Introducing: a rising star in local rap.
by CHRIS HERRINGTON
God, The Government, The Game: Teflon Don (Soul Star Entertainment)
On God, The Government, The Game, local rap up-and-comer Teflon Don is helped out here and there by more established local stars such as Tom Skeemask and Nasty Nardo. And though Nardo’s swaggering flow on “Let’s Get It Get It,” in particular, is a welcome addition, Teflon Don (aka Don Askew Jr.) doesn’t really need the help on this impressive, promising debut.
Though his music is familiar — built on skittery high-hat beats, springy synths, and a rumbling low end — Teflon Don makes it clear from the outset that he’s aiming to be a somewhat different kind of Memphis rapper.
“You can count on this/I spit experience,” he raps on the opening “It’s Go’n Be Alright.” “Late at night sometimes when I cry I really reminisce/Especially about the past/It’s getting real ugly/I wish I was a kid in bed where my mother tucked me … Right now I see your struggle/I cannot let it go when I think about my baby brother/Oh yeah, we love each other/He better not ever hustle.”
Horny club anthems such as “The Way She Move” and “Shorty So Fine” establish that Teflon Don is no schoolmarm, but this North Memphis native sees a rising crime rate as a problem, not an opportunity, and college as a way out, with the military as a last-chance escape plan. This is what’s called clear-headed realism. “Call yourself a man cause you started selling dope?” he sniffs on the title track, “Pussy-ass nigga, I’d rather sell my hood hope.”
On God, The Government, The Game, Teflon Don is pure Southern, rough-edged musically and vocally but with a head on his shoulders and a willingness to tap into honest emotions: At his best, he’s somewhat reminiscent of young David Banner. If he generally avoids some of his scene’s lyrical potholes, he can’t escape some of the musical ones.
There are overly repetitive choruses here (“Count My Money”). And sometimes the music gets draggy without the saving grace of a compelling groove (“I Represent”). But overall this is a promising introduction to someone who’s talented enough to push his game much further. (“God, the Government, the Game,” “Let’s Talk About,” “Going Through Some Thangs”) — Grade: B