After spending the better part of the last decade tangled up in label politics and dealing with the frustration of an unreleased solo LP with Warner Brother’s Records and virtually no promotion with Universal- Harlem emcee Jae Millz singed a deal with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment in 2008. Although Millz has been an underground favorite for some time, securing his spot as part of the Young Money crew introduced him to a considerably larger audience and could possible take his career to a whole ‘nother level.
Released January 5, Millz’ new mixtape- The Flood Warning, presented by DJ Ill Will and DJ Rockstar, is the prelude to the Flood mixtape. With appearances by Young Money teammates Nicki Minaj, Gudda Gudda, Tyga and T Streets, The Flood Warning is a pleasant, however brief surprise.
With most of the tracks being between two and tree minutes in length, and a variety of different samples (which is actually a good thing), it was a little difficult to get a feel of continuity from The Flood Warning. And with the strange and empty skits and interludes (including 46 seconds of nonsensical rambling from Minaj), it didn’t quite flow as smoothly as some of Millz’ past efforts. Fortunately, Millz is a skilled enough lyricist to make up for the lack of cohesion.
To his credit, he manages to make his point- which mostly consists of talking about how much money he has, and how great of a rapper he is- without being loud, abrasive or irritating. While he’s not quite as suave as his label mate, teenybopper heartthrob Drake, Millz has a smooth voice and a way with rhymes that makes him easy to listen to.
If you’re skipping to the best songs, I would start with “The Rain”. Mills raps over Loose Ends’ “You Can’t Stop the Rain” with confidence and ease, (and I’m a sucker for 80’s R&B samples when they make sense and are well used). He reps the Notorious BIG and puts down some nice lyrics on “The Paper”: “These boys lack hustle/and they ain’t gettin’ much /that’s why they money’s slim/it’s European cut…”. “My life” is a little hard to follow. The beat- Kanye West’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” is just kind of…weird and draggy. But “Running 4 Mayor”- featuring Tyga and Gudda Gudda, is a standout track that is absolutely worth playing twice.
After 10 years in the game, Millz’ appearance on Drake’s “Every Girl” may have put him on the map, but if he can build on the buzz and consistently show the kind of growth he has with The Flood Warning, he may be able to stay there for awhile. There’s definitely room in the game for one more Harlem emcee. I believe Mase’s spot is still up for grabs….come to think of it…I’m pretty sure…