The city of Inglewood California is known to be of a different pedigree and hometown emcee 2Eleven continues his case with his latest project, Mastermind. The solid 8 tracks show Deuce in full form as a seasoned 15 year rap veteran peeking at his prime with former CTE label-mate and long time collaborator Freddie Gibbs providing several solid features. Mastermind immediately feels like an exercise in evolution with cover art featuring a mosaic of 2Eleven conveying that he is always watching the game while planning multi-steps ahead of his next move.
The intro, Hold Me Down, is a slow and refreshingly soulful one and a half minutes with vocals by Deuce, Gibbs and Cassie over drums, guitar and synths followed by the projects first single Another Play, a no-frills, simple but effective banger about gettin’ to the money with Deuce Eleven and the Baby Face Gangster both exclaiming “fuck a rap name” as they are both used to bags, in and outside of Hip Hop. Note the fire hook by one of the next to blow, Quincey White from Athens.
At this point in both of their careers, 2Eleven and Gibbs should really just form a group and release regular projects together. The two keynote emcees consistently display a chemistry on the mic and are respectively only getting better with every verse. We predict it’s only a matter of time. Track 3, Rich & Gangsta, is probably the most energetic record on the project with Deuce seeming to hit his stride appearing to display everything he has learned about making music through his career. This one should go in heavy rotation ASAP.
The last feature on this project to mention is from another Inglewood native by the name of Rucci. The Rap Scene payed a visit to 2Eleven’s Level Up Store in Inglewood and got to meet Rucci in person. He appears pretty much at the half-way point of the album as the third verse on the fourth track Top Down and makes his presence known from jump on the trap inspired track with the perfect end to the first half of the project as a whole. Follow and stream Rucci now so you can tell your plug and not the other way around. You’re welcome.
Mastermind is an almost masterpiece. It’s too good of a project to split hairs figuring out why it isn’t and as a matter of fact, you should be happy it’s not cause that just means Deuce is coming back harder. This album speaks growth on another level, reminiscent of the businessman emcees that have become household names. He recently took a trip to Egypt and returned with a whole new perspective on music and life in general that permeates the project as well as his future career.
Passports and the end track, 24 Summers illustrate the worldly influence that Deuce and his fans should be proud of. Both tracks respectfully showcase him effortlessly in his bag, almost as if it’s just exhibition and we should be glad to know that it is not. Six of the eight tracks feature a rapper with a more well known name and at no point does it feel like other similar written testimonies. 2Eleven and Gibbs have a long history and clearly neither emcees need “assistance” from one another.
Clocking in at a stream friendly twenty minutes and forty six seconds, Mastermind is no longer than your morning or afternoon drive and is definitely worth the stream. After you like, download and playlist a few of the songs, be sure to check out The Level Up by 2 Eleven and the Grammy nominated Alfredo by Freddie Gibbs and look forward to more content featuring 2Eleven here on The Rap Scene.