"It ain't nothin' to bash a n---a rhythm, But to be quite honest, I'm past the criticism, I'm d--k riding 'cause I'm a bit violent? And my vocal chords go close to your lords?" -- Angelous on "Your Average Ang"
Call him gifted, refer to him as cursed, or say that he sounds like that "other" rapper that carried "The Gift and the Curse." But no matter what you prefer to call him, Angelous just wants to make sure that you are calling him something.
"It Ain't A Game, Part IV," Angelous' fifth mixtape effort on K-Class Entertainment and a rare double-CD excursion for the mixtape scene, serves as the Brooklynite's most complete effort to date, a combination of lyrical skill and microphone presence mixed with an array of topics to display Ang's many talents of the mic. While Angelous tends to stick to the tried-and-true format of beat-jacking popular tunes and laying vocals on top of them, his maturing flow should begin to cease the Jay-Z comparisons and open Ang's opportunities up within the recording industry.
Angelous (whose shameless self-promotion brings forth the nicknames "Recognizable Name" and "Ang Wonder") brings forth several run-of-the-mill mixtape bangers, namely "My Sacrifice" (over G-Unit's "Salute U") and "You're Not Ready!" (over 50 Cent's "You Like My Style"). Both showcase Angelous' ability to hold a solid flow over a beat and, though both use production from others' albums, Ang chooses welcomed beats that do not follow the normal "choose the hottest and most recent" format that so many other emcees choose for mixtapes.
The real Ang Wonder, however, steps forward and shines on several of the more topically-based tracks of "It Ain't A Game" that see Ang discussing everything from love and lust to loyalty, depression, and hard times. "Loyalty" (over Akon's "Locked Up") discusses scenarios on the topics of trust and loyalty between men and women with a packed tale of the genders turning on one another within several scenarios. "Love Don't Change" (over Shyne's "Bonnie and Shyne") flips Ang's tale of having to choose between a friend he grew up with and a girl that makes him choose between her and that friend. By implementing Shyne's final line, "Get up on the bed, ma, I ain't done yet," into the final line of his own tale, Ang presents a surprise ending to a story that relates to others as well as it is told through his own experiences.
At the top of his game though, Angelous jacks a beat and outdoes the original artist as he uses Obie Trice's "Don't Come Down" (a great effort itself) to create "Things Work Out," which presents an uplifting tale of the many problems that anyone, white, black, Latino, etc., can go through. "It's like the whole world's against you and its aim and its cause, To break your ride, make you cry, when it rains it pours," Ang spits over the powerful beat as he inspires those without the voice to complain about the ailments of life themselves.
Not everything Angelous touches turns out as well as these efforts, unfortunately, as the "steer-clear" anthem of "It Ain't A Game, Part IV" is "This Is A Warning," which uses Jay-Z's Black Album track "Threat" as its background. Ang Wonder fails the 9th Wonder-production by replicating much of the original Jay-Z song idea and making this sound too much like the original. A plethora of unworthy guest appearances on several tracks ("Brand New Flava," "The Movement," "Tha Reality" to name a few) also plague the second disc of the mixtape, burying Angelous amongst the dreaded double-disc filler that plagues so many two-CD releases attempting to deliver 25-30 tracks from a single artist.
"My predecessors will never let up, so why should I? I'm on my grind everyday, n---a, I'll survive," Angelous boasts, clearly referring to his fellow Brooklyn rappers Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z. Like a kid imitating Michael Jordan on the basketball court, Angelous may have started off his career understandably imitating Jay-Z, but he has quickly matured into his own rapper. "It Ain't A Game, Part IV" establishes Angelous as a viable and legitimate rapper within a hip-hop underworld that features few putting as much time into their careers as him. Call him whatever you want, he just wants you to call him something. Angelous is coming.