Let’s get this out the way. Big T is fat. Very fat. You know it, I know it, he knows it, even animals know it. That’s entirely the point, though. Lots of adages and truthisms get tossed around, but fact is is when you don’t fall within the norms of appearance or behavior in society, you gotta develop a helluva personality to keep moving socially and grow as a person. With the charmingly knowing titles of Big T’s mixtape series, 2010′s The Appetizer, 2011′s The Full Course and 2012′s 2nds, it’s clear that the Chicago MC has personality in spades. But how does that translate to his material?
Really well, it turns out. Another exception to the rule regarding battle rappers not being able to make good music, the Smack/URL vet arguably makes surprisingly musical and comfortably self-assured tracks, serving the beats without over-rapping with that signature half-East Coast/half-southern midwest flow. Hosted by DJ DonDemarco, but thankfully not flecked in distracting DJ tag drops, the tape is impeccably produced, a mix of grimy and bleak NYC mixtape-style instrumentals and warmer, more soulful beats bubbling in the mix for T to effortlessly switch flows, inflections, and flex wordplay over. As an MC, Big T is as tasteful as he is confident, sounding histrionic when the track calls for him to rap about his hunger or get his Slick Rick on about violence in the hood (“Be Back Soon”, “Crime Report”, “Not My Baby”), sounding cocky and dismissive when he talks about being a boss (“Boss Is”, “So Fronting”), and cooing like he’s dedicating the quiet storm track of the night to a special chick when he needs to be smooth(“Last Forever”).
2nds is the kind of mixtape that doesn’t sound like the rapper is making a case for himself or trying to sell the idea of him as an artist or talent, it’s more like another missive from someone who’s already figured out who they are and what they do – like knowing when not to rap, how to style, and how to adlib to actually add something to a line – and excels at it. One listen to one of the tape’s standout tracks, “Talkin’ Bout”, and you get a feel for that confidence and talent. There’s a little something for everyone on 2nds; tracks about girls (check out “Fighting” and “Fighting pt. 2″‘s Jekyll and Hyde take on relationships), declarations of boss status, coke rap, gun talk, and a dramatic first-person description of his near-fatal 2010 shooting.
No need to take my word for it, though. Check below for the mixtape stream via DatPiff, the video for “Be Back Soon” and links to Big T music, info and updates.