Mixtape: It Ain't a Game Part II
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Joints to check for: "Call Me," "A.N.G.E.L.," "Brooklyn's Finest Revisited"
Previous mixtape: It Ain't a Game Part I
The 411: Crown Heights, Brooklyn, rapper Angelous doesn't just sound like a young Young Hova, the 20-year-old sounds like him to the point where sometimes he can't be distinguished from Jay-Z. Occasionally he even fools himself.
On his second mixtape, It Ain't a Game Part II, Angelous utilizes many of Jay's signature ad-libs, a handful of lines and a quite a few of Jigga's patented rhyme flow cadences.
"I started taking offense to it, because it overshadowed my talent," said Ang, referring to the criticism he's been facing since he started recording about a year ago. "[I would hear,] 'This n---a is nice, but he sounds like Jay-Z.' Whenever you hear that 'but,' you know it's not OK. When something is good, then it's just a done deal. So it started making me a little angry."
"Oh no baaayyybeee, I got my mojo baaaayyybeee," says Angelous on "A.N.G.E.L.," rhyming over the beat from Jay's "Blueprint 2." On the track he voices his disdain over how labels turned down his demo because he sounded too much like Jay-Z and talks about how upstarts such as Sacario and Bathgate, who were also perceived to bite from Jigga, never got their careers off the ground.
On "Call Me," he raps about "getting his swagger back" over the beat to "I'm Dame Dash" before dropping a few sarcastic punch lines like, "Your idea of kicking sh-- is putting your feet in the toilet."
"We put out the first CD, it did all right, people wanted more," he recalled of It Ain't a Game Part I, which dropped in November. "Some people were not believing. [On] the second one, I made it versatile. The first one was more street."
For now, the streets are probably the only outlet Angelous has for his music. He's gotten a few spins on radio, but he says that DJs, like the record execs he's been shopping his demo to, shy away from him because of the similarities between him and Jay. You'd think Angelous, whose name is derived from his former street moniker, Angel, and stands for guidance, would alter his style to sound totally different from Jay. Instead, he plotted to use it in his favor.
"The ad-libs [that sound like Jay] on the second mixtape were done purposely. That was just for a little spark of controversy. I haven't really heard people say its wack, 'cause if they assume its Jay-Z at his best, then it's OK. There must have been something there. When they find out that its not Jay-Z, it's hard for people to consume. I know now in the business you need something keen, or different, or something that's gonna grab people's attention. Even though we sound alike, I have the lyrics behind it."
But just to be on the safe side, Angelous says that his next mixtape, Angelous Reloaded, will feature music that is more distinguishable and that he's done using parts of Jay's rhyme arsenal. The BK line slinger also plans to put out even more mixtapes this year in hopes of carving his own niche and impressing labels.
"I don't think it will be a problem once we do more tapes ourselves," he said.
For a full-length feature on mixtape culture and the role of mixtapes in making a rapper's career, check out "Mixtapes: The Other Music Industry."
For other artists featured in Mixtape Mondays, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.