When a person thinks of a college graduate the thoughts will be the same for the most part. Some educated individual, anxious to get out into the workforce of their choice. They may even be thought of as a person who has largely lived their life on the straight, narrow path, listening and abiding by most of the rules laid forth for them. Let me be the first to tell you this is not always the case.
A college graduate comes in many different forms. This includes that of a rapper, such as with Washington, Louisiana native V-Lo The Maestro. The MC brings this whole notion of a what an alumni is to light on his latest mixtape “College Grad Turnt Rapper 2.0”, which is available now. In regards to the project’s inspiration V-Lo said the following: “I wanted to show the world that I’m not only a businessman but I’m a very talented music artist as well. I aimed to give fans the best project that I ever released.”
To reach this goal the MC kicks it off with some old school boom-bap. Not necessarily what you would expect from a southern MC but it’s a welcome surprise. It’s here where the witty style of V-Lo The Maestro is first heard as he rattles off his verse. Yung Dre joins him as the first feature and is a great match, bringing a similar style to the track.
There aren’t many rappers who don’t exude confidence. It’s almost a prerequisite for jumping into the booth. V-Lo isn’t lacking it either as shown on “Ain’t Bigger Than Vee”. Here he makes the case as to why his peers simply aren’t on the same level he is. The beat is perfect for V-Lo’s voice and rhyme style.
“Put It Down” features V-Lo The Maestro in perhaps his most free-flowing form of the whole project. I’m not sure if its a freestyle but it certainly feels like one with the loose structure of the song. I’m a fan of rappers just doing what comes naturally and that appears to be the approach taking here. Some of the bars could have been stronger in comparison to other records on “College Grad Turnt’ Rapper 2.0” but it’s a cool listen nonetheless.
Next in line is “Pull Up”. This track feels like a classic southern banger that you throw on during that drive to the club. Pure trunk music with it’s heavy bass and lyrics revolving around the act of stunting. It’s tracks like these where V-Lo really seems to feel at home.
“Man of the Year” see’s our artist try his hand over Lil Wayne’s “She Will” instrumental. On it he caters more to the women listeners out there. The verses are pretty good but for me personally the hook is a miss. I don’t think the autotune was a good compliment to what V-Lo The Maestro is capable of doing. I’d have to say this was probably my least favorite song on the set.
“Randy Savage” is full on Louisiana. If you’ve never been in a club full of people jiggalating come down south and throw this one on and it will happen instantly. This is the obvious nightclub anthem on the mixtape and it’s well done for anyone who likes this particular style of rap. I love the fact he kept it true to his region.
My personal favorite of the mixtape “Peek A Boo” is up next. This is the classic pairing of MC’s pushing each other to another level with BAT featuring. Both bring some very clever lines to their verses and the beat is very infectious. I definitely replayed this one a few times on repeat and actually wish it was a bit longer.
Both “Str8 up” and “Around The Clock” see V-Lo The Maestro try his hand over some of the more aggressive styles of production on the mixtape. He matches the energy of the production well with his authoritative approach on the former. On the latter he breaks down his hustle and why it is never-ending.
We reach the end of the project with V-Lo’s most inspiring record of the set. Titled “Elevating to Greatness”, the song delves a bit into some of the obstacles the MC has had to overcome and how they have affected him to date and made him who he is. Though the content is a bit of a shift from the rest of the tracks the sound remains in-line with what else is heard. Props to him for not coming off as too preachy but still making his point efficiently.
An untitled bonus track acts as the official closeout for “College Grad Turnt’ Rapper 2.0”. V-Lo takes this one as an opportunity to truly paint a picture. In some of his more vivid rhymes he takes us to the west coast for a sunny day of leisure. He is really able to set the scene with the presentation. I can really understand the song’s inclusion as a bonus as it is very well constructed.
In summary, I believe V-Lo The Maestro has a very solid project that doesn’t quite reach the level of something that is timeless or classic. His voice and style of music is great but I feel as if his flows can be a bit smoother at times and some of the hooks need improvement. Negative points aside though he did craft a very cohesive project that is still a very enjoyable listen. V-Lo knows what he wants to do as an artist and it shows listening to “College Grad Turnt Rapper 2.0”. From sequencing to subject matter it all just fits into the right spot, a quality not all independent rappers have. Unabashedly southern trunk music is what he brings to the table and he does it with skill.
Keep up with V-Lo The Maestro at http://www.vlothemaestro.com