EDGEWOOD (Trouble & Mike WiLL Made-It)

I recently tweeted that Apple Music, Spotify, and the like should really list the credited producers of every song alongside the customary “name artists”.

Right on cue comes Edgewood, a collaboration between rapper Trouble and producer Mike-WiLL Made It that’s billed as such. Props to Mr. Made-It making such a name for himself…I just wish he was as adept at making beats as he self-evidently is as building his brand.

Though that judgy statement might be a tad unfair based on Edgewood’s quality alone. In the same way it’s almost impossible to accurately evaluate a rapper separate from their producers, the latter’s work completely changes based on the nature of the rapping that accompanies it. Edgewood serves as a rather enlightening case study to prove this theory.

Though its chock-full of the minimalist beats that have become Mike WiLL’s calling card — which by themselves always stand apart from the overproduced schlock that’s the norm these days — the vast majority are only complemented by Trouble’s uninspired rapping, which is anything but complimentary to WiLL’s talents. There’s a reason that the album — and, by proxy, Mike’s beats — only come alive when featuring the likes of The Weeknd, Quavo, Fetty Wap, and particularly Drake.

The 6-God might be the king of demonstrating how a rapper can completely change the how a beat lands. Even though his smoothly-sexy — and often auto-tuned — voice almost always sounds the same, his seamlessly-varied flow can radically alter a production’s rhythm. Whereas the monotony of Trouble’s rapping bleeds into the beats, making them all seem too much alike, someone with Drake’s unlimited flow can make Mike WiLL’s artistry sound like it deserves to be credited by Apple Music.

For another example of the importance top-tier rappers play in allowing us to properly appreciate a producer’s musical contributions, listen to Mike WiLL’s newest single, with its cavalcade of names bigger than most of the ones that appear on Edgewood:

Not only is it better than every track on the album, the all-star cast makes the beat register in a way that it didn’t for Part 1, even though it’s largely the same.

The only difference between the two:

The guests.

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