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Since Fat Trel signed to his favorite rapper Rick Ross’s Maybach Music Group in late 2013, where early supporter and D.C.’s most recognizable rapper Wale is a labelmate, the city’s been on the edge of it’s collective seat to see whether Trel will rise above the fray. 2015 has certainly seen a much more humble and subdued Trel—one who is a bit more disciplined about cultivating his image both on social media and in-person, as well as in how he delivers his music to the public.
And so, on Christmas Day, Trel dropped Muva Russia, his second mixtape of the year after this summer’s Georgetown and the more sure-footed of the two. Here, he delivers stone-faced tales of street justice, debauchery, and braggadocio like stocking stuffers. What’s most notable and effective about this mixtape is that Trel uses lesser-known (and a few un-Googleable) producers throughout and features only his fellow Slutty Boyz and other close affiliates. The result is a carefully crafted sound that perfectly complements his chilly vibe yet sonically evoking the MMG essence more than ever.
On Muva Russia, Trel continues to exercise his wordplay skills and try out different flows, whether crooning pledges of loyalty and devotion on the loping “I Want It All” or recalling a Gucci Mane hook over layers of plinking piano and organ stabs on “Trap House.” He also delivers his trademark sinister crew anthems on tracks like “Finesse Gang” and the Meatchi & Dew Baby-featured “How Hard I Go.” More lyrically playful songs are also scattered throughout to keep the mixtape enjoyable despite a somewhat lengthy runtime.
But we also see Trel show a more emotionally expressive side in songs like “Yung Nigga Died” and “Bible,” interspersing self-reflection with the plain-spoken ‘hood narratives we’ve come to expect from him. As comfortable as he sounds, this mixtape is one of his best since 2010’s No Secrets, and it sets the bar high for the not-soon-enough release of Trel‘s debut full-length album.