Lil Herb - "Welcome to Fazoland" May 7, 2015 21:00:15 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on May 7, 2015 21:00:15 GMT -5
Welcome to Fazoland (2014)
By: Lil Herb
By: Lil Herb
Lil Herb's Welcome to Fazoland takes its name from Herb's friend Fazon, one of the many black teenagers shot and killed over the last few years, when Chicago violence has spiraled out of control, claiming more and more youths every day. Welcome to Fazoland is a tribute to Herb's fallen brother, in addition to being another mixtape introduction to the seventeen-year-old Chicago rapper, his neighborhood, and his rap styles.
Herb's flow and overall tone is a bit different from other Chicago rappers, compared to the droning sounds of Chief Keef and the occasionally boppy sounds of Lil Durk. Herb takes risks on Fazoland quite frequently, taking a different approach to most every song on the mixtape. "On the Corner," featuring Durk and KD Young Cocky, bears a techno sound during its chorus, as the three Chicago-born rappers give us a taste of a place in their neighborhood where people catch their first case, get killed, and sell dope, while "Designer" finds itself bathed in autotune and zealous raps. Such variety is key for a genre that's already becoming overblown.
Welcome to Fazoland is a gloomy picture painted on an already bleak canvas. Herb raps without feeling most of the time, which is typical for the genre. One of his few times expressing any remorse at all comes in at "Mama, I'm Sorry," the apologetic anthem with Herb righting all the wrongs that occurred between him and his mother. Songs like "Koolin'" and "4 Minutes of Hell," again, also help further detail that bleak canvas Herb is working with to the point where, by about halfway through the mixtape, we're immersed not in a life of finesse and cash but dreary, neverending violence and ugliness.
Herb's willingness to tackle a barrage of different sounds shows one of his many strongsuits, but there is a problem with Welcome to Fazoland in Herb's flow that I'm unable to shake. Quite frequently, on songs like "Koolin'," "Designer," and "Another Day," Herb doesn't ebb and flow in a way that matches the instrumentation. Herb seems to go off on his own tangent, and the result is more like slam poetry than hardcore drill. It's a strange attribute that I have yet to find with other Chicago rappers; even "On the Corner," my personal favorite of the mixtape, sounds a little off up until Durk grabs the mic for the second verse.
The latter half of the mixtape helps remedy this, it seems, with "Still F***** Up" and "All My N*****," two bold anthems that allow us to take an introspective look into Herb, coming in just in time. In the former, Herb announces how he dropped out of school because "all that calculus and algebra wouldn't buy my clothes and shoes." He continues by rapping a verse that details how, to this pay, people cannot believe he made something of himself after dropping out of school, and those who talked down about his decision simply look on with awe because they all say "he is the truth."
Welcome to Fazoland can't be faulted for its energy levels, which are addictive to say the least. The drill sound Herb capitalizes on makes all the talk about violence, murder, and robbery a bit more appealing. This is sometimes a very nihilistic mixtape (not channeling Montana of 300 level coldness but occasionally approaching it), but it's another story that need be told, even if the method of telling the story can find itself working against it.
Recommended tracks (in order): "On the Corner," "Still F***** Up," "All My N*****," and "Koolin'."