Lil' Flip is a new champion of Southern hip-hop. The Houston native's style is as laconic as Too $hort and as unapologetically hook-heavy as MC Hammer. This isn't an innovation -- Memphis's Three 6 Mafia has been perfecting this blueprint for years. Like that notorious group, Flip, first introduced to a pop audience last year via David Banner's "Like A Pimp," is also introducing his great new double album U Gotta Feel Me in two different mixes: a regular version, and a "screwed & chopped" version that slows down the original and simulates a codeine trip.
The difference between Flip and those other guys, however, lies in his charisma. He is an unquestioned star, a smart writer with a cocky voice, a lazy but articulate flow, and an enjoyable amount of arrogance that fuels lyrics such as "Niggas are like roaches/When the lights on, they runnin'," on "Ain't No Party." Unlike his peers, he doesn't growl all over his producers' string-and-guitar-laden beats. Even on the "screwed & chopped" disc, his vocals have a confident bounce that adds to the psychotic aesthetic, especially on the lead single "Game Over (Flip)." Produced by Fury, the song is a Pac-Man-sampling head-bobber on the regular mix and an unsettlingly inert scorcher on the "screwed & chopped" mix.
It's still hard to argue that any rap music coming out of bawdy H-Town can ever be truly commercial in its defiant obscenity. But U Gotta Feel Me, through its startling string of four-minute rockers, comes as close as any Dirty South album ever has.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.