January 18, 2017 | by Texas Music Magazine
Review: Guilla – Rap, Trap & Drums – Vol. II

Rap, Trap & Drums – Vol. II, wastes no time in diving right back into the kind of petty drama and braggadocio he seemed to eschew on his last proper release.

Children of the Sun, the album released last spring by Houston rapper/producer Guilla, was a highly ambitious work inspired by sci-fi films and other influences outside of hip-hop. That record very much aspired to rise above the struggle and resentment of the Houston rap scene to deliver something more closely resembling fine art. Notable guests on Children of the Sun included weirdo folk duo Say Girl Say, megawatt Review- GuillaSuffers frontwoman Kam Franklin and even Houston Grand Opera singer Alicia Gianni, who lent a spine-tingling aria to the thoughtful and lyrical “Death of Tomoe.” Maybe Guilla got a little uncomfortable with the classed-up company he was keeping, or maybe he just got pissed off at somebody. Because his latest mixtape EP, Rap, Trap & Drums – Vol. II, wastes no time in diving right back into the kind of petty drama and braggadocio he seemed to eschew on his last proper release. It certainly ain’t opera when he makes loud and profane threats toward music industry players on the tape’s spare banger of an opener, “Glow On.” In fact, it sounds as if Guilla is absolutely savoring the shit-talk on tracks like “Step Back,” in which he hollers “My momma ain’t raise a bitch!” over a pots-and-pans beat aimed directly at the trap house, not the art house. He even manages to make soulful Houston charmers Buckamore and Gio Chamber sound sinister on “OMFG.” Rap, Trap & Drums – Vol. II isn’t as compelling as his more ambitious work, but it’s down and dirty and strong with a playful spirit throughout. It’ll do to tide us over until the dual talented hip-hopper returns his attention from the dirt to the stars. — NATHAN SMITH

Originally published in Winter 2017, No. 69
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