"Black Vladimir" by Meyhem Lauren & Daringer
Black Vladimir is the latest project from Mayhem Lauren. Lately the Queens native's projects have been collaborations which feature a single producer like DJ Muggs, Buckwild, or Harry Fraud handling the entire project. In 2017, he was ahead of the curve in recognizing the rising talent coming outta Buffalo, NY and featured Benny The Butcher and Conway The Machine on his DJ Muggs produced Gems From The Equinox album. A few more years, and a few features later, it only makes sense, and feels organic to have Griselda's own Daringer construct Black Vladimir. This is a perfect match and the chemistry is apparent immediately as Meyhem Lauren does his thing over a diverse wall of sound provided by Daringer. The beats knock and touch on moods and tones we haven't heard yet in Daringer's other works, he's got tricks up his sleeve. The imagination behind some of these rhythms is amazing.
Meanwhile Meyhem Lauren might be doing some of his career's best rhyming on Black Vladimir. His style is direct, boastful, vivid with imagery, and witty. On "Nigerian Vegetables" he raps:
"Your lighting fixtures ain't fly enough It ain't your fault your fucking ceilings ain't high enough You gotta step up, try and play catch up Black v neck with some jewels, (I) won't even dress up"
Yup I did look up at my ceiling, which is actually high but my chandelier that came with the place is trash, and had like 8 seconds of existential crisis. There's an Only Built for Cuban Linx level of flyness and drive in Meyhem Lauren's style. He raps about the hustle, the dangers of the streets, and enjoys the finer things. What I've always found interesting is that he doesn't come across as a bully, he's more like a classy, seasoned street gentleman, giving you tough love, while trying to motivate you by example. Meyhem Lauren brings a few friends along, and it's a true treat to listen to him trade bars with Action Bronson, Elcamino, Flee Lord, Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine, and Hologram. I'm not sure what the meaning is behind the title Black Vladimir, but you might need one of them big Russian hats when you listen, because this album is one of Meyhem Lauren's coldest!