New York, NY – The Golden Mixtape Era owes nearly its entire existence to DJ Drama. Thanks to his uber-successful Gangsta Grillz mixtape series, Drama — who started the best-of music series on the streets of Atlanta, long before the Internet was even a thing — helped single-handedly define the “Southern Hip Hop” sound. Certainly, Atlanta’s rebranding as a hotbed for pure Black talent across the creative spectrum owes more than a slight debt to the man born Tyree Simmons.
So it makes sense that YFN Lucci — he of the new guard of so-called Southern Hip Hop — would team up with this legendary hitmaker to release 650Luc, the latest mixtape entry into the Gangsta Grillz series.
“My goal is ‘legendary and longevity,’” the Atlanta native told GroovyTracks exclusively. “By this, I mean that not only do I want to be looked at as one of the greatest rappers of all time, but I want to have a long career in the Hip Hop game. You see, I took my time and I put a lot of work into this shit. All the shit that I’ve gone through — all the shit that I’ve done for this project — I worked extremely hard, and for a long time, to make this all pay off. And I’m not going to take it for granted.”
Lucci, better known as Rayshawn Bennett, has certainly done his fair share of “work” over the years. In 2014, when he was just 23 years old, he dropped his first mixtape, Wish Me Well, on Think It’s A Game Entertainment. Just two years later, the follow-up mixtape Wish Me Well 2 hit No. 183 on the Billboard 200 chart, and its premiere single, “Key To The Streets,” peaked at No. 70 on the Billboard Hot 100 (and also featured Migos before the group became as omnipresent as it is today).
It was his lyrical skill that attracted the future rap superstars back in the day, and it’s his continued commitment to quality Hip Hop that attracts the genre’s legends today. Like all of his previous work — and as the Gangsta Grillz mixtape series has done since time immemorial — YFN Lucci’s 650Luc features a veritable who’s who of rap’s chart-toppers, including Fabolous, Young Dolph, Jeezy, and of course, Trey Songz, with whom he’s created a veritable hit with “All Night Long.”
But while any other artist would be overwhelmed by the presence of such a strong cadre of talent, YFN Lucci takes it all in stride, though he noticeably perks up when T.I.’s name is mentioned as both a collaborator and a fan of his music. “You know, these people are people that I’ve listened to for the longest time,” he said. “But it was so interesting to me that I was just able to hit them up and ask them to work with me. T.I., especially, was very receptive — but they all were — and I’m glad to have them on board.”
Following an official visual for “All Night Long” with Trey Songz — which Lucci says is set to drop at the end of August — he’ll be going on a mini-tour in support of his mixtape. Then, he’ll be heading back home to Atlanta to put the finishing touches on his album.
But Lucci also says that we, the listeners, can expect to hear a more evolved sound from him in the coming weeks. “There are a lot of new artists today that are inspired by my sound and my swag,” he said. “I look around, and I see a lot of people today doing what I did so many years ago. And that’s how you know that you’ve evolved as an artist. But you know, the whole scene, the whole sound, has evolved, even over the course of these past five years. And that gives me a lot of hope, as an artist — that I’ll have the ability to grow and evolve with the times.”
Stream 650Luc by YFN Lucci below.