When Vado broke onto the scene over a year ago as Cam’ron’s protégé, it was hard to imagine that he was destine for anything besides a full-time weed carrying position. Fast-forward a summer and certain Hip Hop heads are looking to the U.N. member as New York’s savior. While Vado isn’t the most impeccable lyricist to ever grace the mic, he brings a fresh air to the game as well as a throwback mentality which makes his material so captivating. Initially planning his first mixtape release, Vado accumulated so many original tracks that he was able to turn his Slime Flu project into a full-length release. With his brethren Cam reuniting with Dipset and his name cast into discussion, it’s inevitable that more and more people will begin listening to the Harlem emcee. The only question is, ‘will his album leave an infectious mark on the game?’
Slime Flu gets off to fast start with “Council Music.” Going over a tremendous brass section sample, Vado articulates why he’s “the nicest you can find.” With clever tongue-in-cheek rhymes, Vado gloats, “I pull a Rolls up new/half these cats I can’t roll up to.” Vado lackadaisically carries the momentum of Slime Flu’s opener with the follow-up, “Polo.” Continuing his streak of bragging about his wardrobe, from Dolce Gabbana to Gucci, as well as his various whips, Vado still manages to separate himself from the herd with thought-out lyrics and an ability to stay true to the streets. Vado opens up the dark synth-driven “The Greatest” with a line previously used in several ‘freestyle’ appearances, spitting, “I’m like Ray Charles sitting courtside – I can’t see the game/these rappers get deals, they need to change/too much carrying like Aaliyah’s plane.“ Even though many have already heard these bars, they align properly and sound fresh over this production.
Feva Beatz provides a smooth instrumental for Vado to rap about flipping rock on “Celebration.” For some reason Suge Knight’s name is cleared out in the line “what if Suge would have left ‘Pac drive,” but this does not tarnish the dopeness of the song which features a few intriguingly simplistic metaphors (“n*ggas will blow out your candle and have your cake gone“). “Wake Up” perfectly trails the aforementioned track and makes for perfect headphone music. ”Crimesquare” is another banger from Vado’s debut which features Harlem legend ‘Gruff, most notable for his affiliation with Big L. Both men go bar for bar over a heat rock of an instrumental which features scratches from “American Dream.” Vado drops a gem on this one, ending his final verse with the punchline, “dialing the operator’s the only you touch o’s.” The following track, “Snapped” illustrates Vado’s unknown story-telling ability as he narrates scheming with a married woman ala Nas’ “Blaze a 50.” Jae Millz shows up for the equally sick “Filthy Game,” which is a grimy anthem. Oddly enough, Cam’ron doesn’t make an appearance until the last two songs, “Shooter” and “Speaking In Tungs,” the latter which appears on Boss Of All Bosses 2.5 and doesn’t quite fit the vibe of Slime Flu.
The Jahlil Beats produced “Beat Knockin” sounds custom crafted for Vado, but lacks a certain eminence of other tracks. However, with its female assisted hook and late-night lounge vibe, this is the most likely contender for radio play on Slime Flu. Although he never left the apparel motif behind, as he mentions his gear on nearly every song, he returns to it by bragging about his Rugby gear on the appropriately titled “Rugby Down.” With that said, the hook about clothing has very little to do with what’s actually discussed in the verses and it’s not exactly the Harlem native’s greatest work to date. Likewise, the track referencing Vado’s clique, “The U.N.” is enjoyable, but somewhat mediocre as an overall song.
Although Vado doesn’t always construct the catchiest hooks in the game, his songs are rarely lackluster and his mic presence is enough to carry even the dullest beat to prominence. Slime Flu is a praiseworthy first showing from Cam’ron’s protégé, proving he’s worthy of carrying the torch. On “Wake Up” Vado proclaims, “the streets talk and I always will listen.” If Slime Flu is any indication of what’s to come in Vado’s career, rap fans can rest assured that the previous statement is the unadulterated truth.