Review: Waka Flocka Flame proves genius on newest project

Michael Bragg

Editor’s Note: The following reflects the opinions of the author.

Waka Flocka Flame is one of the ridiculous figures of the popular music scene and along the way has boosted the  Atlanta “Trap music” scene to mainstream and critical legitimacy.

A self-professed bad rapper, The Riverdale, Ga. M.C. did nothing less than contradict his previous statements on his most recent project, the fourth installment in his “Salute Me Or Shoot Me” mixtape series, “Salute Me Or Shoot Me 4 (Banned In America).”

Hosted by DJ Holiday and longtime collaborator Trapaholics, the album features exclusive production from Bricksquad 1017’s, Waka Flocka’s record company, which he is CEO of, 808 Mafia.

The first half of “Salute Me” is a straight-forward detail of Flocka’s pre-rap life of drug dealing and murderous endeavors, however he hits a philosophical stride on the second half of the project.

The mixtape kicks off with a less than memorable, assumed to be street anthem”50k.” Lacking direction and backed by a hollow instrumental, “50K” sounds like a half-assed attempt to recreate the frequent collaborator, producer Lex Luger, created on Flocka’s stellar 2010 debut album “Flockaveli.”

Seemingly the albums only misstep, “50K” is followed by 13 consecutive hard-hitting tracks that could easily double as the soundtrack to the second LA Riots.

The song “Death of Me” provides one of the most memorable “I’ve got love for my clique” anthems of 2012, coming in a close second behind Kanye West’s aptly titled “Clique.”

With the song “J Well,” Flocka provides some of the albums most ridiculously violent and street-tinged lyrics – I’m from Riverdale, This the land of the lost. Welcome to hell, Middle finger cost. F–k jail, I’m shooting back [expletive], It ain’t hard to tell. And if anyone has any clue what the hook “I’m ballin’ like I’m J Well” means, please help with an explanation, because I am still searching for an answer.

The next 11 tracks provide similar content, with standout tracks “Zip ’em Up” and “Murda,” featuring affiliate Bo Deal and Chicago up-and-comer Chief Keef.

The mixtape’s closer, “Realist Sh-t I Wrote” is an account of Flocka’s upbringing with his – now deceased – best friend and fellow Bricksquad member, Slim Dunkin. Dunkin was shot and killed at an Atlanta recording studio this past December, almost causing Flocka to quit rap out of grief.

The song details Flocka’s personal issues – his aunt’s affliction with the HIV virus, Dunkin’s struggling with cocaine use in his final days – which have ultimately resulted in his partaking in illegal substances, excessive alcohol intake and self-destructive behavior.

Following up his stellar summer release, June’s “Triple F Life: Family, Friend, and Fans,” Flocka shows why he lives up to his self-declared title as the “Mixtape Prince,” as professed on 2010’s “For My Dawgs,” with “Salute Me Or Shoot Me 4.”

With that said, the best way to enjoy this  project is to get a few friends, jump in the car with the windows down and blare this as loud as possible down fraternity row.

Rating: Four out of Four stars

Story by: WILL GREENE, Intern A&E Reporter