Reviews

Problem Keeps on Pushing With 'Chachiville' Mixtape



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Diamond Lane Music Group
Diamond Lane Music Group

Compton, Calif. continues to be a high-profile hotbed for rising rap talent, as evidenced by acclaimed exports like Kendrick Lamar and YG carrying on the tradition set by the city’s forefathers and pioneers. Compton rapper Problem appears to be next in line to make his hometown proud on a national level with his latest release, Chachiville, a project that is sure to increase his stock as a potential star even further.

Crafted and recorded in various hotel rooms while on his Lit Life Tour last summer, Chachiville stems from the perspective of Chachi, Problem’s alias and alter ego, of sorts. His first long player since unleashing Hotels 2: The Master Suite in July of last year, Chachiville is yet another step towards widespread recognition and acclaim for the unsung spitter.

“I done made another million off a mixtape,” Problem boasts on the Tyrin Turner-assisted “Lightwork,” the tape’s introductory selection, which he produced alongside JB Minor. Flowing over a revamped version of J-Kwon’s “Hood Hop” instrumental, Chachi spouts off quotables at will, musing, “Your real ain’t familiar, I don’t remember you/Smelling like Givenchy and gorilla glue /Bossed up, hired homies, did what real niggas do,” while drawing listeners into the world of Chachiville.

“Lightwork” is followed by Problem’s self-produced single “Betta Watch Yo Self,” an aggressive number in the vein of classic West Coast gangsta boogie that finds the Compton spitter mobbing through his Cali stomping grounds. Lines like “California repping, lord’s my weapon/Never count my money ‘fore I count my blessings” and nods to local staples like Ramona’s Mexican food lend further authenticity to this Cali-centric banger.

An early highlight on Chachiville is “Deaf Ears,” which features a guest appearance from Airplane Jones and includes the catchy refrain “Phone calls fall on deaf ears nowadays.” This is a brash proclamation on the part of Problem, who floats over 808 drums and ominous synths before tossing the mic to Airplane Jones, who drops slick lines of his own, like “Pull up in that new thing, now a old school/Independent out the gate, I got no rules.”

Known more for his intense, street-wise lyricism than melodic crooning, Problem throws listeners a pleasant curve-ball with “Melrose,” a hypnotic offering produced by himself, Uncle Chucc and Brody. The song, which ranks among the project’s most praiseworthy selections, packs plenty of bass to spare and is powered by pounding kicks and snares, delicate keys and guitar licks. “I cracked her on Melrose, I cracked her on Melrose/Stopped at the Adidas store to pick me up some shell toes/Asked her ‘What yo’ name is and where’d you get your Nikes/She asked if I was feeling her, my response was ‘highkey’,” he raps, getting flirtatious while displaying his potential as a hit-maker.

Tender moments aside, Chachiville is very much anchored by Problem’s commentary on the drama and madness that is a daily occurrence in the gang-infested streets of southern California. “Keep On Pushin’,” is indicative of that energy, with Problem talking greasy in between taking phone calls from his daughter, which makes for one of the more endearing and memorable moments on the album.

Other notable tracks on Chachiville include the jittery “Don’t Belong to You” and “Don’t Want No Smoke,” features an appearance from embattled hip-hop personality Taxstone, who drops a few motivational wisecracks in support of his Cali comrade.

Running 13 tracks long and replete with quality fare throughout, Chachiville is a testament to Problem’s promise as a star in the making and should solidify his case for being one of the next great MCs out of the West to captivate the rap world.

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