|Recording information: Chalice Recording Studio, Los Angeles, CA; D2 Music Studios, Atlanta, GA; Deep Productions Studio, Tampa, FL; Hot Beats Recording Studios, Atlanta, GA; Patchwerk Studios, Atlanta, GA.
|Starting with the cover photograph, Goon Affiliated looks like a standard issue Plies release, one that falls right in line with his satisfying debut trilogy of albums. That scrappy trio of releases successfully argued that goon rap is all about staying the course and sneaking in the radio numbers, but the gritty rapper's fourth release is slightly off balance, made wobbly by a complete disregard for anything slick. "Go Live" is loud and proud to be a gangster, "Bruh Bruh" is the kind of silliness that's brightened the man's previous efforts, and the great "Look Like" with Young Jeezy and Fabolous suggests Plies should put more collaborative tracks on his releases. All three are the kind of irresponsible bravado fans crave, but leaving the pre-release promo single "Medicine" with Keri Hilson off the final official release deprives the album of some desirable polish. Plies refuses to give an inch throughout the album, and with producers like J.R. Rotem, the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, and Zaytoven all joining in the street spirit, things get downright narrow. Without even the slightest concessions, Goon Affiliated isn't the Plies album to start with, but fans who never wanted their gutter hero on the radio to begin with should file this next to their favorite mixtape. ~ David Jeffries