Arts Desk

Listen: Fat Trel, Gleesh

When Fat Trel buried speculation last fall by officially signing with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group, the questions began rolling in. How would the fatrelsigning influence the D.C. rapper’s music? Would the move finally catapult Trel into stardom, making him D.C.’s next great rap hope? Anticipation for his first post-signing project mounted in the following months, and the questions have finally been answered with the release of Gleesh.

The February leak of "She Fell in Love," hilarious video and all, exhibited strong MMG influence. From Trel’s flow to Izzle the Producer’s production, the song shined with a distinct MMG polish. The same can be said about "In My Bag," where he and new labelmate Wale attempt to out-brag each other. Fellow MMG affiliates Rockie Fresh and Stalley also make cameos, as does Rick Ross on the remix to the thunderous, Young Chop-produced "Shoot."

Regardless of who he’s aligned with, Trel’s demeanor and subject matter will never change. Whether he’s discussing violence (the aforementioned "Shoot" remix), his vices ("Treez & Liquor"), or money ("Rich As F*ck"), Trel brings the same goon dynamic, playful or intimidating mood be damned. While Trel has always excelled at crafting menacing, plodding trunk-rattlers like "Walkin’ Thru My Hood," the mixtape’s true standout is "How U Feel." Harry Fraud creates an ominous, yet alluring background, while Trel rattles off unapologetic declarative statements like "just to show I do this shit I whip with my eyes closed."

In terms of content, you know exactly what you’re getting from Fat Trel. The upside to Gleesh is that the rapper sounds right at home over the famous Maybach Music drop. Overall, Gleesh is like a new, upgraded model of the same vehicle. The biggest issue is probably—OK, definitely—the cover art.

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