On Monday west side party rap duo Sicko Mobb (aka brothers Lil Ceno and Lil Trav) dropped their debut mixtape, Super Saiyan Vol. 1. December is generally considered a dead period for new music—or at least by those releasing year-end lists at the end of November—but Super Saiyan is one of a spate of recent end-of-the-year releases that are out of step with that concept (Beyonce’s surprise “visual album,” anyone?). The artwork and name of Sicko Mobb’s mixtape are obvious hat-tips to Dragon Ball Z, and the hypermelodic synths and watery Auto-Tuned vocals are all made in the name of bop, the fluid and fun dance that took off last year. If the effervescent songs on Super Saiyan aren’t a dead giveaway that the mixtape was made to bop to*, DJ V Dub says it loud and clear on the opening track, “Fiesta”: “We don’t juke no more, we boppin’.”
“Fiesta” is one of Sicko Mobb’s most popular tracks—it’s racked up more than 250,000 plays on SoundCloud since March, and it’s closing in on 1.5 million views on YouTube since May. It’s also one of many great tracks Ceno and Trav have released since they started Sicko Mobb a little less than a year ago. Super Saiyan has some other great tracks they’ve dropped in the preceding months—there’s “Maserati,” which features Lil Durk, and “Bitches N Bikinis,” which includes a drop from Twista—which make the mixtape appear to be a bit like a “best of” collection for a group that hasn’t even dropped a proper album. Sicko Mobb also pull a proper mixtape move by putting their own spin on tracks by other rappers, and in this case they jump on Stunt Taylor’s “1 Nite” and do their version of Chief Keef’s elegiac “Citgo.” One key track that is missing is the infectious “Young Heavy,” though I imagine they might be saving that one for their studio debut; Fake Shore Drive’s Andrew Barber reported last week that the group signed with Sony/ATV.
Even without “Young Heavy” Super Saiyan is, among other things, a great way to kick off a new year of Chicago hip-hop, even if it came out in 2013. Stream it below:
*Or, really, to dance to in whatever way you see fit—I was hopping in my chair at the office when I first pressed play on Super Saiyan.
Leor Galil writes about hip-hop every Wednesday.