Starlito is known for depicting gritty street narratives with Seurat-like precision, for manipulating polysyllabic words into monosyllabic spaces like a Scrabble genius; and in those respects, he doesn’t stray from the formula in Fried Turkey. But Mr. Shute’s official sophomore LP presents a counter to the overall chilly, existential production of its predecessor (Cold Turkey). Fried Turkey is warm in comparison—the razor sharp realness Starlito is acclaimed for balanced by crooning saxophones, somber synths, and buxom bass lines. In fact, the project could easily be a gangster rapper’s R&B / jazz record. Sleepy, sultry sax-work dominates the jazz-infused “Keep the Change” and resurfaces in the latter portion of “The D.U.I Song(s),” imbuing the album with a soulfulness critics insisted was lacking in Cold Turkey. The rueful, R&B-laced tracks “Like You Love Me,” “Can’t Get Over You,” and “Running” only add to the ambiance; and “OG Skywalker,” a slow-paced stoner’s tune, is a period piece with all the nostalgia of a 90’s No Limit cut. For traditionalists, the more trap-oriented productions like “I’m Killin’,” “Don’t Forget the Bag,” and “Still” serve as reminders that Lito’s willingness to share lovelorn interpersonal gripes doesn’t make him any less “gangsta conscious.” Starlito proved himself a reputable rapper thirty mixtapes ago. Fried Turkey establishes the debonair Ca$hville emcee as a connoisseur of sound—an artist well-worthy to be crowned Southern underground’s New School Zeitgeist.
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