If you haven’t aimed your attention toward oscarLIVE by now, take “oscar’s first mixtape” as a wake-up call. The Houston rapper who takes his influences from Nas, Andre 3000, Fat Pat, Big Moe, Z-Ro, Scarface, Swishahouse, Kendrick Lamar, and Eminem among many others loves to represent his city to the fullest. oscarLIVE will indeed built a steady following with his style of eclectic vocals and eccentric soundscapes. For me, while his lyrics may be a little derogative, misogynistic and explicit, there’s an emotive quality to his voice and worlds he creates that are as captivating as they are unique.
To be true “oscar’s first mixtape” bumps. Take any cut off the mixtape and there is the same immediate bass-rattling, almost melancholic sound. The mood of the mixtape is quickly found in the opening track, “signals (original mix)” where oscarLIVE proclaims: “She keep on telling me, she keep on telling that she just wanna be friends, but she keep on sending these signals, she keep on sending these signals”
Throughout the mixtape, oscarLIVE teases, boasts and growls, never once losing momentum. What makes this record so exciting to listen to is the atmosphere oscarLIVE creates. He blends stories of consuming, fucking and partying to the murky, dark, and brooding production. Take the funky “fk u”, a certified banger for clubs and house parties, yet there’s something sinister about it.
The production also has an advantage because of oscarLIVE’s eclectic tastes. Even if he has a clear interest in making music with a trap flavor, he manages to sprinkle influences of alternative, electronic and funk. Yet at the same time, with “oscar’s first mixtape” he has actually held together the cohesiveness of the record’s production. While ambitious as it is, the recording never feels as it’s trying to accomplish too much. The experimentalism to be found here, has plenty of room to breathe.
With this mixtape, oscarLIVE also brings his ability to sing. Listen to the melody assisted track, “probation”. But it’s when he’s laying down the rolling and wobbly atmospherics on “drank” and “dis dih”, that oscarLIVE is at his best.
In almost each song, no matter how soft it starts there is always that unexpected moment where oscarLIVE somehow builds momentum to a bass-rattling boil. But the most surprising thing about all of this, is despite the explicit surface of the material, the depth each song seems to possess.
The primary enjoyment here is from oscarLIVE himself, and then in the forces that he amasses in the crazy sounds he can produce. Listening to “oscar’s first mixtape” for any kind of conscious lyrical insight is entirely missing the point. oscarLIVE’s strengths on this mixtape comes in the construction of sounds and atmosphere, as well as the explicit visual imagery in his hedonistic narratives. If that’s your thing, then “oscar’s first mixtape” proves why he definitely belongs here.