Smokepurpp: Lost Planet, Lost Planet 2.0, and what to expect from Deadstar 2
Smokepurpp, the 21-year-old Florida rapper, has released a brief and somewhat experimental EP that serves as a precursor to Deadstar 2, the sequel to his successful 2017 mixtape. The 8-track project is titled Lost Planet; we can only hope that his next project will be more comprehensive.
Shortly after the release of Lost Planet, Purpp delivered the extended version of the album, Lost Planet 2.0. This deluxe version adds three tracks—Walk On Water, Gucci Goggles, and Type To. Less than six minutes of content are added to the brief album, and it’s hard to determine the motivation behind this expansion. Was Purpp concerned with how short the album initially was? Are these new tracks pulled from Deadstar 2? Did Purpp think the album wasn’t good enough? Perhaps we can figure this out.
Although he has only released two significant projects, Smokepurpp has been quite successful in his young career. His debut commercial mixtape, Deadstarr, released in 2017, got his career off to a good start. The fairly lengthy project boasted features from Lil Pump, Travis Scott, and Juicy J, and a fair amount of hits were manufactured. For a debut project, this mixtape was certainly successful, but Purpp let his weaknesses show; the entire second half of the mixtape was ridden with borderline painful melody, aggravated by amateurish autotune. And once you reached the halfway point of the album, he made it difficult to continue on.
His 2018 mixtape, Bless Yo Trap, a collaboration album with the venerated Murda Beatz, was quite the hit—a significant improvement from Deadstar. With impressive features—Lil Yachty, Offset, Chief Keef, A$AP Ferg, and more—and exciting consistency, Purpp secured his place in the industry. Over the unfaltering instrumentals of Murda Beatz, Purpp proved that he is equipped with exciting flow, and his melodic efforts were fairly consistent, an unexpected and promising accomplishment.
Purpp has made it clear that he has the ability to produce hits—and these hits are nothing to be taken lightly. But his versatility is unfortunately limited, as most of his ‘softer’ tracks proved to be underwhelming. The new album, unsurprisingly, follows a similar trend; and with such few tracks, it is difficult for Purpp to prove to listeners that his improvement is noteworthy. He struggles with the same issues of cohesiveness, but there is still comfortable room for praise. Before my summary becomes presumptuous, we must delve into the details of this mini mixtape.
The first track is thrilling, to say the least. Baguettes, featuring the apposite presence of Gunna, brings the energy we expect from such a dynamic combination. Although Purpp’s hook is ostensibly a bit awkward, once Gunna takes the wheel, everything begins to make sense. The atypical intonation of Purpp is matched by Gunna in his verse, and he truly delivers on this beat, one he is quite familiar with. Gunna’s silky vocals coincide well with the beat, and he quickly becomes a presence that is quite difficult to follow up. That being said, Purpp does a decent job, switching things up and showing some versatility, however the beat isn’t particularly flattering for him.
Repeat follows, and it quickly becomes apparent that this beat is more suitable for Smokepurpp; this is more like it. The heavy hitting beat erupts alongside some solid opening bars, and Purpp establishes momentum on this track that carries throughout the song. Although his flow is constantly evolving, his delivery is on point—perhaps one of the most precise verses from Smokepurpp. The nimble vocals are paired with swift ad-libs, accentuating the already strong cadence. Every time he changes is flow, the energy somehow escalates; this song is textbook Smokepurpp.
Next, 3-8 Hot kicks off. At first glance, this track sounds a bit awkward and almost agitated; but after a few listens, I grew quite fond of it. Purpp utilizes soft vocals—an approach he has used before, but not too often—in a rapid-fire manner. The strong cadence of his vocals and the heavy-hitting 808s don’t allow for many breaks on this track. As he did on Repeat, Purpp is often altering his voice or flow, and sometimes this works against him; some bars are poorly executed or delivered with mild dissonance, a shortcoming that takes away from the energy that was initially established. Overall, this track is unusual but dynamic, and it has become clear that Smokepurpp is making an attempt to break away from his comfort zone.
Chandelier, featuring Lil Pump, is similar to the previous track in the sense that it is ostensibly unappealing. Smokepurpp’s hook is quite weird and lacks complexity; it even perhaps insinuates a lack of effort. But, as referenced, something occurs shortly after preconceived notions are established that proves this song to be successful. The once unattractive hook becomes inescapably catchy, and the whimsical bars are comforting, as they serve as a reminder that this is a Smokepurpp and Lil Pump song. That being said, Purpp’s verse is not particularly impressive relative to those of previous tracks, but Lil Pump’s presence makes the listening experience a positive one. Pump comes in with his signature swagger, providing us with a nonsensical and seamless verse, and a great sense of satisfaction sets in as we move to the back half of the album.
