Anyone who’s managed to watch modern cult classics from The Wood to this year’s breakout success Dope should have a fairly solid idea of Los Angeles County suburb Inglewood. The upwardly mobile square off Victoria Ave to the infamous hood “The Bottoms” gives the City of Champions dichotomies separating the semi-affluent and impoverished within its small nine square miles. While Southern California’s Hip Hop scene has historically placed Los Angeles and Compton front and center, Inglewood been only known for a handful of local heroes. This includes Mack 10, Casey Veggies and current man of the hour Skeme. Since dropping his breakout mixtape Pistols & Palm Trees five years ago, Mr. Lonnie Kimble has grown into one of West Coast Hip Hop’s most consistent individuals. Most importantly, Skeme’s profile has risen significantly since dropping 2012’s Ingleworld and becoming more known for his ghostwriting prowess. Waving the flag for his hometown pridefully, he continued the series earlier this year in early June through Ingleworld 2. While both entries in the Ingleworld series featured some high profile guest features from Kendrick Lamar, Wale, Young Thug, Iggy Azalea, T.I. and other chart-topping emcees, his third installment Ingleworld 3 is a lot more intimate.
Keeping the guest list short really allows listeners to take Skeme on his own merit. Thankfully, he knows how to properly perform in the spotlight. Ingleworld 3 opener “We Against The World” serves as quite The Statement (no pun intended) with slick bars like: “Niggas love talking tough until we find their whereabouts/ pull out to your spot with them youngins so we can air it out/ walking into the ring with the king bet you get carried out/first round, KO killers move when I say so/all this paper and cheese no way I can lay low.” The momentum builds on Ingleworld 3 highlight “Anyway” which sonically feels like a continuation of Ingleworld 2 standout “That N*gga” minus Thugger. That continues on later lyrical exhibitions “Lucci” and “The Release.” Simply put, Skeme is really at his best when he spits with an unsatisfied hunger.
Alongside some much needed fat trimming, Ingleworld 3’s Achilles-heel are redundant themes standard with most radio-friendly Hip Hop (money, cars, women, gunplay, aspirations) and overuse of auto-tuned assisted sing-sung moments. This is more apparent on tracks like “Reppin,” “Cake” and “Dirty.” Those issues aren’t apparent on Ingleworld 3 lead single “36 Oz” featuring Chris Brown as he lets the controversial R&B singer-turnt-rapper handle hook duties. Speaking of guest verses, Skeme holds his own yet again with T.I. on “Go.” Matter of fact, he even manages to outshine Atlanta’s king with a slightly more aggressive flow. In line with many artists today feverishly recording several tracks per day, there are quality control issues get pushed aside for album filler which becomes a huge liability.
Skeme has spent the vast majority of his career in the middle of nearly every scene stretching the West Coast. Ingleworld 3 doesn’t necessarily serve as the vehicle to push him further into Hip Hop’s consciousness. Instead, Inglewood’s finest yet again reminds listeners he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Cutting down on features this time around was a bold move considering how well placed they were on previous projects. However, barring most of the weight doesn’t help when playing things too safe. Sometimes the album sounds as if he’s still going through the motions. But, there isn’t anything stopping Skeme when he’s on lyrically on a roll and that’s when things come together best. Another solid album in his already impressive catalogue, Ingleworld 3 does a well enough job in establishing him as someone with loads of future potential.