Within the Paper Route Empire camp, it’s been Key Glock who has continued building on the foundation that Young Dolph has set for him. Losing a family member like Dolph, who was Glock’s cousin-by-marriage, an early supporter of his rapping career, and rhyming partner for their Dum and Dummer albums, could set anyone back and make them quit music. But Paper Route Empire has a roster full of talent hand-picked by Dolph who has the same hunger and determination that he did. Even if Glock wasn’t ready to fulfill his destiny yet, he was groomed for success by Dolph. Last year, he floated the idea of going to acting school because music wasn’t hitting the same for him anymore. It was a hesitation that only motivated him to go harder, announcing a tour for Yellow Tape 2 and releasing the PRE5L EP on the first annual Dolph Day, a day of remembrance to honor the life of Dolph.
Glock is only picking up the pace in 2023. He has the most visibility right now as one of PRE’s core members to carry the torch passed on by Dolph, releasing a sequel to his 2018 mixtape Glockoma and going on tour again in March. The first Glockoma was one of the best mixtapes of 2018 alongside Future’sBeast Mode 2 and Lil Baby and Gunna’sDrip Harder. Five years later, Glockoma 2 arrives when Key Glock is an established Memphis trap specialist, continuing to show promise with elevated slick talk and better punchlines.
If you haven’t listened to a Key Glock album yet, it’s like riding down Elvis Presley Blvd in a foreign dripped in designer. Each song represents strolling down the street with a pimp coat and cane energy. Beat-wise, some of the same producers from Glockoma return such as Tay Keith, King Ceeo, and BandPlay to create a Memphis trap that’s minimalist, rattling with bass hits and hi-hat ticks. Hitkidd lands a pair with “Pop My Shit” and “In & Outta Town,” pushing the sounds of Memphis into the clubs.
By now it’s no secret that BandPlay and Glock are forever locked in, with Bandplay originally making his formal debut producing three tracks on Glock Bond and remaining a go-to producer for Glock on the rest of his projects. On “Chromosomes,” Glock shows little struggle in bagging ounces, hustling, and looking like a pot of gold with his bracelets, proclaiming that he has “money, money, money, money running through my chromosomes!”
With any sequel, some fans are going to prefer Glockoma over Glockoma 2. Glockoma does have a slight edge in that “Since 6ix,” “Bottom of the Pot,” and “Gang Shit No Lame Shit” are must-hear Glock tracks he performs live. But when looking at the bigger picture, Glockoma 2 expands his universe with a new batch of bangers, mirroring the output of Dolph and making each project distinguishable from the next with more personal anecdotes.
Because Glock has worked closely with Dolph throughout his career, there are times when Glock borrows Dolph’s flow and sounds a lot like him. Whether this was a conscious decision or not, songs like “2 for 1,” “Designer Down,” and “From Nothing” almost match the same cadence and structure, backed by similar ad-libs as Dolph’s. That mirroring can sometimes border on the level of tedious, like when a cover band flies too close to the sun.
Glock uniquely shines in his ability to rap lyrics that will get stuck in your head; on “Dirt,” it’s the “No. 1 rule get that money mane, I got that shit from Dolph,” and on “Randy Orton,” it’s his delivery of “I’m savage but don’t call me Randy/I’m slammin’ these bitches like Randy Orton,” a shout-out to his lightning quick powerslam.
On Glockoma 2, Glock makes a point to call out the industry and talk tough about his independence. He raps on “Ratchet,” “Got money on my mind every time a n***a get up/I’m shitting on the industry, can’t crop me out the picture,” which could be his way of addressing all the fake people he’s encountered and why you shouldn’t erase him from hip-hop history. He says “Bitch, I’m signed to the field/Yeah I still haven’t signed a deal” on “Homicide Gvng” and boasts he might pay himself for a feature on the album’s final track cause he’s gone platinum without a feature before.
Only a few rappers can say they made their first million at 18 and 19 and drove a McLaren at 20 with a straight face. It’s the honesty and charisma that has Glock running up streams and selling out shows. While Glock’s sequel tape doesn’t quite capture the spontaneous energy of his breakout predecessors, there’s plenty of flex raps, pimp energy and Memphis rap signatures to get Huey’s and Gus’s jumping.