Trouble + Mike Will Made It presents an edgier storyline of Atlanta with "Edgewood"
Written by Kolin Miller
I’m sorry Mr. Charlie, this s*** slaps. As a lower-middle class, white, country-born suburban-raised college student, sometimes I find it hard to relate to a lot of content in my favorite genre of music. Yeah, sure, I’ve had some sketchy stuff happen in my past which allows certain works and rappers to resonate with me – no I am NOT talking anything by Lil Dicky, G-Eazy, or typical “white rap” as most of that music, in my opinion, is even more ostracizing and pandering than corporate industry-plant promotional commercials — but usually I am just vibing along with the caricature created by the rapper’s performance and production. On this crisp, Atlanta-based trap testimony put together by rapper “Trouble” and living-production-legend “Mike WiLL Made-It,” sit all the essentials of a true southern trap album. Edgewood is a subgenre-defining piece of where the Atlanta sound has been centered around.
Amidst such a dense concentration of rappers coming out of the Atlanta/Atlanta Metroplex – along with literally hundreds of artists joining the game from bedroom mics every day in every city – it is very easy to get lost in a mass of bland-ass mixtapes with sonic elements which have been done to death. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I believe notable Atlanta artists, such as Gucci, Migos, 21, Thugger, Future, etc., are partially to blame for the massive quantities of over-and-done Atlanta trap music which overloads the Soundcloud front page. This is due in part to their stylistic, metaphorical-father, “Gucci Mane” setting the standard for a crazy work ethic and an unheard-of quantity of musical releases per year for fellow Atlanta artists way back in the mid-2000’s.
Now, I am perfectly aware that much of my work seems to skew in support of the artists I cover, however, do not let this take away from the praise I am building up for Edgewood.
I almost hate to say it, but Trouble gave me the Gucci Mane project I’ve been waiting on since The Oddfather – with many other projects in between that came close to but couldn't quite make the cut. The most personality I have heard in an Atlanta trap project this year has come from a rapper I only knew from Lupe Fiasco’s “Chopper” and YFN Lucci’s “Key to the Streets.”
In efforts not to spoil so much of what makes the project so enjoyable and refreshing, I want to briefly just mention some individual positives that characterize the album as such in my opinion. You know what? I haven’t done a numbered list before so let's try that:
Reasons why Edgewood is the freshest project to come out of Atlanta in 2018 thus far
1. Feature balance – going back to my bicker about some current trends in hip-hop which I feel are a plague on the industry I want to address features. Everyone loves a dope feature from a contrasting artist to add a certain level of depth and complexity to an artist we are already familiar with stylistically. That being said, I for one am tired of seeing project drop with 20 some-odd tracks, and features on damn near every single one. Edgewood, while I wouldn’t call it feature lenient, is definitely not a drop in the pond of feature-overloaded projects – and if it is then my only defense is the features are tastefully done in a manner that allows Trouble to prove he can hold his own on a track without relying on Weeknd-clone choruses, big-name carriers, exhausted motifs of gospel-like vocals, or desperate amounts of single-element rappers crammed into one track with each taking over only one structural element of the track. On the contrary, Edgewood features only seven credited features out of the 16 tracks, each one not too extensive where it takes away from Trouble’s deserved spotlight, and not too minimal where it's forgettable. Personally, my favorite of these features is surprisingly Quavo’s and Fetty Wap’s contribution to the track “Rider.”
2. Skit placement and usage — obviously there’s a reason we haven’t heard much of Trouble, an obviously talented MC, who is aptly named so. The outro of the starting track “Real is Rare (Edgewood) / The Woods,” features who we can assume is Trouble running from the ‘ops on foot as they pursue him in cruisers, and a helicopter. This track transitions into a prayer-skit featuring an ominous explanation by Trouble explaining he is the way that he is not because of choice but because of the lack thereof.
3. Mike WiLL production – I don’t need to explain this at all do I? I mean, just listen to the third track “Might Not.”
4. The outro track – the ending that I could feel myself wanting as I progressed through the album the first time is the ending Trouble gives us.
I can’t remember the last time I had so many positive things to say about a trapping project, as I feel with the genre’s colossal tidal-wave like a takeover of the mainstream has brought along too many copycats or underwhelming blatant cash-grabs of projects recently. In a single listen Edgewood created an instant “Trouble” fan.
Listen to the "Edgewood" Album below