AC’s Attack of the Blogs project was clever and ambitious: release tracks across the top 20 hip hop blogs in one day and reward the first fan to download them all with a prize (a t-shirt, plus glory). A few weeks after the day itself, he released the collection of tracks, 27 in total, as a mixtape. As a marketing strategy, this was so good that AC points out on “Affirmative Action” that record labels are going to be doing “what AC did.”

Aside from the ingenuity of this viral promotion strategy, this is actually a damn good mixtape. As a mixtape, it lacks some of the continuity and production values of a proper release, of course, but this is about as good of a mixtape as will ever be found.

Typical of a mixtape, the production is largely generic but effective, with the requisite tracks over popular beats, in this case including “Big Brother,” “Success,” “Put On,” “The Heart Gently Weeps” and more. The great thing, though, is that AC reminds his listeners why rappers should rap over other rappers’ beats in the first place, which is to upstage the originals. AC takes on some pretty good songs, but he never really disappoints. His “Big Brother” track refers to the Orwellian Big Brother, and, though laden with paranoid conspiracy theory politics, it’s extremely effective. The standout example of AC delivering on someone else’s beat, though, is undoubtedly the closer “Heart Gently Weeps,” which comes as a tender speech delivered to his best friend’s hospital bed as his friend dies. The circumstances are unclear, but the memories are vivid, and the emotion is palpable. As with “Big Brother,” AC puts a clever new spin on a good song, lending the beat new meaning without taking away from the original.

AC’s cleverness is irrepressible, which makes him extremely likeable. He spits out jokes so effortlessly on the first few tracks that it’s kind of embarrassing. His mind is all over the place; on “Check Your Coat” he namedrops indie screenwriters (“You know (juno) like Diablo Cody”) and references Sex and the City (“What’s the chance of/ us having sex in the city?/I’m Mr. Big you’re like Samantha/Minus the cancer”), while on “Ching Ching” he brags, “I got verses in the Bible can’t top ‘em/and chains so bright that albinos can’t rock ‘em.” After “Crickets Story,” which amusingly details his wife’s lesbian experimentation, the mixtape lets up a little bit on the breakneck flow and lyrical innovation it begins with.

Nonetheless, even the filler tracks are often anchored in amusing concepts, like the discussion of cell phones that gets interrupted by a phone call on “Phone Got Me Hostage,” and the only tracks that top two and a half minutes are the aforementioned “Big Brother” and “Heart Gently Weeps,” so even if a song gets boring, it doesn’t last long. Of course, the length is a little problematic anyway because there are practically no hooks, so the constant lyricism begins to wear the listener down. This is definitely a hip hop head’s album by the force of its consistent lyrical barrage. On the other hand, there are worse criticisms to pile on a rapper than the fact that he raps too well too much. AC is clearly a great lyricist, and he shows enormous potential for when he releases an album with a few less verses on it. For now, though, this is one hell of a mixtape. Consider this blog attacked.

You can download Attack of the Blogs here.

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