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A couple things jumped out at me upon first listening to Nothing Was the Same: there's the way Jay Z (remember, he ditched the hyphen) rhymes "cake" with "cake" multiple times on "Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2," and then there's the production. Nothing Was the Same is sumptuous, a bit bombastic, and boldly experimental—that's clear from the way beatmaker Noah "40" Shebib twists and warps a Whitney Houston sample on opener "Tuscan Leather." Right now I'm stuck on the one-two punch of "Wu-Tang Forever" and "Own It" and how the sample that provides the hook for the first song (Wu-Tang's "It's Yourz") soaks into the second track like tears dampening ruffled satin sheets.
I've played the "Wu-Tang Forever" and "Own It" far more than the rest of the album, but rather than simply rotate through other tracks on Nothing Was the Same I've looked elsewhere for a breather. Fortunately local rapper-producer Martin Sky just dropped his debut mixtape, Time(less), and it's provided an occasional break from overindulging in Drake. Sky's tracks caught my ear beforehand while combing through Fake Shore Drive, and I was so taken by the dude's production—it's lush, airy, and a bit cavernous—that I made sure to keep on top of his work. He produced the bulk of the music on Time(less), and Sky's beats are among some of my favorites on the mixtape. And just as I did with Nothing Was the Same I managed to find a couple back-to-back songs I'll likely play on a loop—the brassy, woozy "Pearl Gawd" and the light rattling, moody title track, and both are produced by Sky himself. Check out the mixtape below. I bet it goes great with pound cake.