Vado - Sinatra (Mixtape)

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"Sinatra" isn't so much a mission statement of Vado's recent progress, but rather a reiteration of what initially made the Harlem rapper such an exciting act.

Vado’s early career was a classic case of being in the right place at the wrong time. Born and bred in the streets of Harlem, Vado came out of the gate in 2009 with a natural instinct for rapping, and soon enough he found himself aligned with the biggest name in town, Cam’ron. While the organic partnership between the two yielded a few projects, there was the not so subtle notion that running with the Dips at that time didn’t mean what it did in 2003. Vado made the decision to cut ties and venture out on his own, before signing with DJ Khaled and We the Best a year or so after. His efforts since have been commendable, with his Slime Flu series already four mixtapes deep. Still, Vado has lacked the musical authority that seemed destined from the start.

His new EP, Sinatra, may just be the spark that Vado was searching for. In eight tracks, the 28-year-old provides an honest narrative that packs a lyrical punch. “Week Ago” chronicles Vado’s past life as a corner boy. He goes into survival mode, delivering a first hand account of the success that can be had in the drug game, as well as the pitfalls that occur if you’re caught slipping. “I Need” is the perfect counterbalance to this, where he skips the explicit street talk and forms a sense of urgency in his voice as he calls for the respect of his city. “All of y’all to put the crown on me / Show the city I’m king, and they can count on me / Pour Ace for some that had doubt in me / See the face of my son, and know he proud of me,” he raps over the soulful wail of a Maverick Sabre sample. It’s clear that Vado won’t allow his career shortcomings to become a representation of who he is, and his determination here speaks volumes.

In the past, Vado has disappeared when it comes to collaborative records on his own projects, with his last mixtape Slime Flu 4 becoming a clinic of sorts for this behavior. On Sinatra, the Harlem rapper handily takes the spotlight on “2 Fingers” alongside fellow We the Best labelmate Ace Hood. He faces stiffer competition on the Scott Storch-produced “Look Me In My Eyes,” with Rick Ross barrelling into the booming backdrop with his signature growl. Vado holds his own though, rattling off two verses that match Ross’ ferocity while French Montana plays hook man. Whether this record came together off Vado’s strength in the Rap game or simply by DJ Khaled picking up the phone for his signee, “Look Me In My Eyes” is an impressive cut that proves Vado is built for prime time exposure.

Vado comes up short on Sinatra when he attempts to tackle two New York classics. The first, “Be Like,” borrows heavily from Black Rob’s turn of the century anthem “Whoa!,” even down to the repetitive catchphrase at the end of every line. While Vado tweaks the delivery with his own tagline “Huhh,” the record quickly tapers off into obscurity. His other track, “Pimpin,” gets a bit more creative in the lyrical department as he boasts about transforming into “Mr. Steal Your Girl.” Word to Trey Songz. However, the shoes he’s trying to fill here happen to be owned by Jay Z, which are better left untouched than imitated.

Sinatra isn’t so much a mission statement of Vado’s recent progress, but rather a sharp reiteration of what made the Harlem rapper such an exciting act when he hit the scene five years ago. It’s brash and arrogant; New York at its core. He may be saved by the relatively short tracklist here, which comes as a relief when compared to the lengthy Slime Flu 4. Still, chalk Sinatra up in the win column for Vado. He’ll take it any way he can get it.


  • 973to336

    First off I would like to start by saying My favorite current artist in no particular order: Blu Wise Intelligent Lupe Fiasco Gerald Walker Gemstones I learned about Blu reading a review on this site back in 2007 or 2008 and bought the album and was extremely satisfied. So with this said, I regard the reviews and (some) of the comments on this site in a positive esteem. I never commented on this site before, but I have been following HipHopDX for quite some time. And, instead of study for my final I decided to comment on this. I just read the review of the Rick Ross album, and I haven't heard it yet, but it seemed pretty subjective. Rick Ross has gotten better as a rapper throughout his career and usually surprises me with albums better than I expect them to be. But I thought the review of this project (Vado's Sinatra) was fair, although I did like the songs "Be like" and the pimpin' song. I think he "paid homage" on those songs, while adding his own style, and neither of the original artist are Harlem artists. Vado isn't in the conversation for "most lyrical", but his honesty and his depiction/perspective of that "East Coast Life" is impressive.He has the ability to make commercially viable song, and his delivery and flow has that NY-Harlem feel (Sorta Juelz-esk,although I think Vado is much better than Juelz in his prime). Vado is a student of hiphop, not just another "gangsta" rapper or commercial artist. He shouts out all the legends based on track record or merit within the hiphop community and doesn't bias artist based on affiliation. On top of that, he shouts out the legends from the streets of New York, he names gangs and street legends that you would only know about through word of mouth. BTW The intro is fire, even though Lupe slaughtered that beat. That is All. Collab Albums I Would like to see: Wise Intelligent (Poor Rightoues Teachers) x Kanye West Shotgun Suge x Nipsey Hussle Blu x Miguel J. Cole x Gerald Walker AZ x Nas Papoose x Immortal Technique Tech N9ne x A$ap Rocky Trey Songz x Pusha T CRS (Fiasco, West, Pharrel) The Original FnF (Fiasco, Gemstones, Santos, Sarah Green) HIPHOPDX, thank you for this platform.

  • Anonymous

    Why the fuck this fool callin his shit Sinatra? Vados spit some racist shit on a song wit Camron one time

  • E.

    VADO always been pretty good.

  • Anonymous

    vado got next straight fire

  • slime

    Surprised how good this actually is after all the wackness.

  • dopebeats

    Dope better than anything since that big l tribute track.

  • KillaHSeasoN

    Vado sucks. This niggah had some weak ass bars when he was with cam, hasnt improved a bit. Cam was killin him and he's been washed up for about 7 years. Cam's goin the way of my niggah Prodigy - straight toilet. Vado's shxt flow should have been flushed since the start. Waste of Scott Storch beat

  • Anonymous

    I feel sorry for Vado now.. he should've stayed with Cam Could've been like a new Juelz if he just perfected that style but he got impatient

  • new

    dude should have stayed with camron

  • Anonymous

    I just want my music heard thats all, im not looking for no record deal, getting famous 'r anything like that.! so please just spare a few sec. to check me out, & if you like what you heard please SUBSCRIBE so ill know you actually listen & support

  • Killlaaaa

    Only way a new NY mc gon get any exposure is to let that mess khaled slob around In his videos smh..........I aint gonna rate I cant give a fair judgement on anything involving that fool the hate is real