Los Angeles rapper Kid Ink rounded off a successful 2015 with the release of Summer In The Winter. The eleven track mixtape follows Full Speed which dropped back in January. I wasn't much of a fan of that project; the production was decent enough I guess, and although Kid Ink sounds professional and tight on a beat, his uninspired subject matter and safety net of commercial, radio-friendly cuts wore very thin very quickly. With DJ Mustard at the helm of this new project, which apparently was compiled 'organically without aiming for a bunch of radio hits', can Ink finally manage to really get out of first gear?
Getting underway with Bunny Ranch, I'm unsure of how to anticipate the rest of the album. The beat is good enough; a catchy, bouncy bass-driven beat backs skippy flows from Kid Ink. They sound pretty much the same as 90% of the industry out right now though, and there's no clear progression from his Full Speed release on show on the opener. The content is as basic as ever, and Ink still doesn't sound distinctive or truly passionate. Promise is a summery, upbeat track (what a surprise 'eh?), and Fetty Wapp's hook is quirky and catchy, but Kid Ink's writing is so forgettable and cliché that he fails to make his verses even remotely interesting. The beat is dope though; the underlying bass in the hook is really effective, and DJ Mustard provides some real character through his production. Ink is the one letting it down.
It's on Rewind where the album starts to irritate more than provide any kind of enjoyment or entertainment. Remember when Akon was collaborating with Styles P and Obie Trice? Well now he's singing 'stay living yolo' and 'you got that oh yeah, know me love you long time' with Kid Ink providing inspired punchlines such as 'let me get you high baby, all the way to Jupiter'. Maybe it's because I'm not 15, but track after track of pretty much the same beat, same flow, same content and same hook is not enough to excite me, or to get me to pay any real attention. And when you do you've wasted your time. The 'weed tune' Blowin' Swishers Pt. 2 is once again lyrically lackluster, and when on One Day he opens with 'I went from rags to riches, to fucking the baddest bitches', the sheer lack of any sincerity, depth or creativity across the entire album is the only thing I can take from it.
We're not through yet though. On Bank, Ink proclaims 'I do what I want, I'm the fu**ing bank'. This unimaginative boasting sounded tired on the first track, by number seven it becomes a real struggle. To be fair the title track (which features Omarion) isn't centred around Kid Ink's offensively inflated ego as much as some of the other material, and the beat is another decent summery production, but Ink's writing is just so consistently basic that it's hard to find any positive quotation from his lyrics. The Featherstones provide a banging beat for Good Idea, and it's often the production that is the only saving grace on tracks across Summer In The Winter. They are at least catchy, and the drums thump and the bass groovy, but when they're so overly similar that any kind of cohesive feel is reduced to sounding more like repetition.
So yeah, this isn't good. Summer In The Winter is a collection of easy, crossover tracks with signature DJ Mustard production, and Kid Ink tackles topics you've heard a thousand times before. What's depressing is that this was the case on his last project, and for the duration of his career. It begs the question how many times can you make the same song? This won't be getting played again, and I think I've given up on Kid Ink for good now.