7.4 – 7.7
5ive Mics Can’t Knock The Hustle is so simple it works, and it’s REFRESHING!
You ever heard the saying “Everything I’m not made me everything I Am“? There is no better example than 5ive’s latest offering, CKTH.
In a world of Kendrick Lamar‘s, Denzel Curry‘s & Tyler, The Creator‘s, a straight-forward approach is as unique as it is necessary.
Don’t forget about the car!!!
5ive Mics head-nod inducing production choices is not Griselda‘s antithesis, but it’s adjacent. The New York sound isn’t monolithic (de. CKTH is between Bad Boy, DipSet & Fat Joe (especially the first half). Always hard, but universally palatable.
Surface-level writing equipped with pre-used (but proven) punchlines is all you’re going to get here, lyrically. One could say our main character is arguably outshined by every single special guest; of which there are many! Nevertheless, it’s hard to be “outdone” when you do you so well.
Even spotty songwriting can’t upset the vibe set by songs like “Bestuy“, featuring (apparent) now-girlfriend Lil Mama; a rip and sample from Lil Kim‘s Brooklyn ode, “Lighter’s Up“. This comes on the heels the Fat Joe-featured intro “New New York“. CNTH also sports a song titled “Brooklyn” Sigh…
Just so we’re clear, 5ive Mics is from New York!
He doesn’t let you forget it. We haven’t done the math, but spitballing, about 25% of this albums lyrics are pertaining to NYC in some way. This explains why Jim Jones (3x), Benny The Butcher, Papoose, Dave East, Nems, Juelz Santana and more are all here.
Another reason you may see these NY staples was given to us in the form of a genius rollout, courtesy of Math Hoffa’s My Expert Opinion podcast. 5ive revealed nouveau riche status via an $80,000 investment 4 years prior that turned into around “$7,000,000 off of stocks, I don’t have to rap“; he spits on “Imagine That“.
There are really no standout tracks, in a good way.
The main misstep is the 23-track output. The nearly 40-year old lacks versatility, and flat out is not interesting enough to warrant Jordan’s number. Another fault in this marathon tracklist is the mixing. It’s flat with not many bells and whistles, which is great, but doesn’t fair well over nearly 25 songs.
More mishaps: The “Fvck Out My Face” rapper’s big personality can’t mask the lack of personal lyrics on CKTH. Not that there are none, but not in an introspective way. If in the future he takes this to task on an official “debut”, these sentiments change in hindsight. For now, the lack of a “Many Men“, “Dear Mama” or “All Falls Down” leaves a glaring hole in the project.
Last mishap: Every beat flip and song-jack doesn’t work, 5ive. Weaving previously popular records into production is a tried and true method; but c’mon. Too many times, his (uncredited) producers and he run to that well. The results? Dry. Especially when it’s done with cheap-sounding instruments. Nah.
Overall, CKTH shines despite its shortcomings. A B-level executive producer could’ve brought this up 1.5 (of ten) points with just a bit of curation. This fact makes the Grand Hustle affiliate’s upside tremendous. 5ive Mics has a bright future in music, finally.