Maybe the most encouraging aspect of Boston’s recent hip-hop resurgence is the variety: Cousin Stizz doesn’t sound like Michael Christmas, Avenue doesn’t sound like Latrell James, and nobody at the moment sounds quite like Gio Dee. The #ChefBoyz standard- bearer’s new mixtape, “TOTB: The 2nd Coming,” separates him from the pack and establishes his credentials as a polished, legitimate hit maker. He takes his greatest weapon — an energetic, melodic flow — and wields it to varied effect; on “Celebrity,” he settles into the plush beat’s languid haze, while “For the L.O.E.” keeps the slick punch lines and multi-
syllabic rhymes coming in a steady rhythm. His vocalizing on the minimalist trap bounce of “Mind Yo Business” and “The Facade” feels like a natural aesthetic choice rather than a forced concession to mainstream appeal, even though both songs contain plenty of it. And while the mixtape mostly celebrates youthful hedonism, Gio Dee’s distinctive style and confidence promise it’s never boring, despite its limitations. “You thought you got rid of me, now you have to get used to us,” he vows on “Sodium.” I wouldn’t doubt him. (Out now)
Essential “Mind Yo Business”Martín Caballero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @_el_caballero.