Casey Veggies

"Customized Greatly Vol. 4"

Casey Veggies has long been considered the less rowdy step-brother of sorts to the Odd Future crew. His production isn't as muted and his rhymes less than dense than the rest of the rap collective's hooligans. Nevertheless, Veggies has built a niche audience of fans.

Last year's "Live & Grow" was a solid debut, but didn't catapult him to wild infamy like Tyler the Creator. Back with "Customized Greatly Vol. 4: The Return of the Boy," Casey Veggies brought in a few of his friends for an extra-stacked mixtape.

The Inglewood, Calif., rapper gets help from big names Chris Brown, Ty Dolla $ign, and Tory Lanez — but the tracks lack cohesion. The Lanez-assisted "Can't Get Enough" sounds more like a throwaway verse from Lanez and Ty Dolla $ign's offering on "All Night," which is a lukewarm club banger. Veggies is most impressive when his verses stand alone.

"When It Go Down," a Childish Major-produced track, paints the real picture: He's unafraid of failure, enjoys doing his own thing and has no desire to sell out for television. The project winds through sultry production paired with sophomoric lyrics that come across as more angst-ridden than metaphorically complex.


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"Customized Greatly Vol. 4" just doesn't stand up against some of the year's bigger rap releases. Not even Harry Fraud's Spanish guitar-based production on "Perfect Timing" could push Veggies over the edge of greatness. It's a respectable effort and he certainly spent a king's treasure on production and features, but it doesn't hit the mark.

—Ru Johnson, HeyReverb.com

 

Kristin Kontrol

"X-Communicate"

Kristin Welchez's endeavors in Dum Dum Girls show more than a yearning for pop. "X-Communicate" becomes another leap forward for Welchez.

The musician embraces the vocal spark of Madonna, while taking on an electronic presence fitting of a Tegan and Sara number. "X-Communicate" relies on religious words to keep it together. Amens, talks of God, and the concept of love find their way interspersed on the record to tie in the idea of excommunication.

— Dustin Ragucos, PopMatters.com

 

Leyla McCalla

"A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey"

Equally as comfortable with soul-ridden interpretations of songs in English, French and Haitian Creole, former Carolina Chocolate Drop Leyla McCalla has always been something of an innovator in her lane.

Wherein her previous effort, solo debut "Vari-Colored Songs" saw her giving a musical life to the words of celebrated poet Langston Hughes, she now takes inspiration from the words of a traditional Haitian proverb popularized in Gage Averill's 1997 book, "A Day for the Hunter, a Day for the Prey".

— Joanthan Frahm, PopMatters.com

 

Other notable releases:

Architects — "All of Our Gods Have Abandoned Us"

Beth Orton — "Kidsticks"

Gold Panda — "Good Luck and Do Your Best"

Holy Fuck — "Congrats"

Lone — "Levitate"

The Monkees — "Good Times!"

PUP — "The Dream Is Over"

Sonny & the Sunsets — "Moods Baby Moods"