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Grande Marshall "800" mixtape review

If you’ve visited many of the popular hip-hop sites this week you might’ve noticed a post with a highly contrasted image, the letters “GM” and the number “800” illuminating from the picture. You see the name Grande Marshall and realize it’s not one you recognize, yet he has somehow appeared in not only the holy land of 2Dopeboyz, but also been spotted in the divine realms of Pitchfork, Complex, Fader, and the list continues to grow as the hours go by. The debut mix-tape from the 18 year old Philly bred Grande Marshall has taken over the World Wide Web in a matter of days. These are my thoughts after listening to 800 numerous times and fully absorbing what the new kid on the block has to offer.

"Grande Marshall isn’t about pop singles or attempting to win your heart with some form of gimmick."

From the moment you press play on 800, expect your attention to be held hostage for 14 songs straight. At 18 I don’t think you should be able to pick up a microphone and rap this raw. Filled with the spirit of his surroundings, a confidence that takes some years to acquire, and a natural knack for songwriting, this is far from an amateur debut offering. Much like Grande Marshall, 800 is layered with unexpected surprises as if he wants each track to take you by utter awe. See “Lupin the III”, obviously inspired by the popular 1977 anime in which he samples Brazilian songstress Wanderléa creating one of the smoother records on the tape, yet he’s able to make songs like “Fuel & Fire” a grimy, gutter record, depicting GM’s darker side. Even though it’s only 14 songs, no track feels like a filler or trailer, each being its own feature film. One thing you won’t feel is short changed. Oh did I mention that he lyrically murders each and every record.

Without a single feature, utilizing an array of flows Marshall is able to carry the entire project alone. No matter how hard hitting the beat he’s able to float on it effortlessly.

"His lyrics never grow stale, even though the subject matter doesn’t spread to untouched territories ; he’s found ways to discuss woman, money, and the street life in compelling ways."

The production also helps him, enlisting unknown producers like Silky Johnson, Ben Pramuk, DJ Dahi, Worthy, .L.W.H., SamGreenS, and more they’re able to conceive a cohesive sound that is begging for a swishahouse DJ to chop and screw. Yes, much like with A$AP Rocky, the southern Houston sound is an obvious influence of his. It’s deeper than just the southern influences; the Philly rapper seems to have absorbed a lot from various regions and of course his own home-state that allows his sound to come off as an evolution more than a copy. Did I mention GM is also another young rapper that is skilled in the producing field; another double threat enters the game.

I don’t know much about Grande Marshall other than his girl sucks his dick until his stomach hurts, he’s from Philly, and dropped an incredible debut mixtape. Not incredible for an eighteen year old, incredible for anyone. Not perfect, but we don’t talk about the pimples on a young woman’s face if her bodacious body is looking right. Not only is the music original but so is GM, he isn’t trying to be someone other than himself and it’s proven throughout the project. He’s young so of course he’ll either improve, or regress but I think his potential to create potent music isn’t up for discussion. Showcasing not only his ability to rap, produced, and compile a solid project, this mix-tape does all that and more. Philadelphia needs a voice that represents the youth, their ambition, and their drive for money, power, and respect. Press play on 800, and that voice is heard from start to finish.