Friday, November 20, 2009

The Refill Readdressed

As promised, I'm back with my impressions of Pill's 4075: The Refill mixtape that dropped on Tuesday.  All in all, it's a far more cohesive effort than The Prescription and has more dimension as well.  While the first half of the mixtape is better, the second half is an attempt to show Pill's versatility with "Super Cool" coming off as a song that could gain traction in the radio market if given the proper promotion.  The first half is certainly more "street" but the entirety of the mixtape is very good.

Pill was catapulted to national attention (at least national press attention) by the video for "Trap Goin Ham" off his last mixtape.  Because of the success of the particular song, it's hard not to look at his new work in light of it.  In fact, Pill and his promoters seem very conscious of this as well, with occasional references and the re-inclusion of "Trap Goin Ham" as the fourth song on the mixtape for those who don't yet have the MP3 version.  With that being sad, I think choosing "Glass" as the single for The Refill was intelligent.  "Trap Goin Ham" was a high energy, unashamed drug dealing anthem.  What made goldern era Southern rappers--from whom Pill takes his cue--so appealing, was their ability to step back and portray the other side of the grind.  For every "Pocket Full of Stones" that UGK released, there was a "Diamonds and Wood."  "Glass" is Pill's "Diamonds and Wood."  It's not as instantly appealing as "Trap Goin Ham," and it won't get him the same attention, but it is a better song from my perspective.  The Refill is full of great songs in a similar vein, like the contemplative, but humorous "Dropped a Mick on Me."

Overall the listener is shown a more vulnerable Pill, which will resonate with a lot of listeners.  The caricatures created by a lot of Atlanta's trap rappers are enjoyable, but the humanness of Pill is just as valid and sometimes easier to relate to if not as consistently fun.  He also establishes himself as a very talented rapper both technically and linguistically.  I'm unsure how far Pill will be able to go, and whether he can manage to break out of his core listenership of Atlantans and dedicated rap fans.  Regardless, he has my support and I look forward to a time when I can purchase his debut.

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