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Album Review: Mike Will Made It – #MikeWiLLBeenTriLL Mixtape

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Mike Will Made It did not sell out. If you’ve been acquainted with the Atlanta producer for longer than two years, you were introduced to him through his work with guys like Gucci Mane and 2 Chainz on the ATL mixtape circuit. His trap-rap-gone-galactic sound led to his star-making “Bandz a Make Her Dance” beat for Juicy J and “Mercy” for G.O.O.D. Music, and his recent spike in renown among soccer moms is thanks to producing two-thirds of Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz. I wouldn’t call him a genius, exactly; and yet as someone whose favorite producer is Kanye and who’s abhorred the stagnant repetition of others’ beats, Michael Williams’ presence at different corners of pop is always welcome.

Here’s numerology of the titanic Mike Will Been Trill, Williams’ latest compilation: 25 tracks in 80 minutes, with eight appearances from Future (well, more than that – he also hosts), eight between Gucci Mane and 2 Chainz (who keep a stethoscope on Williams’ street-level pedigree), and one from Miley (her robot-meets-girl duet with Future, “My Darlin’”). Some of the songs themselves sound absolutely huge. The 11-minute “Sh!t Megamix” is a volcanic, triple-stacked redux of one of Future’s many 2013 hits – and this version features (deep breath) Drake, Juicy J, Schoolboy Q , T.I., and Jeezy, to name fewer than half the song’s guests. Jay Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail detour “Beach Is Better”, meanwhile, doesn’t even reach the minute-and-a-half mark but explodes bright as any song here. Sometimes Williams’ chart dominance seems to be the result of sheer force.

Migos’ “Whippin’ a Brick”, on which the trio is again determined to drill a song into your head with just a couple-three words, proves that pop’s training grounds haven’t robbed Williams of his ability to crank out hood-centric fury. So does Gucci’s “East Atlanta 6”, one of the most direct songs Gucci’s ever recorded. So does the Schadenfreude of Project Pat’s “Never Be a G”. You can look at the tracklist of Mike Will Been Trill and instantly know that it’s a collection of some of the most vital sounds on the radio today. Still, the overlap here of the hardest of street-rap with potent pop and R&B marks Williams as a musical mind without apparent boundaries.

Essential Tracks: “Whippin’ a Brick” (Migos feat. Wiz Khalifa), “More Than Likely” (2 Chainz), and “Sh!t Megamix” (Future feat. all the other rappers)

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