Bling Free Vol. 3

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Thank God for wack emcees. Without them, true-school alum like Ann Arbor’s DJ Graffiti would have little motivation. Back with the third installment of his anti-hip-pop consortium, Graffiti’s Bling Free Vol. 3 raises the bar several notches higher while Graf quietly vies for the mixtape throne of the Midwest. With such a solid showcase of mainstream, underground and Detroit lyricist featured on this compilation, it’s a wonder that Graffiti found the time to get licensure of all 38 tracks making the latest edition to the Bling Free saga “official.” Standouts include Finale’s “Change” and Brother Ali’s “Champion Remix.” Detroit producers Wajeed and what’s-his-face formerly of Slum Village bless several cuts such as Elzhi’s “It’s Your World” and Phat Kat’s “Destiny” to keep the Barak family in heavy mixtape rotation. With international distribution pushing Bling Free Vol. 3 across the Atlantic, it’s a blessing to see Michigan emcees standing toe-to-toe with Wordsworth, EPMD, and Fakts One, also featured on this release. Although the CD lulls briefly at the halfway mark like most mixtapes, Graffiti switches gears toward soul and IDM at the end with Science Fiction and Ghostly’s Dabrye keeping the laptop heads well satisfied. Overall, DJ Graffiti’s latest release has the head-nod production and impressive line-up well worth that crumpled 10-spot in your wallet.

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