As any of our faithful readers can tell you, Detroit hip-hop holds a special place in our hearts here at Potholes. From Danny Brown to Dilla to my treasured Eminem collection (including the underground shit he did with Skam), Detroit has the talent to go up against any of the other traditional powerhouses of NYC, LA, and CHI. Next off the Detroit hip-hop assembly line is Stretch Money, whose rap moniker also happens to describe my monthly financial strategy (which includes never paying a cover, buying “Free Incarcerated Rapper” shirts only after the rapper’s been released, and, sadly, PBR. I don’t drink it because I’m hip. I drink it because I’m poor).
25 Miles Per Hour is a Detroit tag-team affair, with all production duties handled by fellow Detroit native Nick Speed, who’s stayed busy producing for everyone from Danny Brown to G-Unit (remember them?). Stretch Money prides himself on representing the struggle of everyday people in Detroit, a city that’s seen more struggle than most. Desperate economic situations somehow manage to produce better hip-hop – when was the last time a Malibu artist made you visit DatPiff?
Either by accident or design, “Smile” has a few 2pac Easter Eggs. The first verse is his own version of “Dear Mama”, and even contains a reference to his mom cooking on a hot plate, just like in 2pac’s song. The second verse, in honor of a fallen friend, is a tad reminiscent of “Pour Out a Little Liquor,” and the song’s overall message is essentially “Keep Ya Head Up”. The basic AABB rhyme scheme aside, “Smile”, which also shares a song title with the epic Scarface/2pac collaboration, is the best of the album on its own merits, but the subtle 2pac features are rap nerd bonuses.
On “What’s Hapnin”, Stretch decries the kind of music that’s being pumped out by the rap industry, specifically the singing and “so much gay shit,” whatever that means. Complaining about the Drake-singing movement is getting really old – it’s like rappers are drunk-dialing record label execs and telling them that they could do better. They’re just saying…
Nick Speed’s versatile production, from the G-funk “You Just a Bitch” to the country twang of “They Ain’t Listenin’” is more engaging than Stretch himself. The album is short and the pacing brisk, but Stretch doesn’t grab you and make you invest. If there’s nothing special about a rapper’s voice, flow, or wordplay, then listening to their album can be as exasperating as driving 25 miles per hour.