‘Hella Ratchet’ is a 20-track long, club romp mixtape presented by entertainment duo L.A. Leakers and curated by Bay Area rapper Mistah F.A.B. The title is unimaginative, but it can’t be faulted for being honest.

Although ‘Hella Ratchet’ is billed as a Mistah F.A.B. mixtape, describing him as a curator feels more accurate because of the sheer number of features on this project both well-known and relatively unknown. Fellow Bay Area rappers IAMSU!, Too $hort, E-40 and Ty Dolla $ign are some of the more well-known guests.

The multitude of performers are helped along by the bouncy production of Ekzakt, Tha Bizness (who have a production credit on Kendrick Lamar’s excellent ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’), Evo Beats and Sage the Gemini. It’s pretty much a mixed bag as the beats pull from the same pockets of snaps, claps and 808s. They’re all obviously club-focused, but not ear-grabbing enough to inspire energy.

There are some exceptions though. Tha Bizness’ woozy synths combine with the ascending and descending backing riffs on ‘Practice Looking Fly’ to create borderline anthemic track. VT On the Track’s instrumental for 'Tho It Byke’ takes a high-tempo percussion reminiscent of Juvenile’s famous ‘Back That Azz Up’ and meshes it with this operatic background, and it somehow works.

The performances on top of these shaky beats don’t, however. “Ratchet” music is presumably supposed to inspire a sense of thrill, but it’s hard to experience it when the lyrics feel so unoriginal. The good lines are few and far between as the performers continually come up with poor ways to articulate sexual rambunctiousness.

For example, on ‘Bitch Whas Hannin': “I’m like feed me Seymore (a ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ reference) / The bitch give me money but I need to see more.” On ‘Tho It Byke,’ it’s “I f--- her so good I put that p---- in a crisis.” There’s a lot of these type of clunkers on ‘Hella Ratchet.’ It’s not just random bits of misogyny though. Female rapper Ginger has sexual control on the album-closing ‘No P----.’ The track doesn’t fare that much better than the preceding ones.

There are plenty of other ways to do club-focused, Bay Area rap as IAMSU! And E-40 have shown in the past. Very few of them are displayed here.


Listen to Mistah F.A.B.'s 'Hella Ratchet' Mixtape