Waka Flocka Flame - Salute Me Or Shoot Me 4

There aren’t too many sure things in this world, but here’s one of them: If Waka Flocka Flame records a song called “Randy Savage,” in which he and various other rappers scream professional wrestlers’ names and yell the word “flex” a lot, I am going to love it. This song has a target audience of approximately one, and I am that one. I’m sorry. There’s just no helping it. You can’t expect me to maintain any semblance of critical distance when Wooh Da Kid is in there rhyming “Uuuundertaker!” with “fuuuuck a hater!” It’s not happening. This thing simultaneously mashes on so many of my pleasure centers that I become a catatonic zombie, wandering around and muttering to myself, “Call me Lex Luger! I got torture racks!”

But as much as it pains me, let’s put aside “Randy Savage” for now. For a minute there, some of us were worried about Waka Flocka Flame. Flocka had come into the game ranting about exposed brain-tissue over beats that sounded like guitar-free Ministry and bringing levels of anger and chaos that had gone missing from rap music as it continued on toward upward mobility and became dependent on corporate sponsorship. His arrival was like the return of all the repressed pain that birthed so much of the music in the first place. Amazingly, he managed to keep that same exploding-grenade vitality on his official debut, Flockaveli, still one of the most undiluted pieces of crunked-up angst to get a major-label release in years. But then Flocka got really famous, and seemed to enjoy the experience. He started showing up in PETA ads, taking bookings at fashion shows. He started seeming like a happy and well-adjusted individual, which is great for him but not necessarily great for his music. And then he released this summer’s sophomore LP Triple F Life, a decent-enough album that suffered greatly from attempts at EDM-pop and Flo Rida appearances. But now here’s Salute Me Or Shoot Me 4, Flocka’s umpteen billionth mixtape but his first since Triple F Life. And it’s a welcome indication that the Flocka we knew is still alive, even if his soul doesn’t burst with hate the way it once did.

For the most part, the Flocka of Salute Me Or Shoot Me 4 is more likely to rap about being drunk and rich than he is to rap about shooting you, though there’s still plenty of that. And he’s rapping over tracks from unknowns like Sizzle and TM88, not past frequent collaborators like Southside and Lex Luger (the producer this time, not the wrestler). He devotes one entire song to ecstasy, and a few of the beats at least nod toward the EDM sounds that he experimented with more brazenly on Triple F Life. There’s a line about all the frat boys fist-pumping the second he walks into the club, which is a hilarious and probably also accurate image. But this is still fundamental Flocka. Even with increased BPMs, the end result is still a bludgeoning, overwhelming hour of scream-rap, Flocka carpet-bombing every single track with uncontainable energy. And even if the tape doesn’t have the grim power of Flockaveli, it’s still an artifact from someone who has seriously started to enjoy the spoils of his success, and that’s infectious. For maybe the first time ever, the Flocka we hear here is one who’d probably be great to hang out with for a night.

Flocka turns serious and thoughtful exactly once on the tape, on the closing track “Realest Shit I Wrote,” which is all emo sentiment and goopy late-period Eminem melody. And even there, when he’s not lamenting the plight of his old neighborhood or the childhood friends now hooked on coke, he’s still praying not to go broke or yelling, “Damn right I’m country, nigga!” Even when he’s turning introspective, he’s still fun.

But even if this tape was like 19 tracks of Tyga collabs and “Randy Savage,” it’s still probably win Mixtape Of The Week. Seriously. “Smell what the Rock is cooking? Now that’s straight-up base!”

Download Salute Me Or Shoot Me 4 for free here.

Comments (13)
  1. This little article makes me so happy. Few people share the white-boy love I own for Waka Flocka. He’s just such a boss, so likable, so charismatic – he’s a gangster yet I’d honestly enjoy cuddling with him.

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    • big sean is just a horrible rapper. At least Waka Flocka has the goofy charisma to pull off all of his raps.

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        • Ewww, no. His production is littered with all sorts of the same melodramatic chords/melodies i’ve heard on his debut, like he legitimately has an interesting life story to tell. It pales in comparison to Waka Flocka’s straight up trap-brazen energy.

          • people can like whatever they want, like who cares, but mannnnn life must be a dull trudge to the grave if you can listen to Waka Flocka Flame and decide the best use of yr time is to complain about it, have fun napping with that grizzly bear record i guess?

            also it should go without saying that arguing about whether or not something fits into genre distinctions also seems like a pretty boring waste of time, a better question might be ‘when will ‘TRIPLE F INTRO/OUTRO’ become its own genre of music?’ because ideally the answer would be ‘tomorrow’

    • I dunno, Sugar Hill Gang is pretty bad rapper too….

      Whatevs, I go stupid to both Waka and Sugar Hill.

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  4. Guys – you’re still under the impression that Waka is that dude from Gucci’s crew who can’t rap, but shouts his awesome name all the time. Turns out, he got better at his craft (a while ago now). Go back and listen to Flockavelli. It’s actually pretty damn good and pretty damn important. That sound has had a massive impact on the rest of rap.
    Just try and yell “Flocka” without enjoying yourself.

  5. This tape is pretty sick. I want to make a few points about it:

    -”Realest Shit I Ever Wrote” has to be over the alternate beat to FFF Outro. Also mirrors that track’s melodrama.. which is kinda funny to do on the last track of a mixtape I feel.
    -Does he say “All my hits I made till today I never wrote” on that track? Is he admitting to having a ghostwriter there?
    -How funny would it be if Waka had a ghostwriter?
    -I wonder if someone on Waka’s SQUAD noticed Tom’s affinity for wrestling and his Svengali-like influence over a key part of Waka’s fan base and pitched him the idea for “Randy Savage.”

  6. You said it was produced by unknown producers like Sizzle and not by his usual producers such as Southside, but Sizzle is just a nickname for Southside actually…

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