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Veeze ‘Ganger’ Album Review | HipHopDX

At no point on Ganger, Veeze’s first album in four years, does he lend himself to any singular subgenre, theme, or era within Hip Hop. Ganger is sequenced as a drug-induced coma of shit-talking, flexing, reflections on an assortment of lovers, and babbles of unusually mundane banter with Lil Uzi Vert, because of course he would. Uzi, the rapper-turned-rockstar-turned-superstar casually leaves Veeze a voice recording with the intimacy of one’s closest confidant. There are people who you tell everything, and then there’s Veeze. Always with a hint of suspicion, he can spot forged exhibitionism from a mile away. Stripped of movie placements and online personas, even Uzi describes none other than an affinity for 7/11 pizzas and the new Peach Sour Patch Kids on the outro of “SEXY liar.” The supposed randomness has intention, maybe.

Are these the antics of an unofficial DJ-hosted mixtape presented by Lil Uzi Vert, stamped at the tail end with Uzi’s remix of Veeze’s “GOMD?” Maybe the sequencing and voicemail skits point towards a loose concept album, where Veeze is a strung-out, shit-talking interpretation of Drake on Take Care. Or perhaps Veeze and his band of producers maxed out a 16GB hard drive of 21 FLAC files, released to the world like Jai Paul’s Leak 04-13 (Bait Ones).

Whatever the intention, Veeze begins Ganger with a succinct proclamation of his presence. On “Not a drill,” he’s ushered in by four thunderous, double-time bass drum kicks every four measures at a time, repeating: “This ain’t a fire drill, n***a, this the real thing.” As trumpets scatter the background, hi-hats click, and Veeze adlibs to himself, essentially acting as his own echo, explicitly alluding to words he deems forewarning.

Brass turns to synths on songs like the adrenaline-infused R&B of “Kinda $;” the hi-hats even carry over to acoustic guitar love ballads like that of “Weekend,” where Veeze uses the strums of an acoustic guitar and slightly-metallic hits on a xylophone to grumble two emotionally-hardened verses, monotonously detailing his stoicism that’s on the verge of collapse. Veeze further acknowledges chinks in his armor on songs like “LICK,” where he trudges on, disillusioned by his own masochism yet still attempting to use humor as a crutch: “Pint sealed like my true feelings, stay bottled up/N***a watch your feelings, I don’t want you talking tough,” Veeze admits, hoping syrup and his cup’s fusion of colors will provide anything other than bleak catharsis.

The only aspect of Ganger that feels disingenuous is the actual presentation of the album. The “G.O.M.D. (Remix)” bonus track feels inauthentic, the transitions are erratic besides the handful of skits, and titles like “Unreleased leak” feel misleading for Veeze’s first full body of work in four years.

Though it should be considered a musical aggregate of Detroit’s rap scene, Ganger’s mixing is far ahead of its time within the realm of Hip Hop. Where more experimental, electronic-leaning acts change the mixing of vocals and instruments to distort their sound to become hardly recognizable, Veeze and his team of producers, including Ddot, Pooh Beats, and Bass Kid, toy with the idea of a slight change. The mixing on Ganger periodically boosts Veeze’s voice to be just a few decibels too high or too low, leaving his mumbles either subdued by the instrumental or overpowered by it. The result is a sound collage, where each element in each song feels repurposed under the direction of Veeze. On songs like, “WHOda1” and “Weekend,” the augmented volume of Veeze’s voice reflects a warm amity, whether it be whispering roasts into your ear or shedding his vulnerabilities a bit too close to the mic.

Veeze is always going to be Veeze. He’s a jack of all trades, and yet seriously unserious. But that’s what makes Ganger so audacious. Veeze is willing to do anything: if he wants to make a rambunctious Jersey club-inspired drill track, he will. If he wants to make a pop song with a chuckle-worthy call-and-response, he will. Like he says on the aptly-titled, “G.O.M.D.”: “Pop star? Bitch, I’m Justin Timberlake.“ We’re inclined to agree.

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