It wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that TM88 played a big role in shaping the way current hip-hop sounds. With 808 Mafia and alongside Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame, he laid down a foundation years ago for the Atlanta trap sound that is still permeating the mainstream.
Now he’s produced for everyone from Kanye West to Wiz Khalifa, but TM88 hasn’t let up. In a new interview with Fader, he explained that he’s working with Jeezy, Juicy J, Jeremih, and a slew of other rappers and producers. “Every month, we making a new sound,” he said. “People can’t even keep up.”
On his new Sacii Lyfe mixtape, TM88 hasn’t abandoned the sound you know him for—ground-shaking bass, trap drums, and ominous tones are still part of the recipe. But TM88 keeps adding new things in the mix. His synths on “Stylin’” sound downright psychedelic, and more melodically driven tracks like “Movin’ Slow” and “Shoes On Her” bring out the best in the enlisted rappers.
I don’t know who half the rappers on this mixtape are, but they all sound perfectly at home over these TM88 beats. Where technical skills become less of a focal point (“Pill Machine” and PeeWee Longway’s verse on “Came Up” are exceptions), charisma is everything, and there’s plenty of that on Sacii Lyfe.
The trap sound can get tiring. There’s so much of it, and being prolific has become a fundamental part of the culture surrounding it. With so many consistently solid, on-trend producers in Atlanta hip-hop right now, it can be difficult to filter it all and decide what’s worth listening to. It takes a lot to stand out, but TM88 never stops working, and his steady evolution continues on Sacii Lyfe. It’s hard to keep up, but it’s definitely worth trying.