Unfortunately, the residual high from the dynamic duo’s solid execution comes to an abrupt halt, as Remember Me changes the entire mood of the album. Purpp moves to a diametrically opposed genre on this track, as it is one of the most melodic Purpp tracks he’s ever released—or, perhaps a better way to phrase it, an attempt at such an achievement. I’ll admit, the hook is acceptable, a fair effort with some melodic merit. But the verses, on the other hand, are merely dramatic lyrics amateurly vocalized in the form of dissonant autotune. Purpp implores listeners to “remember [his] words or remember [his] name,” but there are only ten unique lines in this song. If Purpp wishes to be remembered, he should stick to what he does best.
And Purpp does just that in the next song, Weapon. The vibe returns to Purpp’s comfort zone, and it’s not long before the bars begin. As he does in most of the tracks on this album, his cadence is constantly changing, and it continues to work well for him. Although this track is solid, its fairly similar to previous tracks. I began to realize that aside from some creative risks, this album is fairly conservative, so it’s hard to say exactly how versatile Purpp really is.
The penultimate track is similar to Remember Me, in the sense that the autotune is amateurish. I must say, though, Throw Away has far more redeeming qualities. The lyrics and delivery are not to be ignored, as Purpp executes this track with a fair amount of effort. The pace is considerably faster than that of Remember Me, so the framework requires more of a vocal presence. Many of his faster-paced lines are quite good, but the amount of autotune on his voice works to his disadvantage, detracting from the lyrics. I support this attempt, but Purpp needs to get better at melodic tracks.
The final song on the first release of the album, Double, features NLE Choppa, and this song goes. Purpp kicks it off with an upbeat and aggressive verse that pairs well with the unearthly beat. The vocals are clean and decisive, and Purpp does a great job on a pretty unforgiving beat. NLE Choppa takes over, and his verse takes awhile to get used to. His delivery seems a bit forced, but after while he picks up the pace and really starts spitting. He changes flows and the end of his verse is actually quite good. After Choppa saves himself, there is a nice transition to the final hook, and the original album comes to an end.
After the eighth track, I felt a sense of dissatisfaction. Despite its disappointing length, the album still felt unfinished. And although there were many tracks that I would consider to be hits, the whole thing just felt rushed, as though it were made in a hurry. I must say, though, this album is more experimental than Deadstar and Bless Yo Trap; Purpp showcases atypical flows and accents, and he’s definitely trying to do something different. But the whole thing is a bit lackluster. The worst part of the album, though, was undoubtedly the painful attempt at achieving melody. Many young artists are driven by a certain propensity to balance their projects in terms of genre, but Purpp comes up short in this area.
The three additional songs on Lost Planet 2.0 are more standard Smokepurpp tracks, which leads me to believe that he added them to dilute the less successful ones. Walk On Water is fast paced and engaging, but his strong cadence sacrifices lyrical clarity, and it is yet another track that feels rushed. Gucci Goggles blends in with the rest of the album, and despite the decent energy of the track, it once again feels forced; this is another example of a track with lots of potential, but it suffers from defective execution. The vocals are direct and one-dimensional, and there isn’t much elegance to it. Type To has more redeeming qualities, as Purpp pushes himself to fill the gaps in the meteoric beat with plenty of lyrics, and the flow of the track as a whole is engaging. This final track is unfortunately very brief, a trend seen throughout the album, which makes the end of the project seem a bit underwhelming.
These new tracks, while they are quite decent, don’t really add much to the album. They seem to be carbon copies of the more successful tracks, and the fact that they were added shortly after the release of the original album is concerning. Hopefully these songs were not pulled from Deadstar 2 to repair the brevity of the project, as that would not be a wise move for Purpp.
All things considered, Lost Planet 2.0 is not much of an improvement from his previous albums. Purpp still has issues with consistency, especially when he makes more melodic tracks, and this assessment leaves me concerned about Deadstar 2. When the sequel does arrive, we can only hope that Smokepurpp will stick to what he knows best; if the new album relies heavily on melody, I don’t think it will be well received. We can only hope that Purpp will bring the heat and spend more time on each track to avoid the forcefulness that seeps through the cracks in this album. The intentions behind the re-release of this album are debatable; but there is one thing that can be agreed upon: Smokepurpp isn’t working to his full potential.