There are a few cities that put out nothing but fire when it comes to hip-hop—Atlanta, Richmond, Houston—but it's hard to argue that any city does it better than New Orleans.
Everybody knows about the top of the crop in the Big Easy, whether it's Lil Wayne and Cash Money, Curren$y and the whole Jet Life Crew, 3D Na'Tee ... the list goes on and on. But the lesser-known artists in New Orleans might be making the best music of all, and chances are you haven't even heard some of the names before.
Lil Shipe is one great underground rapper from New Orleans who has been creating a strong body of work and showing improvement for years. From earlier projects like Talking Logic and Building Wit Tha Homies to his 2018 singles and projects, Shipe's progression is always evident and the music is always quality.
His latest mixtape, Cole Drank, is a four-track offering that gives listeners a quick taste of the sound Lil Shipe has spent years cultivating. The cover pays homage to both the culture of drank in Houston and one of Lil Shipe's previous tapes, Green Cup Boy$. While Shipe handled zero production on this tape, producer Ferris Blusa laid the perfect soundscape for the N.O. emcee.
Part of what makes New Orleans such a great city for music is its unique style. "It's a title dedicated to my city," Shipe says of Cole Drank. "Other places call [it] soda, pop, or a soft drink. Down here we call it 'cole drank.'" This unique New Orleans flavor is present throughout Cole Drank, whether it's the car talk, the weed bars, or the distinctly "cool" feel of Shipe's voice and flow.
If you asked me my least favorite thing about this tape, it would be the length. In Lil Shipe's words, though, "Cole Drank is an appetizer for [what] I got popping." So here's my advice for anyone who can't get enough of that New Orleans flavor: Follow Lil Shipe on SoundCloud, roll one up, pour up some cole drank and wait for the next release.