ALBUM REVIEW: Mixtape Vol 1(2008) - 25 To Lyf

25 To Lyf have been around for some time now and believe me when i say Mutare is fully represented. For those in the know i can definitely say a lot has changed since the days of Bubble, Pull Up and so forth. Their latest drop on the market is a free mixtape featuring some of the best MCs Zimbabwe has produced. (YES IT'S FREE!***)

The production team of SubZero and DJ PeeWee did a great job with the whole mixtape maintaining a high standard that will go a long way and defining the path for many producers out there! Chosen One by Snypa Kidd heads the mixtape where the MC proclaims that he is the chosen one for this game being at it since 14 and fair enough i'm sure someone out there will want to prove him wrong which wont be easy. After hearing Flirt by J-Boss featuring Tricky T i was out of words. With a groovy bassline and Twista like flows topped up by a Jamaican type chorus, these 2 dudes shut it down. By far my favourite track of the whole compilation. Another MC who impressed me judging from his previous work is MC Chita, he has certainly upped a gear and the evidence is on the song Boss.

The inclusion of Inspectah Deck alone is most likely going to get more people to turn their heads in anticipation. By all means, it is worth it! Revolutionary Minds by Metaphysics featuring Inspectah Deck boasts of a star studded cast for starters and a message that will stay in the minds of many. I marvel at the maturity of the content in this song because its something many MCs ought to learn from and aim to bring out in their music. The backtrack is solid to say the least. Far Away by Fame Nickles and Animal by Snypa Kidd are on the same page as well so if you happen to like Revolutionary Minds you will most likely appreciate these two.

A few tracks were disappointing like Let It Go performed by Spaceman, not so much for the song itself but overall production quality was not up to scratch. The instruments sounded slightly 'busy' and the emphasis of the track was on the chords and synths where i would have preferred a more complete kick and snare to hold the whole track together. In the same category falls TLC by Speezy which is not quite 'there'. I think it needed different instruments to get that full RnB sound out. Besides that some of the vocals were a bit questionable and times when the lady seemed to go a bit out of sync with the beat. I think to up the bar it would be good to hear more of the MCs tackling issues that affect us as people because as a head i want to connect with the MC as a person, his/her mantra and not only their flow. I also feel that African Hip Hop can do so much more beyond doing it like how the Yanks do to give our Hip Hop its own identity.

Most of the tracks on the mixtape definitely got my nod of approval and y'all should look out for My Life by Louie Loco, Hardknock & Bars of Death by Snypa Kidd, Mental State by TekNeek, and Wotcha Gon Do by Q-Riggah. What i dig about the mixtape is the balance between the 'deep' tracks and those that can pass for commercial viability. The overall standard of music is great, i connected with the versatility and this project is set to put Zimbabwean Hip Hop on the map. I wouldn't be out of line to say it is the best mixtape out of Zim.

Download it @ http://sharebee.com/e0803a29

Cover Art - 6/10
Music - 7/10 (will sit well with a lot of mainstream hip hop + crunk lovers)
Mixing & Mastering - 7.5/10 (good quality overall)
'I Like' factor - 6/10