Back before Trinidad James made his infamous “We run y’all” comments in a club in Brooklyn, Troy Ave was making similar statements about New York-centric Hip Hop and promising to “restore the feeling.” With the release of New York City: The Album, it’s safe to say he came through on his promise. Less than two months from the release of his last project, Troy is right back with DJ Drama in tow for White Christmas 2. If New York City: The Album brought back memories of Get Rich or Die Tryin’ , White Christmas 2 is sure to remind listeners of the G-Unit mixtape run: aggressive, disrespectful New York street music with a slight sense of humor.
While the project is titled White Christmas 2, this is far from Yuletide themed project for holiday listening. Outside of a few samples, the project has no ties to the holiday season, and the subject matter is what fans of Troy Ave have come to expect. Even when he finds himself rapping over a sample of “Carol of the Bells” on “Merry White Christmas,” you still get the same Troy Ave. Troy raps, “Later on tonight, I’ma bury it in her throat / But for now, I’m hitting Queens for a plate of that curry goat / Damn I don’t know what the fuck I want on the side / Matter fact, you can give a nigga macaroni pie / I stay with cheese and shells, my squares flow steady / It’s really like I’m here eating already…”
While Troy Ave flexed his versatility on New York City: The Album, the subject matter on White Christmas 2 remains consistent but less varied. Troy opens up “Brooklyn Shit” rhyming, “Rappers want features, but that ain’t no swap nigga / Pay me mothafucka, I’m about my guap nigga/ I’m the talk of the city, New York’s savior / My little brother can’t buy no Jordan’s with favors / I’m blowing up, Flex dropping bombs to this / We ain’t the same nigga, you live with your Moms and shit…” He continues with, “Niggas is basic, I’m more complex / I can hear your rhymes, figure out what comes next / I’m really livin’ mine, tryna figure what comes next / That freshman cover, a major deal, jail, or death.”
While the subject matter remains the same throughout the project (get women, get money, represent New York) the production is all over the place, in a good way. Marce Reazon provides a certain liveliness on “Do It,” which allows Troy and Styles P to flow smoothly. Meanwhile, Illatracks’ violin sample and old school drum pattern provide the perfect, grimy backdrop for the aforementioned “Brooklyn Shit” with Uncle Murda. The constant change up in production, from the “Carol of Bells” sample on “Merry White Christmas” produced by Yankee, to Statik Selektah’s sped-up sample of “This Woman’s Work” on “Glitter and Gold” keep the album fresh throughout.
While artists’ mixtapes are now more like albums, White Christmas 2 gives off the feel of old cassette mixtapes—straight from the streets, unpolished, and rough around the edges. As the Rap game has become more about flash than actual talent, the rawness of White Christmas 2 is a breath of fresh air. The lack of variety in terms of lyrical content is made up for by the variety of the production, and Troy’s ability to treat White Christmas 2 like a true mixtape and experiment with different flows and hooks, keep the project from dragging. The talent displayed on New York City: The Album a couple months ago is still evident; however Troy keeps it very raw this go round.