Fashawn – Champagne & Styrofoam Cups [Mixtape Review]

After taking a year off to create his own personal Wiz-approved strain of weed called “Grizzly City Kush” and organizing the first annual Grizzly Fest 2012 on November 17th, which was headlined by Murs, Steady Arm Strong, himself, and other local musicians, it seems Fash is back on his grind once again. Fashawn, the same Fresno native MC who first came to fame with the critically acclaimed Exile-produced Boy Meets World, has returned with a deadly mixtape. This comes immediately after the recent release of his collaboration album, This Generation, with Murs last month. Champagne & Styrofoam Cups is a solid tape with strong production that chronicles his contradicting lifestyles with champagne representing his successes and Styrofoam cups representing the struggles he lived before his rise to stardom. The tape is the first solo project he’s come out with since Higher Learning 2 over a year ago but this time, he brings a more popular, less underground feel. On that front, he enlists help from none other than Wiz Khalifa on ‘Medicine Man (Drug Free)’:

Onion in my pocket but I ain’t pitchin’, I’m rollin’

With the wiz and we smokin’, loaded

Spliff full of potent

I’m burnin’ cookies when I’m dippin through Frisco and Oakland

Keeps em Grizzly City, can’t forget where home is

This song is perfect for rolling one up, whipping around the neighborhood, or just kicking back.

Overall, C & SC is a solid mixtape effort from Fash. It features original production and a few lyrical moments that caught my attention, but little truly stood out for me, and here are a couple of reasons why. For one, this tape was not advertised as heavily as it should have been, probably because he focused most of his energy into promoting This Generation. But as most artists already know, a few singles dropped every now and then can go a long way.

Secondly, there is no cohesion in the tape; each track is completely independent of the others with no real unifying theme. He can go from rhyming about how it’s “Easy to get blinded by the lights, don’t believe the hype” on ‘Stardumb’ to “I live for diamonds and girls, trunk full of hundreds, speakers on blast, tryna tuck low to protect my stash, you don’t want no problems, problems, I’m trying to get more diamonds and girls” on the very next song. Contradictory statements like these make it difficult to follow the mixtape and sympathize with his lyrics. Although Fashawn certainly got his foot in the door with this tape, it will be difficult to remember six months from now.

On the other hand, the production is consistently good throughout. From the Bollywood-themed opener ‘Hola Santiago’ to the heavily layered ‘Diamonds and Girls,’ Fash is given the opportunity to prove his wide versatility on the mic.

Other notable cuts include ‘Dark Clouds’ and ‘Just A Man’. Check out the rest of the tape here. Meanwhile, stay tuned for Fash’s second Exile-produced solo album, Ecology, whose release date is still yet TBA.