Monday, June 13, 2011

Yo! That's a Mixtape: Partners !N Crime “Epic Valentines”

Just...The come up!

Partners !N Crime are six-time mixtape uploaders and Junior Crooners from North Carolina (probably). These guys know that they are amateurs as they cop to it right away in their artist bio.  As a fan of artist bio’s I can say that the one for Partners !N crime  is amusingly confusing.  For one, it has their name as both “Partners In Crime” and “Partners !N Crime”, the second, uh, spelling seems to be the preferred one as they sign their comments with it, yet it is also the most confusing.  Add to that the fact that their album cover identifies them as “P.artners I.n C.rime” AND the fact that they keep using the same cover for each mixtape and you’re locked into a maze with no escape.  Next, their own album cover identifies the members as “Criminal” and “Accomplice” yet the bio might identify Criminal as “LoneWulf Krmininal”, or it might not.  Who can tell? Also, “Just…The come up!” What’s up with that cover anyway fellas?  It dances a fine line between mugshots and sultry sexting. GROSS. But it fits with your teenage love raps.  GROSS.

Alright, so on to the review.  The vocal production on this album sucks horribly (spoiler alert). But the Partners know that, they point out that they need a new mic so they can stop using their webcam mic in a car to record (seriously).  So go get them a mic already,
support real hip hop.  Geez.

Next, ah screw it, I’ll just try to explain everything while I listen to the tracks…

1. Distant Valentine
I’ll give the Partners this: it takes backbone to sample Celine Dion, and these two must have an iron pole for a spine because they take the chorus from “My Heart Will Go On” without flinching. Of course they pitch it up, which makes it sound terrible and whatever is worse than that. 

I could almost see their iron spines the instant I started the mixtape; as I heard that flute from Titanic begin, I also heard the Partners challenging me to turn off the tape.  Daring me.  Double daring me.  But I will not be intimidated, Partners in Crime.  I will go against my instincts and press on to hear your love raps. No surprise, the raps are bad:

“You shine like a star, I can never forget who you are /
You’e always on my mind, through every second in time”

A gem, for sure, but the rapper on the second verse called in reinforcements: himself harmonizing in autotune:

“I can feel a vibe, it’s beatin’ in my heart /
I can feel love even when we are apart /
How can this end if it didn’t even start?/
You might have left my sight but you never left my heart”

Now imagine those lines spit with with the worst mic ever and you can feel this Epic Valentine.


2. Air I Breathe
Is it an upgrade or a downgrade to move from Celine Dion to Rod Stweart?  Actually, the sample this time is “I Don’t Want To Talk About It” by Mr. Stewart and Amy Belle.  I’ll go ahead and say upgrade even though the beat is still unbearable.  The lyrics are basically the same as the first song: kissing, having a chance, people next to each other, hearts, please come back, etc…

3. Runaway Valentine
I think I’m on to the Partners Mixtape recipe here: uptempo pop piano + pitched up singing + autotune + romantic lyrics = every song.  Okay, so props up front, 15% of the chorus is good (the tight looping), the rest is terrible (that goes for the whole song, not just the chorus).  More love raps, more autotune, etc…

4. Whats Gone Wrong
Is the title a question or a statement?  I’ll start the track summary with the lyrics that kick off the track: “I sit here, spit shit off the top of the dome / My heads not clear, wishin’ I had whatever / sippin’ on that Everclear (Everclear) / the end is close, but the futures never here”.  Awkward right?  That’s how the whole song is.  Thanks to the magic of computers, the beat is crystal clear while the sound quality of the lyrics is unbearable.  In the first verse the lyrics are way too loud, the second verse is too quiet, and third verse swings between the two (and there is at least one more verse).  Anyway.  So “Whats Gone Wrong”: the rapping talent and the vocal production.  I guess that's what happens when you're making your songs while having to pass the webcam mic and not damage the upholstery in the Neon.

5. Die Another Day…
The James Bond crossover you’ve been hoping for!  The boys look beyond Celine Dion and Rod Stweart this time and go for a Madonna line from the soundtrack to the feature film Die Another Day.  Good night, this is some uptempo club vomit.  The love raps are few and far between here, this time it’s standard “we’re the best” raps mixed with some “hate on the haters”.  Listen, partners, you can't have one "hard" song in the middle of five love songs, it just doesn't work.  Especially when your hard lines come about as hard as the love songs.  LEARN TO RAP OR GET OUT OF THE CAR KIDS!

6. LoL, Love…
Back to the love raps, but I don’t know about LoL.  Now, the partners would have you believe that this is a hate rap since they basically say that.  They’re mad that some girl left them so they are making a song about how LOL it is. Nothing is making me laugh here, in fact just the flow is making me double over in pain.  What is this blood?  I’m coughing up blood!  LOL!  This song sucks LOL!  Get a new topic LOL! Love! LOL.

Uh oh, here comes your mom:
“Hey Criminal, were you using my Neon to rap again? No? Then why is there spit all over the windshield?  Spilled Mountain Dew everywhere!   I told you to stop hanging out with Accomplice.  He's a bad influence, always talking about love. Get a girlfriend.  WAIT! Did you break my webcam?” – Criminal’s mom.

Epic Valentines suffers in several categories: the most obvious is a complete lack of quality in vocal production mixed with light autotune use.  This problem is so severe that it detracts from the lyrical content, but I wouldn’t worry about that unless you like to jam to teenagers moaning about pedestrian girl problems: crushes, love, dating, and breaking up.  Add to that bad rhymes, bad flows, and  poorly produced beats which sample Madonna and Titanic and you’ve discovered an unbearable mixtape, partner.

I’ll leave you with this: one comment made by Criminal (I think) reads:

“Our second Mixtape, Just note hoe much better we get, in such a short amount of time...More to come Soon”

Hoe much better Indeed.

Score: 0/10