Young Gunz

Get in Where You Fit In

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Young Gunz, the relatively underage rap duo down with Roc-a-Fella who got a career jump-start with the great single "Can't Stop, Won't Stop," aren't the type of rappers you'd expect to release an underground-style mixtape, but that's precisely what they did in the wake of their so-so debut album, Tough Luv. In short, it's a good move for them. If anything, they needed to toughen up their image a bit, as Tough Luv was a bit too centered on love and not enough on toughness -- or so most rap fans would argue (the other side of the urban music fence might differ, of course). And that is what the duo of Young Chris and Neef do here on Get in Where You Fit In. From the gun-laden cover art to the duo's quite impressive hardcore raps, the guys show a side of themselves that was curbed on the MOR raps of Tough Luv. Moreover, they show a welcome grasp of hip-hop history, interpolating vintage A Tribe Called Quest on "Can I Kick It" (yes, they can), dropping heat over one of the hottest tracks New York has ever heard (Mobb Deep's "Shook Ones"), and even taking it all the way back to the golden age for "No Half Stepping" (yup, the timeless Big Daddy Kane classic). Plus, it's nice to see them cross paths with Kanye West on a remix of "Grown Man," and also the one and only Usher, on a remix of "Throwback." There are a few freestyles here and there -- always a good gauge of an MC's true ability -- and none of the tracks lasts too long, keeping the mixtape flowing along at a good, quick pace. There's an overall feel of a party going on throughout Get in Where You Fit In, and that too is a bonus, as it keeps the mood light and fun, regardless of how much tough-guy fronting these guys partake in. Strangely enough, this off-label mixtape ends up being a more enjoyable listen than Tough Luv, for rap fans at least. Chris and Neef aren't confined by commercial norms here, and over the course of this tape you really get a better sense of who they are -- they seem like real people here, not tailor-made pop-rappers with one eye on the dudes and the other on the girls.

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