Mistah F.A.B. dropped his latest mixtape, “Hella Ratchet,” in late August of this year. The North Oakland rapper, who has been signed to Mac Dre’s label, Thizz Entertainment, and Atlantic Records, definitely came through with that notorious Bay Area sound that characterizes many of the biggest names F.A.B. has worked with and gained influence from. The tape touched upon a pretty good variety of classic, as well as more recent, West Coast sounds including hyphy, club, trap, and EDM vibes. With a handful of hot tracks and dope collaborations, I would say this mixtape came out pretty solid.
When listening to this tape, the first thing that caught my attention was the production. Most of the beats were hot and definitely something to get hype to, which is really the vibe F.A.B. should focus on with his particular subject matter. However, some of the beats were pretty dull and too straightforward. I really consider this mixtape to be a party project, and unfortunately, some of the songs start to sound like a house party dying down at the end of the night. In such an instance, you want the DJ to keep things moving, otherwise everyone’s going to leave! In my opinion, a few of the songs in the second half of the tape would have popped if he had just chose better production. On the other hand, I think there are some tracks where it gets a little too loud. There are 3-4 tracks where the bass is so loud that the entire track is peaking. I’m not sure if it’s just an issue with my speakers (and I have some pretty nice studio monitors), but either way, F.A.B. should take into consideration that his average listener doesn’t have legit subs to listen to his mixtape on. The track, “Another Bitch,” was dope, however was very low quality. It sounded like the engineer didn’t spend much time mixing down everything and, on top of that, did not master it at all. For someone signed to Mac Dre’s label, I would have expected him to be in touch with more top-quality producers and studio engineers.
I thought all the people who collaborated on this mixtape were great. If there’s one thing I hate when listening to a mixtape, it is when an artist picks shitty collabs. F.A.B. was sure to bring in some hot names like Too Short, Keek da Sneak, Andre Nickatina, and many others. I usually don’t like tapes that have features in all the songs, but it worked well for this one. One suggestion I have, though, is to make sure the collaborating artist flows on the beat smoothly. Take Keek’s verses for instance. His flow is very specific and is going to sound odd if you snap his chill verse in-between someone else’s hyped up verse. Also, I did not really understand why “No Pussy” is included on the mixtape. It is already an hour long, so why try to squeeze in an extra track that you aren’t even featured in? Not only that, but it is the last song. Usually an artist makes sure the last song leaves an impression on the listener that makes people want to hear more.
The mixtape’s content remains pretty constant and simple, which is okay. However, by the time we reach the second half of the tape, it starts to sound a little too repetitive. I understand hooks are supposed to be catchy and straightforward, but that doesn’t necessarily mean repeat the same couple words 4-8 times in every single song. I think part of this problem has to do with the length of the tape. It was about an hour long. Realistically, you cannot expect most listeners to sit through the entire tape, top to bottom. It also does not help that F.A.B. organized the tape in such a way that the best tracks are first and the others are last. The mixtape starts off great, but eventually, the momentum plateaus and I lost interest.
Overall, “Hella Ratchet” was a cool mixtape. Most of the production was great, but some tracks could use a little tweaking around and some better mastering. All of the collaborations were on point, although some artists did not flow together as smoothly as they could have, had they been on a different track. As a whole, it is clear that there was no real concept or direction, but I’m sure compilations like this appeal to many listeners and fans. For me, on the other hand, it got a little tedious to listen to. I had to listen to the whole thing so I could finish up this review, but in reality, when the average listener starts to get bored, they will just hit “next.”