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It was inevitable that Saviorself, half of National City hip-hop duo Old English, would branch out and release a solo project. In previous Old English music, he clearly comes across as the lead. Self-Employed Mixtape sees him dipping his toes into solo waters before diving in.

Overall, it's a solid release supported by excellent production. "Crown Royal Remix" seems to distort the archetypal elements of West Coast g-funk into brooding murder music. "Switch Up" is similarly ominous with gothic organs, harps, and drip-drop blips floating around in a cold cellar. On the other end of the spectrum is "The End of the Beginning," a soulful track of soothing horns and warm vinyl crackle.

But these tracks are a double-edged sword for Saviorself. They each feature appearances from prominent local rappers Damu ("Crown Royal Remix"), Odessa Kane ("Switch Up"), and Blame One ("The End of the Beginning"). Saviorself is the stronger rapper in Old English, but he pales in comparison to his guests here. Their presence reminds you of what Saviorself lacks as an emcee.

Tellingly, the highlight of the mixtape is "Late Night Hype," a pure display of Saviorself's storytelling prowess. Over a George Duke instrumental, Saviorself relays a tale of love, clubs, and uhhh...surprises. There's nothing behind it — no tears shed or lesson to be learned. It's just simple fun.

  • Album: Self-Employed Mixtape (2010)
  • Artist: Saviorself
  • Label: Royalty Records
  • Songs: (1) Sufi Says (2) The Formula (3) Crown Royal Remix (4) Late Night Hype (5) Meal Ticket (6) Follow (7) The Clear Channel Treatment (8) Tell a Story (9) Switch Up (10) It's All About the City (11) The End of the Beginning
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