B-FreeDaMisfit – "I Am Leroy" Mixtape Review

Published On July 3, 2011 | By Bonus Chopper | Music

Over the past nine months, Brandon Flournoy (a.k.a. B-FreeDaMisfit, Misfit Leroy) has quietly established himself as one of the most distinctive voices in Pittsburgh hip-hop. From his earlier work with Kausion and Ayatollah Jaxx (on the mixtapes Pencilvania and Hello Hip-Hop, respectively) to his latest solo efforts, it’s apparent the young MC and producer has a natural gift for impressionistic, underground lyrics and an ear for experimental, left-of center beats. It’s exciting to see all of his talents on display for his latest mixtape I Am Leroy, a restlessly inventive collection of heady rap cuts that distances itself artistically from the classic, East Coast hip-hop and contemporary dance club bangers that have permeated the Pittsburgh rap scene for the past five years. 

The 1, 2, 3 punch of “Nothing 2 Prove,” “Cold Wind Fever,” and “The Bleachers” to open Leroy stay close to the classic Stones Throw vibe of Peanut Butter Wolf and MF Doom, as Flournoy sticks to the usual underground chest beating lyrically amidst abstracted soul and funk samples paired with ominously down-tempo drum patterns. On “Secret Walls,” however, the proceedings take a sharp left turn with a beat that pulsates in the same sinister universe as the Blade Runner end credits theme by Vangelis while Fournroy raps about being trapped in “his own world,” drenched in paranoia: “new days, new thoughts new ways/one whole hour feels like two days.”

“Michelle” would be the usual “perfect girl” track if it wasn’t for the dexterous, ephemeral production, punctuated by a hand-clap beat and splashes of 8-bit melodies. Flournoy gives Michelle her stock moments (“straight-A scholar”, “the dance major”, “down for the cause, like Malcom X”) but eventually divulges a story centering around getting shunned from her church, starting her own bible group and repeatedly telling her father “she’s sorry/and she’s tugging on her rosaries.”

Finally, the racially charged “Kewn” has the dusty, vaudeville atmosphere of a satirical minstrel show,  chiming with Scott Joplin-esque pianos, and Flournoy’s own opinions on what a “Kewn” is, delivered with a series of biting one-liners, (“How many tattoos do I need to be a tough guy?” “The only time I see thugs cry is on Maury,” “Bald-headed broads were cute before Amber Rose,””Kews are the type that’d rather shoot you than fight/Kews think that Gucci Mane and Waka raps nice”).

While Flournoy’s lyricism still needs polishing, this is a burner of a mixtape, ripe with ideas and nearly bursting at the seams with dynamic production tricks. If nothing else, I Am Leroy cements Flournoy as a truly adventurous producer, playing in the same sandbox as other Steel City studio gurus Shade Cobain and DJ Thermos. B-FreeDaMisfit priorities lie with pushing his particular brand of Pittsburgh hip-hop into foreign territories rather than attempting to perfect old-school standards or cash in on the latest dance-hall rap tends.

B-FreeDaMisfit – I Am Leroy download

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