Bay Area mixtape rapper entertains but rarely surprises on his debut LP.
Shady Nate, like Atlanta's Gucci Mane, is a shining example of a new archetype. Armed with his own independent label, a mob of mixtape associates, and trap-ready bangers for beats, Nate brings to the table what you might expect: lean anthems, songs announcing what drugs his associates are currently selling, guns, and a few more songs about leaning. Nate's debut, Gasman Unleashed, will appeal to anyone with even the tiniest sweet tooth for the trap scene. However, his music is predictably trapped within its genre. On the rare moments Shady Nate does break free, it's to rap over a "Do I Do" sample that reminds of Ja Rule's "Livin' It Up" while sounding like Biggie's "Big Poppa". The latter's Ready to Die influence creeps up again with the sampling of Mtume on "Throwin' My Gang Up", a pedestrian party track that coasts on its beat's pedigree and a concept that was perfected years ago with Three 6 Mafia's "Put Ya Signs".
Shady Nate surely considers his debut motivational music in the vein of Young Jeezy or Killer Mike, but to compare Gasman Unleashed to fellow California rapper The Jacka's similarly themed Tear Gas leaves much to be desired. Gasman Unleashed has no true low points points, but it rarely impresses, either. "Bottom of My Bottle", "Stupid Leanin'", and "Sip Sumthin'" are as enjoyable as they are ultimately disposable. This album is also a truly local product, so surely your mileage with Gasman Unleashed will come down to how close you are to the Bay Area.