Producer albums can be hit and miss, but Atlanta's Mike WiLL Made-It, isn't your typical producer. Over the last five years, he's become the genre's leading sonic tastemaker with his melody/trap fusion becoming the modern standard for success. And though his 2014 mixtape, Ransom, was met with moderately high acclaim, the second instalment, Ransom 2, takes posse cuts and lethal production to the next level.
One listen to Ransom 2 and it's easy to tell why these featured rappers come so correct — Mike literally tailors beats explicitly for each and every one of them. "W Y O" is the perfect piano-driven, rolling snare-laced trap beat that Young Thug absolutely excels on, while "Hasselhoff" contains enough off-beat quirks for Lil Yachty to sound perfectly in his element — and the list of flawless production goes on and on. Even Eardrummers newcomer Andrea sounds like a veteran with Mike's hypnotic instrumentation giving wind to her proverbial sails.
If you're looking for low-key boom-bap records, Ransom 2 is not for you. Mike, especially on this project, has curated a modern soundscape that defines the loud, snapping sonics we've become accustomed to. The most abstract Mike gets on the album is the hollowed-out "Perfect Pint," which features Rae Sremmurd, Gucci Mane and Kendrick Lamar. The latter MC even goes as far as bigging up the super producer as he closes his verse with "Ah man, Mike WiLL Made-It / Two back-to-back Spurs, me and Mike WiLL made it."
There are a grand total of 22 features guests on 17 songs, which unfortunately borders on boring towards the end. Although the beats are great and the rapping is equally as strong, it's hard to sit through an hour of club records when you aren't at the club. Ransom 2 definitely serves its purpose, though, and will be sure to provide a vivid soundtrack to turn-ups everywhere for the foreseeable future. (Interscope)