Rating the Waka Flocka Flame Guest Spots on 'James 3'

[caption id="attachment_17420" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Waka Flaka Flame photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Records"][/caption]

Quality control was never a high priority for Waka Flocka Flame. The reigning king of Atlanta fight rap has released five or more mixtapes this year and, had he culled the best tracks from those, he could've easily put together a single disc on par with his classic debut. (Yes, Flockaveli is a masterpiece and one of the most cohesive major label rap albums released in the past few years. If you're one of those narrow-minded and boring purists who thinks that Waka Flocka is an irredeemable idiot and argues about which lyrics are the most lyrical and is waiting for Nas to be relevant again just close the window right now. If you're able to appreciate high energy rap music that makes you want to punch out the window of your minivan at face value then continue right along reading.)

But that's not the way rap works anymore; rap moves more quickly than albums and so Waka's latest, the third installment of his Lebron Flocka James series, is as uneven as the pun in the title. As usual those lumps are filled in by cameos from Waka's increasingly large roster of associates. In the Brick Squad even the weed carriers have their own weed carriers, but an odd thing happens when they hop on Waka's proper tapes -- his power spreads like some sort of rap Captain Planet and everybody exceeds their limitations. It makes his tapes feel rather democratic, more posse album than artist-driven. With that in mind, it seemed like the best way to sum up LFJ3 would be to look at a few of its stronger or more notable guest shots, breaking it down in the Brick Squad companions and the Waka's outer posse.

From the Brick Squad:

Slim Dunkin

Who: Waka's long-time right-hand man. The duo have already recorded two collaborative tapes together: Twin Towers 1 & 2. He's officially one of the main artists on here too, as you can tell by the cover shot; his head is awkwardly Photoshopped on Chris Bosh's already awkward body. It seems like he should've pushed harder for the Dwayne Wade position.

Best track: His hook on"Tyler Perry" takes that Lil B/Rick Ross celebrity name rap autism to new heights. The track would probably be even funnier to someone who has actually seen Tyler Perry's films. (Honorable mention to his Boy Meets World verse on "All I Ever Wanted")

Talent in the presence of Waka: 7/10

Talent in the absence of Waka: 6/10

Wooh Da Kid

Who: Founding Brick Squad member and the other co-host of this tape.

Best track: Despite his presence on the cover, Wooh da Kid is sort of scarce on this mixtape. He does play foil nicely on the LL Cool J semi-cover "You The Type," though the track does not specifically establish whether or not Wooh is the type of guy to say "pudding is delicious."

Talent in the presence of Waka: 6/10

Talent in the absence of Waka: 5/10


Who: Outsourced L.A.-area Brick Squad affiliate who once claimed to be "the only Smurf in a red hat."

Best track: "Turnt Up Niggas," where he jumps in with the truly scene-stealing line "John Belushi / brand new Rolls / rims sticking out like Kat Stacks nose." This reveals  two things about Smurf: One, he has adopted the alias John Belushi, which is pretty mindblowing, and two, he's trying to make "Rims sticking out like ____" a thing, for they were sticking out like Buffy The Body's ass on Waka's "Homies." I am alright with this method of braggadocio and would even propose an entire song built around the concept.

Talent in the presence of Waka: 7/10

Talent in the absence of Waka: 3/10

YG Hootie

Who: Another West Coast export -- Waka's wearing his Blood ties heavy here if you hadn't noticed.

Best track: "Lord Tell Me Where I'm Going," where he serves as an anchor to the electric chaos going on around him, popping a Xanax and then getting all reflective about his brother's life sentence and his mother's subsequent tears.

Talent in the presence of Waka: 6/10

Talent in the absence of Waka: 4/10

[caption id="attachment_17518" align="alignleft" width="640" caption="Styles and Jadakiss in Los Angeles, November 2005. Photo: Phil McCartenGetty Images"][/caption]

From the Outer Posse:

Mitchy Slick

Who: San Diego's finest gangsta rapper and a welcome surprise here. His 2002 underground Triggeration Station is something of an under-appreciated street rap classic.

Best Track: "Money Calculating," where he makes an uncredited appearance firing off his trademark clack-clack-clack adlibs and highlighting SD/bay area slanguage parallels. It's almost certain that Mitchy is the first rapper to say the word "hella" on a Brick Squad tape.

Talent in the presence of Waka: 8/10

Talent in the absence of Waka: 8/10

Jadakiss & Styles P

Who: Two thirds of legendary NY crew the Lox, considerably more famous than most of these other bums.

Best track: Their only appearance is on "Lightz On" but there they represent the rare case where a Waka collab makes the guest artist come off as less energized. It's a pretty phoned-in effort on all fronts.

Talent in the presence of Waka: 5/10

Talent in the absence of Waka: 9/10

French Montana

Who he is: Morocco-born, Bronx-raised NYC rap favorite and frequent Waka collaborator (they're currently preparing a collaborative tape entitled "Lock Out"). Rumor has it that Kanye is trying to sign Montana to his G.O.O.D. Music imprint.

Best track: "Love Me," in which he slips into the same intense double time flow that he often tends to on Waka tracks but never ever does on his own music.

Talent in the presence of Waka: 7/10

Talent in the absence of Waka: 6/10


Who: I don't have to tell you dudes who Drake is, do I? The better question is why is he even here? And the answer is that Waka's people probably paid him a lot of money to get on a remix of the current single "Round Of Applause."

Best track: "Round Of Applause (Remix)"

Talent in the presence of Waka: 3/10

Talent in the absence of Waka: N/A

No matter how low the number is some fanboy is going to to remind us how much money he makes or how soft his eyebrows look and how not acknowledging these truths is tantamount to a seething and probably biased hatred of Canada's golden boy.

Other guests who don't seem worth Googling at the moment but could very well emerge as short term stars on future tapes: Ice Burgandy, Chill Will, Nino Cahootz, Cartel MGM, Eldorado Red, Mouse. [Download Lebron Flocka James 3 here.]