Skeme – “Bare With Me” (Mixtape Review)  DX Consensus: “EP-Worthy”

Slowly but surely, the West Coast is marching back to the forefront of the Rap industry. With a scene that has been bubbling up locally and artists who have been focusing on honing their craft, critics and fans both have much to look forward to from the West. Skeme has been a part of this scene. If you look back at his 2010 project, “Pistols & Palm Trees,” you’ll see features by Kendrick Lamar and Dom Kennedy. And if you look at Kendrick’s Overly Dedicated, you’ll see Skeme as a featured artist. While his peers are breaking out to the mainstream and may appear new to some, they have coexisted and collaborated for years. Possibly understanding this, and seeing the attention on the West Coast—and himself specifically—Skeme has decided to take extra time to craft his latest album, Ingleworld. For the fans patiently waiting for new product, Skeme teamed up with DJ Skee to release “Bare With Me.” While it’s clear some of the tracks on his latest mixtape probably just weren’t good enough for the album, fans of Skeme and newcomers alike will still find some songs that fairly represent the artist behind quality projects like “The Statement.”

Over a sample of New Birth’s “You Are What I’m All About” (also used for Junior Mafia’s “Player’s Anthem”) Skeme breaks down his path to success on “Start To Finish” with the following:

“Start out with a bucket, then go grab a Charger / Get fly as fuck, then tell this world all ‘bout your departure / Tell your momma quit her job, ‘cause it’s getting real / Then tell them niggas that’s against you, just write out they will / Start out with nothing, then go out and grab the whole thang / Keep them squares out your circle and put on your gang / Let them labels chase you down, just copyright your name / And sell em pieces of the shit, that’s how you win the game…”

“Cuban Linx” finds Skeme collaborating with another West Coast representative in Nipsey Hu$$le. The results are an introspective Los Angeles anthem fans of both artists could have expected and will enjoy. On the other hand, when Skeme links up with Game and up and coming crooner Teeflii on the hook, the outcome is something gift wrapped for the clubs in “Poor Money.” Skeme’s wittiness is still present on the potential club banger, as he sneaks in double entendres like, “Fuck keeping it PC, I told that bitch I mack.” “Bare With Me” does a decent job of showcasing Skeme’s ability to craft introspective, thought-provoking raps, then switch it up and create club ready records.

While “Bare With Me” has its fair share of highlights, it also has its fair share of filler. “On Everything” finds the raspy voiced, West Coast emcee with a Southern drawl screwing his lyrics. For a lot of the songs on “Bare With Me,” it’s not that they’re necessarily bad, it’s that they aren’t necessarily good and serve no purpose. Songs like “Get Right,” which are just standard fare Rap songs (No new friends…I’m just about the money…I’m being hated on) could have been left off. As opposed to the 21 tracks featured on “Bare With Me,” Skeme could have picked 12 of the more solid tracks, leaving off songs like “All That.”

“Bare With Me” was made with the intention of providing fans content as they wait for Skeme’s anticipated album, Ingleworld. While it serves that purpose, a pared-down selection likely would have helped satisfy established fans while courting new ones. When it’s all said and done, tracks like “Let Me Be” are sure to build even more anticipation for a proper, retail album, despite the fact that 21 tracks is a lot for any artist on any terms. For a project created with the intention of holding off fans hungry for new material, eight to 10 solid songs, which can be found on “Bare With Me” would have made more of an impact had they appeared sans filler.