Meyhem Lauren has had his finger on the pulse of New York City hip-hop culture since the late-90s when he co-founded the highly regarded graffiti collective known as Smart Crew with SYCO13 and LUK. Growing up he was childhood friends with Action Bronson, who would later help him become a household name through his food-based reality television show, F***, That’s Delicious, on Viceland.
In an interview with FRANK151, the Queens native explained that he started rapping around 2005 when he bought some beats from producer J-Love. “After that, he showed me the ropes by bringing me in the studio and introducing to a few people in the industry. And then started to play my music on his mixtapes.”
Now, more than ten years since his career first started to take off, Lauren links up with acclaimed producer Harry Fraud (SRFSCHL Recordings) for his brand new mixtape, Glass, featuring nine all-new tracks and several special guest appearances. However, unlike his early, more “street-savvy” records, the mixtape took a different approach, focusing on the finer things instead of more traditional “hardcore” rap themes such as street violence and vandalism.
The mixtape opens with the track, “Tourneau,” a classic soul-sampled beat named after the 115-year-old luxury watch retailer, which he follows with one of his more lyrically lethal tracks, “Industrial Espionage.” Meyhem Lauren and Harry Fraud have started to develop a sense of synchronicity, which is apparent in their seamless ability to transition from the more upbeat marching sound of “Champagne Scriptures” into the jazzier piano-led melody, “5 Wagon” feat. Action Bronson.
“Venetian Loafers” features the Shady Records signed rapper Conway the Machine, in a new music video about living in the lap of luxury. In it, we see the Queens rapper far-away from home, while he kicks back and relaxes on a tropical beach. Another noteworthy track, “Lexus in the Lobby” features Hologram and Big Body Bes. The song, unlike others on the album, features a more sophisti-pop type of sound made from samples of the 1986 track, “Light Years.”
Lauren also takes a chance to show off his love of food with the track, “Steamed Monkfish,” a track about the edible sea creature that has been referred to as “the poor man’s lobster,” before bringing the mixtape to a close with “3 for 25” featuring Buffalo rapper Westside Gunn.
Glass is definitely one solid mixtape that features some rather interesting, yet different, instrumentals by Harry Fraud which tend to bring out a slightly different side of Meyhem Lauren than some might expect. But don’t let that dissuade you, it is well worth the listen.
RATING: 4 / 5
LISTEN: MEYHEM LAUREN – ‘GLASS’