Arts Desk

Reviewed: April Foolz by Fat Trel

"I ain't 'bout that rappin' shit, but I'll run you down," says Fat Trel on "Hyenas," a highlight from his recently released April Foolz mixtape. The brash Northeast native's delivery is blunt—it's a candid conveyance that lacks the punchlines and metaphors favored by some of his peers—and his thematic interests are simple and direct: Trel raps about the local drug game and his love of money with a jarring candor that can be tough to listen to.

That honesty, along with an impressively upbeat soundtrack, carries April Foolz—which is welcome news, since the 20-year-old learned days before the mixtape's release that he was no longer part of Wale's Board Administration imprint. Fat Trel's manager insists they are still cool with Wale, but guest verses from him and Black Cobain are noticeably absent from the new recording. The two MCs were featured on Trel's stellar No Secrets mixtape last summer.

No Secrets also felt more reflective than April Foolz, a mostly celebratory project in which Trel raps with venomous intensity about nighttime exploits and material possessions. On "All Krazy" he rhymes about smoking weed and running trains on women. In "Y'all Niggas Ain't Real," he takes verbal shots at D.C. police and the District Attorney. He loves strippers: On the R&B-flavored "Angel," Fat Trel speaks of one named Brittney whom he dated; "Tip A Strippa" details a liquor-filled night with his crew at the strip club.

There's a respectable authenticity to Fat Trel's street vernacular, which might explain his rapid rise up the local ranks. Above all, Trel's new recording is a dark journey through D.C.'s underbelly, spoken with a slurred dialect and full of regional references. On "Angel," he takes Brittney to the Boulevard at the Capital Centre in Largo while "Y'all Niggas Ain't Real" references prostitution in Mount Rainer, a small town just outside the city. But while April Foolz has the DMV at heart, the appeal is broad enough for any town. Fat Trel's music should genuinely connect with the have-nots and the nonchalant, and plenty of people in between.

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  • dylanmichael

    Cobain actually has an uncredited feature on the third track, "I Get Dough", and Wale has a pretty prominent sample on "Tokyo Spinach". And "Live My Life" is pretty "reflective" by traditional standards, even if it is over a b-folder cole beat and leans a bit on the successful, woe-is-me at times. "i reminisce over dead souls no bliss/chemistry whippin with ni**as is either hit or miss".

  • MrRJVA

    You must not have listened to the cd or just skimmed thru it. Black Cobain spit a verse on "I get dough". Sloppy job

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