Memphis rapper NLE Choppa has found great success that many other artists could only dream to achieve at an extremely young age. With his hit single, “Shotta Flow” released in early 2019, the then 16 year-old launched himself into the eye of the mainstream and managed to keep up his presence in the rap game with a string of popular single releases. On Choppa’s debut EP Cottonwood, his fanbase is given seven new tracks that continue to build upon the street music foundation he has laid for himself. If you are attracted to the energetic delivery and melodic style with which he raps about guns, women, and the so-called “opps” then this project has that in spades.
The EP shows a promising start to the young rappers career with songs like “Clicc Clacc” and “Cruze” featuring Meek Mill – arguably the best new song on the album. On the tracks “Untold,” and “Side” we are blessed to hear a more melodic tone to break up the frequent aggressive songs on the album. They also go a long way in showing that Choppa is more than just a one trick pony.
Back to “Cruze” however, the track keeps Meek Mill right at home rapping alongside another street rapper. The duo combine to make a song about flexing and protecting the hard earned riches of the industry. Plucked strings and a relaxed delivery make this song stand out on the project with a very different sound than others. Meek plays a crucial role in the track by providing the hook and opening verse which set the tone for the song that complements Choppa’s cadence and subject matter on the song.
“Shotta Flow” and the song’s remix have also made the cut and are included on the project. The beat of course remains the same with a notable and bouncy piano and 808. “Shotta Flow” put NLE Choppa on the map for a reason, the undeniable bounce provided by snare mixing with piano notes make way for NLE Choppas absurd and at sometimes uncalled for bars that are just catchy as all hell. On the remix, fellow Crip Blueface feels right at home with his absurd bars and comedic delivery.
Unfortunately, not all the songs on the album sound as polished as the aforementioned tracks. This is true for about a third of the album songs like “Step,” “Chances,” and “Matrix.” They all fall into an unfortunately repetitive sound with recurring subject matter and little to differentiate the songs. “N.W.A.” manages to narrowly avoid falling into this category with refreshing production and bounce that matches Choppa’s flow well.
Overall Cottonwood is another step in NLE Choppa’s career that doesn’t quite show growth but is forgivable due to the recency of the MC’s arrival on the scene. The subject matter and flow can be repetitive at times. Thankfully, the EP works as a proof of concept that he can hang with other artists of his same caliber. I recommend skipping “Matrix” and instead giving your time to “Cruze” and tracks like it. The amount of stick and distinction some of his lines have however may go a long way in helping seperate himself from the crowd in the coming years.
Favorite Tracks: Cruze, Clic Clac, Untold
Least Favorite: Step, Chances, Matrix
Review By: Jahi McDonald