Headliners: L.E.P. Bogus Boys and DJ Green Lantern
Mixtape: Now or Neva
Real Spit: It's no secret that the authentic brand of street music that used to dominate rap isn't as abundant as it once was. That's not to say that there isn't a demand for harder-edge hip-hop, and L.E.P. Bogus Boys prove that with their latest mixtape, Now or Neva.
"I been rocking with them for a while, had them on my radio show a couple of times. I've been living with their music for a long time, been a fan, been a connoisseur of street music for the longest, and it's an honor to be called on to put this joint together. As I listen to the music, I'm like, this is it, this is perfect," DJ Green Lantern told Mixtape Daily.
On its surface, Now or Neva is a tightly woven collection of menacing block anthems. Dig deeper and you'll find heavier results. Beyond the brash boasting, guts and glory is a narrative of a tag-team duo who have vowed to make something out of nothing. "Amerikkka's Worst Nightmare," with its brooding bass and eerie keys, is the perfect 'hood Halloween ode. There's no fictional slashers like Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers — instead, Moonie and G Count lay out a plan to make it out of poverty, even if it involves robbery and murder.
The J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League-produced "25th Hour" touches on the same desperation. "I rather push weight than be pushin' up flowers," G Count spits on the song's hook. The mixtape's title track carries on the same theme, telling the tale of a once-successful hustler striving to get back on his feet. The Meek Mill-assisted "Rush Hour" is a definite standout. L.E.P. and the Maybach Music young gun display a natural chemistry with their edgy bars.
It isn't all murderous however; yes "Click Clack" is a gun ode, but it sounds more like a love song similar to how 2Pac approached his classic cut "Me and My Girlfriend." The sing-along "Closer" is uncompromised but highly relatable to anyone feeling the stress of life. You don't necessarily need street stripes to feel Count and Moonie's emotion.
Make no mistake, Now or Neva is unapologetically street. But more than bullying bars, it is the varying degrees of pain, desperation and ambition that L.E.P. exhibit that make the tape a winner.
Joints to Check For
» "Claim My Sh--" - "['Claim My Sh--'] is about the organizations out here, certain rappers out, they claim certain organizations or they wait till their, like, grown men to buy they way in," G Count explained. "This is something you can't buy your way in. This is deep-rooted, it's organic, and as from the streets as we are."
» "25th Hour" - "The title of that song, I just feel like it's overtime for us. It's constantly work for us, we never stop. Team No Sleep. We work all day, we breathe, eat, sleep, use the bathroom, music," Moonie said. "This our life so that's why we're doin' '25th Hour.' We putting in them extra hours to make sure we get to where we want to be."
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