You are reading these words because of a tweet from LeBron James. Crazy way to start an article, I know, but if there’s anything I know for certain it’s that God doesn’t make mistakes. Much like King James in his element, I saw the tweet, grabbed it off the rim, ran as fast I could down court (computer), and slammed it to my editor. One thing I can certainly say about Bron… the boy has great taste in la música.
In case your rap knowledge isn’t as studied as LeBron’s, let’s get you acquainted. Patrick Earl Houston is the son of a preacher man and brother to Juicy J, is better known by his stage name Project Pat aka Pattuhhh, and is one the most unique and influential MCs that music has ever seen.
One of Pat’s gifts to the game is a distinctive flow – I am amazed by his ability to find pockets in Juicy and DJ Paul’s exuberant beats. Pat’s rhyme pattern mimics a woozy druggish kinda flow; it’s like listening to chopped and screwed music, only the song isn’t actually chopped. In the concrete world of hip-hop, it borders on surreal.
Project Pat is a master tactician at fitting words in spots on songs where normal humans couldn’t place them. He stops, switches, and extends proclamations while adding extra syllables – it’s reminiscent of parallel parking in audio form. Even once Pat lets go of the prior word, he dutifully holds on while checking his mirrors, watching for passing cars, and cutting his proverbial rap wheel so every bar lands in the space. Make no mistake, Pattuh is always in lyrical control.
Mista Don’t Play: Everythangs Workin is Project Pat’s second album, a joint that’s clearly sentimental to LeBron and me 23 (his jersey number too) years later.
Mista commences with the unconventional “Chicken Head” ft. La Chat. A song produced so far into the future it has already circled this planet twice. There have been many rap exchanges back and forth with masculine and feminine personalities. I guarantee nothing had ever sounded like this song. It’s not just the verse interplay, the video is a perfect visual representation of the song, and La Chat more than holds her own. This track has its own kind of history, having been sampled publicly at least 16 times since its inception, most notably in Cardi B’s 2018 flip, “Bickenhead.”
“Cheese and Dope.” Possibly the greatest song of my lifetime. It’s not so much about the lyrical ability, it’s about Pat effortlessly positioning the listener in the shoes of a man desperate, unwavering, and on a mission to get paid… no matter what. Any time this song comes on, I’m there. I’m standing on furniture. It means THAT much to me.
“Whole Lotta Weed” is one of those songs you won’t appreciate at first listen. I know I didn’t. The rewind button is paramount to understanding how viciously PP eviscerates the flow on here. Immaculate cadences with adlibs that emulate a rain dance. Don’t even get me started on when the beat breaks down in the later portion of the song. It hits like a Bron windmill on a fast break in year 21 – yeah, you’ve seen it for 21 years, but it’s aged beautifully.
Some people wear capes, others tweet for capes. “Don’t Save Her” is for y’all. Earth shattering track. The subject matter isn’t new, but stylistically Pat is playing 4-out 1-in, where his center is the guard. His game is different. Shh, Ma, be quiet… Crunchy Black is jookin. If you don’t believe me, ask Russell Resthaven.
“If You Aint From My Hood.” Let’s get this understood immediately, the North Memphis chant in the music industry. Goosebumps, you hear me? Everybody on this song goes bananas. Pat brings realism while reminiscing about his time in jail. Dj Paul hits us from the perspective of demanding respect. Juicy J vindictively revenge raps. I love it, mane.
Mista has a little bit of everything, for everybody. “We Can Get Gangsta” is a tale about a drug deal gone wrong and the robbery attempt that follows, and it’s captivating. The only caveat is “Gorilla Pimp,” a song that would definitely (rightfully) get you canceled in 2024.
Honestly, I could review the whole album song by song but I want to make it clear with my words – and LeBron James’ post – that this album in its entirety is an absolute classic. It has a little bit of love on it for all listeners, ranging from teen to GOAT:
- Storytelling ✅
- Spine-busting beats✅
- Creative concepts ✅
- Innovative flows ✅
And not for nothing, Pat sold over one million albums with this one.
Last note, please do not call this a Southern classic. I hate that term. If it’s a classic it’s just a classic. Just because YOU haven’t heard it, don’t regionally pigeonhole the music. Greatness is great, no categorization needed.