P4k reviews 03 Greedo’s Still Summer in the Projects

P4k reviews 03 Greedo’s Still Summer in the Projects

The incarcerated Watts rapper’s latest release, a collaboration with Mustard, is exultant and Dionysian., Just as 03 Greedo was getting a foothold in rap, he was sent away. Sentenced to 20 years for drug and gun possession, the already-prolific Watts rapper grew more so, amassing a cache of music to sustain his relevance during a long bid. Prison, as he saw it, is no excuse for inactivity. “Everything is strategic,” he said in a Noisey documentary. “When they look at me, they have to see an icon.”, Still Summer in the Projects, the second release from this trove, comes on the heels of Greedo’s brisk tape with Nef the Pharaoh, Porter 2 Grape, and offers a bracing contrast to last summer’s heart-rending God Level. Featuring an entire slate of beats from Mustard (née DJ), Still Summer in the Projects is often exultant and Dionysian. The lyrics are full of bedroom pregames, post-club wind downs, strip-club negotiations, and trap-house sex. It is not uncommon for a coke deal to fund an all-nighter on ecstasy., Mustard and 03 Greedo make the most of each other’s talents; Greedo’s crooning and rapping melt into the plush spaces of Mustard’s sweltering cookout beats. “Grapevine” and “Bet I Walk” have liberating, improvisational flows, but Greedo is taut and controlled on “10 Purple Summers,” reeling off lines like, “I ain’t worried about no frivolous movement,” as if he’s invincible., Greedo has an almost supernatural way with potent, bluesy melodies. Both gruff and graceful, his singsong raps straddle the line between Chief Keef’s growls and the honeyed coos of Ty Dolla $ign. In a suite of songs across the middle of the album (“Loaded,” “Getting Ready,” “In the Morning”), he sings as sweetly as ever. He performs with a joy that almost makes you forget that he’s a ward of the Texas prison system. And that’s kind of the point., For most of the project, Greedo dances around his prison sentence, recalling something he discussed in the Noisey documentary: No one going to prison wants to spend their last precious moments free talking about going to prison, much less rapping about it. But on the closer, “Visions,” the crushing reality finally sets in. “Locked inside a cell with no windows/Hope I make it out of this prison/I’ll be coming out with a vengeance” he croons tenderly, promising us that “once I get out, I’ll be richer.” The song closes with a heartbreaking voicemail from prison: “I’ll be back sooner than May,” he says. Even inside a Texas cell, 03 Greedo is an optimist, transmitting visions of a brighter tomorrow.