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I've run into a small batch of mixtapes in recent memory that fit that very definition, and some—like Danny Brown's XXX, Tree's Sunday School, and Jeremih's Late Nights With Jeremih, which is more of an R&B mixtape with lots of rapping than a hip-hop mixtape but is still quite fantastic—have taken up permanent residence in my skull, most likely at the expense of things I once found useful, including my rudimentary grasp of Italian. Now there's another one vying for a plot of space in my mind: The Luca Brasi Story, a brand-new collection from Kevin Gates.
The Luca Brasi Story popped up all over my Twitter feed last week shortly after the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, rapper dropped it; since then I've had to physically stop myself from playing the mixtape several times so that I don't wear it out too quickly, but it's rarely left my mind since I downloaded it. But for as much as I've thought about The Luca Brasi Story I've barely been able to make it past the first ten songs without restarting from the beginning; that's not a bad thing necessarily, but it's keeping me from getting a clearer picture of the entire thing and, well, listening to anything else.
And yet somehow I still can't stop obsessing over the way Gates slows down his flow as if he's holding back a hiccup on parts of "Neon Lights" or the way the synth on "Paper Chasers" sounds like it's pumping out of a speaker strapped to a carousel horse as it bobs up and down in circles. Perhaps one day I'll be as obsessed with the second half of The Luca Brasi Story as the first, though it may take months for me to get past "Hold Ya Head" and not give in to the urge to go back and listen to everything I just played.