Who knew things could get better for DJ Mustard? The California producer only started making beats a couple years prior to scoring his biggest hit, “Rack City,” with Tyga in 2012. And this year, he provided the bulk of the production for YG’s expansive, beloved My Krazy Summer, solidifying him as rap’s latest producer auteur. Mustard’s skeletal beats stand in sharp contrast to the dark maximalism of Lex Luger, whose hits for Wacka Flocka Flame (“Hard in the Paint”) and Rick Ross (“B.M.F.”), solidified him as the decade’s wonder producer. 10 Summers is DJ Mustard’s victory-lap moment, an album-length celebration of his ascent into the top ranks.
Over the last few years, DJ Mustard’s originally simple sound has morphed into an amalgamation of the last 25 years of West Coast rap. “Ghetto Tales” could’ve come out on a 1989 Too $hort cassette the same way “No Reason” could’ve been blaring during the L.A. riots. But songs like “Low Low” and “Can’t Tell Me” show Mustard finding his own voice as a producer through sheer repetition of one or two synth patterns.
Where last year’s Ketchup mixtape used R&B to balance out the gangster rap, 10 Summers‘ scope is far more limited. With the exception of interludes featuring singers Tinashe and Ty$, the album’s lyrics, from rappers including Lil Boosie, YG, Jeezy, Rick Ross and more, focus solely on the women they’d like to pursue, and the poor souls who cannot afford their wardrobe. The album has some excellent moments, and the crispness of Mustard’s production is a reliable joy. But over time, the narrow subject matter, and the misogyny, grow wearying: On an album dedicated to putting down women, was it necessary to include the song about a paranoid girl trying to unlock the rapper’s iPhone right next to a song called “Face Down?”