Esso is an enigma. When he drops, he does his fucking thing, but he drops next to never. He’s a veteran of the Rapmullet review, the type of artist that welcomes the scrutiny, criticism and prepares his next release with said admonishments in mind. I’ve written reviews and gotten angry letters or phone calls the next day, but never from Esso. He accepts the criticism, because he believes that he has room to grow. Braggadocio is natural for an mc, but when you believe that you are above reproach, as so many mixtape Dj’s do, you should pack up your mic, get on the train out of town, destination; never getting on.
It’s good to see Sickamore still supporting real talent and new to the Esso formula is XXL’s own Dj Rhude. When the East is in the house you should come equipped and that these boys did. “Rock Star” as a title is like renaming pussy, sweaty balls. The winding guitar and slow flow that Esso employs are the shit, but the title alone might make you pass this by as another cliché Southern beat based attempt at a hit. “Gossip” is some straight off the Harlem streets swagger….call me a throwback/pardon my lateness…and the sampled chorus is reminiscent of early Heat Makers. The constant narration can be a bit formulaic at times, but the drops by Sickamore are so well known that if you’re a fan of his series you might actually be looking for it. Rhude keeps the party going with effortless transitions. I’m sorry, but I hate when dudes just slam the tracks together, because that’s whats easy to do.
“Pardon The Interruption” moved slow as hell and the over used instrumental was the nail in the coffin. “Anti-Back Pack” is the most fun I’ve had with an artist mixtape since Rapmullet was established. I had the privilege of being at the premiere of the video and it screamed of Esso’’s readiness to entertain offers from the mid-majors, because dude deserves better than a major deal. It was pure entertainment and there were no boring, bullshit rapper clichés.
I’d like to give Esso 4 tapes, because he put together an exceptional piece of work, but I couldn’t in good faith award the highest honor we have to “E3”, because that would leave him no room to improve and don’t think he believes that of himself. “E3” and the video for the first single are a level that I’m sue Esso himself didn’t think was possible. If he were given that ½ Tape, what would he have to reach for?