The Baton Rouge-based rap label Trill Entertainment has endured a trying time in recent years. In December 2007, Pimp C, Trill's co-founder and spiritual godfather, died. In September 2008, one of the label's stars, Webbie, was arrested after a dramatic high-speed police chase. And in June, the label's biggest name, the electrifying and bedeviled Lil Boosie, was indicted on a first-degree murder charge. Through this trauma, Trill's primary sonic architect, Mouse On Tha Track (a.k.a. Jeremy Allen), has hardly flinched, churning out elastic, exuberant productions that recall Mannie Fresh at his buoyant best.
Mouse's hits (Foxx's "Wipe Me Down (Remix)," Webbie's "Bad Chick," Boosie's "Zoom") epitomize durable and complex pop-rap, and his audio signature - "Mouse drop the track, that'll make you bounce and act" - is as sure a sign of giddy fun as there is in modern rap. But, whether by choice or merely circumstance, Mouse is emerging as Trill's best hope for a future. And so now a slow transformation, from studio-bound hermit to star, has been quickened. Mouse is no more, here lives Swagga Fresh Freddie.
On this mixtape, a teaser for his long-promised solo debut, Mouse flashes a roiling voice indebted to Juvenile and a knack for bumptious choruses - the hilarious "Alligator Humming Bird" is a marvel of drawling articulation. Some songs here are standouts from 2010 releases, including an original mix of "Turn Da Beat Up" from the little-heard Trill compilation "All or Nothing" and Boosie's Ninja Turtles-celebrating "Cartoon" from "Incarcerated." But most of Swagga Fresh Freddie is original and remarkably consistent - an adrenaline shot for a label in need of a boost.
Recommended Tracks: "Alligator Humming Bird," "Mad at Me"