“Young Wicked: The Mixtape 2” Finds James Garcia fka Young Wicked Returning to Form (Mixtape Review)

This is the 2nd mixtape from Denver emcee, singer/songwriter, producer, engineer & fashion designer James Garcia or the artist formerly known as Young Wicked. Coming up as 1/2 of the Axe Murder Boyz with his older brother Bonez Dubb in 1999. The duo put out 4 albums on their own before the Insane Clown Posse signed them to Psychopathic Records in 2005, making their debut on the label that following spring by dropping Blood In Blood Out to moderate reception. However, their next full-length outing God’s Hand is considered to by many (including myself) to be their best given how much both of them elevated their lyricism & Otis’ production. This resulted in him becoming Violent J’s protege many years later, dropping his solo debut Slaughter: It’s the Best Medicine in the fall of 2015. Fast forward a couple years later, Twiztid signed Young Wicked to Majik Ninja Entertainment in the midst of their falling out with Psychopathic to put out an equally fantastic sophomore effort The Return of the Prodigal Son. But after rebranding himself 3 & a half years ago on Activated which had more of a mainstream sound to it, the initially scrapped sequel to Young Wicked: The Mixtape is finally seeing the light of day.

“Deep” is an aggressive rap rock opener talking about the fact that they’ve been waiting for him to come out of the basement to show the underground who he really is whereas “Eternal” takes the trap metal route instrumentally admitting that he can’t rest in peace with these sick muthafuckas in the street although the heavy auto-tune on the hook just isn’t it. “No Masters (Shake da Shit)” works in these somber piano chords & sirens sayin’ y’all looking at a king coming for everything just before the rap metal-infused “Resurrected” admits to feeling darkness clouding his mind.

Meanwhile on “Shallow Grave”, we have Young Wicked on some boom bap shit taking everyone through the mind of a murderer leading into “Pushing On” blends some kicks & snares with guitars as he discusses trying to figure himself out as of lately. “Chrome” ruggedly pushin’ bars similar to the way they be pushin’ weight cautioning that you don’t want to get smoked by him, but then “Flowers” dabbles with the trap metal flare once more calling himself the goat having to be sacrificed in the blood.

The song “No Slackin’” goes for a vibrant trap approach that his pimpin’ doesn’t ever slow down while “Crucifix” returns to the boom bap reminding y’all that his last album was activism & he’s back to stabbin’ victims now. To conclude Young Wicked: The Mixtape 2, the closer “Keep Out the Cold” is this guitar ballad singing that he keeps the whiskey in his veins for the titular reason.

Activated has it’s moments even though a lot of juggalos I know weren’t feeling the more commercial-approach it took, but this to me is the best thing that James has done on his own since The Return of the Prodigal Son almost 7 summers ago. It’s much more rawer than the previous LP we got from him & we still get a glimpse of his artistic evolution in the last 25 years whether it be his bars, his singing, an evolving self-produced sound or the mixing/mastering.

Score: 8/10

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