it so apparent just how strong a pairing of Waka and Lex were back in 09/10. Casino gets fine beats from 808 Mafia and other post-Luger and Southside on the Track producers, yet Casino still hasn’t found a producer, who’d push that next step creatively.
The opening of the tape until “Killin Shit,” produced by Malik on the Beat, gives an impression of it being just bo-swinging anthems but then Young Thug’s squawks appear on “Communication” to interrupt that run. Thugger Thugger puts in a good hook and verse, and the rest of the tape has some other high energy moment (“Hell You Talking Bout”), but one cannot help but wonder if Casino only got to work with a beat maker that’d keep him at the tape’s opening intensity. Though that Neo-Crunk style has progressed since the top of the decade—Thanks Mike Will!—Casino sounds like he was put in the spotlight a year too late to continue the form Waka Flocka was perfecting.
Link: Frank Matthews