Recently, Hollywood F.L.O.S.S., or as we've unofficially taken to calling him, The 135-Pound Smile, set to work on promoting Xperiment 2, a hybrid mixtape/self-marketing ploy.
Rather than simply sending out a completed mixtape to various media outlets, he sent out a sort of informal challenge. It was fairly simple. To paraphrase for ease, it was something like this:
In your inbox sit 23 tracks I recorded over a three-day-period. I understand that I can not reasonably expect to please all people, so I leave it to you to select the ten tracks that you feel are the best and present them to your readers as my new mixtape. I will not argue, nor will I complain. Two rules only: Please, select no more than 10 songs; you can select fewer if you like, but do not select more. And please use "Get Up" as the very first song.
Now, if you saw the email and thought, "What? I'm not doing this shit. I've got enough work to do, I don't have time do yours too, F.L.O.S.S.." then that was the end of that. Likely, more than a few people did just that.
However, if you felt compelled to give it a try, this little clever bit of advertising served two purposes, the second of which might have been brilliant as well completely accidental.
First, this process almost completely nullifies criticism. Since you're allowed to pick the tracks you like to comprise the tape, you very well can't complain about not liking any of the songs when it's done. You can't go shopping for a car, pick the one you want, then go home and be like, "Man, this car sucks." We mean, you could, but not without being an asshole.
Second, it engages you to the point where there is a sense of self-investment involved where there might otherwise be none, and that forces you to take constructing it seriously. That means you're going to want it to be good. And maybe that makes you say it's better than it might actually be.
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It's like, if you play just an ol' album for people and some of them say it sucks, who cares? You didn't make it. You just played it. Fuck, man, people call our brother ugly all the time, but what do we care? We didn't make him, we just introduced him to everyone. Besides, he is ugly. Everyone can see that.
But if you feel like you helped created something, you're a tad more apt to defend its quality. It's like if your baby is ugly instead of your brother. Nobody ever says, "Here's my baby, ain't it an ugly piece of shit?" Not even when it's the truth. No joke, when one of our boys came out of the womb, he looked like he'd just gotten off work as an extra on the set of The Hills Have Eyes. Still, we defended his perfection fiercely until his head grew into a more human-like shape.
That's what F.L.O.S.S. did here. He got you pregnant with his baby - his toothsome, skinny jeans-wearing musical baby.
So we listened through all of the tracks several times and comprised the definitive Xperiment 2 tracklist. If it differs from your version, that's because your baby is ugly and you're stupid.
Note: We selected eight tracks in total. Many of the others had potential, but on account of the short timeframe F.L.O.S.S. worked in, felt like they weren't allowed to grow into what they could've been.
Remember, this was the only track you're required to select. But even if it weren't mandatory, it still would've made it in. Production-wise, it sounds like the intro of a blaxpoitation movie. F.L.O.S.S. has a solid verse - you can expect the number of Thunder/Kevin Durant wordplays to grow exponentially this coming season; this is the second time we've heard it in the last two days - his speed is right and the energy doesn't wane. Could've done without all of the shot-outs at the end, though.
"Grand Reopening" feat. hasHBrown: This one makes it in on the strength of F.L.O.S.S.'s esoteric hat-tip to Ludacris. Also, you can absolutely hear the post-Kanye effects of F.L.O.S.S.'s cadence here.
"Try After Try": F.L.O.S.S. has a penchant for trying to perform hooks himself; he succeeds here, mostly on the fact that he's being so ambitious with it.
An economy of sound, very mixtapey track. Kidd The Great, who plays a starring role here, is super fun. His fat-guy wisp is very enjoyable, and he crushes the hook (a redo of Beyonce's "Get Me Bodied"). He stole this song. We'll act like we didn't notice when he referenced someone named "Keith Schilling" when he meant to reference former Red Sox ace "Curt Schilling" though. Perhaps that's why his name isn't Kidd The Super Huge Baseball Fan.
"Street Cred 2": F.L.O.S.S. is so very clearly not a Street Cred-type of rapper that you can expect to hear these types of satirical anti-street-cred songs for quite a while. This will be a trend in his early career, that's why it gets the nod. Also because it brings up discussion on whether or not a girl having quarter-sized nipples is a good thing or a bad thing. We're going with bad, by the way. That's just too thick a nipple for anyone's good.
"Being Great": F.L.O.S.S. seems to perform best when the production is scaled back; that's what you get here. If he were to let this one grow organically -maybe run it through the production cycle once or twice more, bring someone in to tinker with and deliver the hook - it could very easily make it as a standout track on his debut. Good, good song.
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Anytime you drop a redo of UGK's "Get Throwed," it's getting a spot in the starting lineup. By the way, where has Dustin Prestige been? That guy was ill. His verse here is a highlight. hasHBrown too gets a little loose, which is nice. It feels like the hook needs some work, but that might be because Z-Ro was absolutely perfect in the original version. Still, three very good verses delivered over one of UGK's all-time great tracks? It's in.
"Who You Know": F.L.O.S.S. typically settles into two different cadences on his songs; a boom-bap, Huh-HUH-huh-huh-HUH pattern and a multi-syllabic, bedded pattern. We get a lot of the former on this tape -again, likely on account of the timeframe in which this project was put together.
But when he gives the latter, like he does here in the first half of the second verse, he is a very clever, very formidable rapper. He zones out for a second here. If he does enough of this type of stuff on his debut album, expect a lot of people to say a lot of very nice things about it.
Booyah. Download all the tracks and put together your own version of the tape here. And follow F.L.O.S.S. on Twitter at @hollywoodFLOSS.