YG and Mozzy Give California Hip-Hop Their 'Kommunity Service'
Published May 26, 2021Following the release of Jay-Z and Kanye West's 2011 effort Watch the Throne, collaborative albums have seemingly become much more commonplace in hip-hop's landscape. A multitude of established artists have taken heed from the duo since, joining forces with their frequent collaborators to create releases that feel more like massive crossover events than traditional album releases. With Kommunity Service, West Coast hip-hop mainstays YG and Mozzy are the latest pair to attempt to capture that feeling.
This album is a move that makes perfect sense for the California duo, given their collaborative track record. Whenever they've connected in the past, YG and Mozzy have always complemented each other very well, showcasing a very organic sense of chemistry and crafting great songs. The challenge with this record is recreating the magic that they've captured on tracks like "Thugz Mansion" and stretching it across an entire album, especially given that they're in two completely different places in their respective careers.
It's hard not to notice the contrast — Mozzy has been on an incredible run, highlighted by the four solid collaborative efforts and three excellent solo releases he's dropped since early 2019. Meanwhile, YG has been struggling to meet the incredibly high bar he set for himself following his 2014 debut My Krazy Life and its follow-up Still Brazy, though his 2020 effort My Life 4Hunnid is the closest he's come since. The disparity between the pair is enough to be wary of the quality of a full-length project, despite their history as collaborators and the two excellent singles that preceded this release.
Thankfully, Kommunity Service puts any wariness to rest almost immediately, as both YG and Mozzy come out of the gate swinging from the opening four-count of the album's intro, "Gangsta." Mozzy floats all over the track's exuberant and hard-hitting instrumental, which re-works the classic 50 Cent track "Wanksta" impeccably, while YG attacks the beat with a fire that's been absent in his music for years. It's an intro that perfectly sets the tone for the project, showcasing two artists that bring the absolute best out of each other.
This synergy permeates throughout nearly the entire runtime of this LP, as YG and Mozzy go verse-for-verse on every track with relative ease, regardless of the track's instrumental. The two sound just as comfortable on aggressive bass-heavy bangers like "Bompton to Oak Park" as they do on the sunnier, smoother tracks like the Ty Dolla $ign-assisted "Vibe with You." Regardless of the topic YG and Mozzy are rapping about, whether it be gang culture, poverty, loss or even romance, the pair deliver verses that aren't just individually great but complement each other nicely.
Part of what makes their contributions so complementary to one another is how well the contrasting aspects of their vocal deliveries. YG's has a bounce to his flow that pairs very well with his smooth vocal tone and delivery, stylistically similar to Snoop Dogg, while Mozzy's voice and delivery are raspy, gruff and more emotive, akin to MCs like 2Pac and Scarface. It's these distinct differences between their respective styles that create such a captivating dynamic between them, and that's the glue that holds this album together, even in its weaker moments.
The only real flaw with Kommunity Service is the sheer number of features that appear through its relatively short runtime. It's not that they're all bad — Young M.A, G Herbo and Ty Dolla $ign deliver fantastic contributions here — but Tyga's completely unnecessary "Toot It Up" verse and A Boogie wit da Hoodie's generic and uninspired "Drop a Location" hook stand out due to just how weak they are. This creates an even bigger issue for the album, as those two songs play back-to-back at the halfway mark of an otherwise fantastic 10-track project, which leaves it feeling slightly front-loaded.
Still, Kommunity Service manages to deliver on almost every front. It's an impressive collaborative effort from two of California's brightest stars, yet another solid release in Mozzy's rapidly expanding catalogue and a much-needed return to form for YG following a few subpar releases. While it might not be groundbreaking, it's still a great collection of boisterous, summer-ready bangers that sound their best in a car, with the windows down and the bass cranked all the way up. (Mozzy / 4Hunnid / EMPIRE)