First poking its head on the scene in 2010, Jellyroll’s most popular release, Deal or No Deal, has done quite well for itself. On datpiff.com, a popular website focusing on releasing free mixtapes by local artists, Deal or No Deal has sat at the number two position in Nashville downloads for a minute now. Of course, this is for good reason; in terms of production value and catchiness of tunes, Jellyroll obliterates most of the local competition. Deal or No Deal is considered by many his premier independent release, and is directly responsible for his 2010 signing to Lil Wyte’s label, Wyte Music.
Deal or No Deal, like most professional rap tapes these days, starts off with a catchy single. In Jellyroll’s case, this track is “I’m On”, which is exactly the type of egotistical, bass-heavy hip hop that should be listened to while smoking with the crew. Staccato synth hits, rolling snares, and a sub-worthy kick make it obvious why this is one of Jellyroll’s most popular singles.
After several forgettable tracks, Deal or No Deal once again delivers with a Lil Wyte collaboration, “Pop Another Pill”. Despite the catchy bells in the beat, the song is so obviously influenced by Lil Wyte it’s almost painful. It makes sense that two of Tennessee’s most prominent rappers would work together, but Jellyroll obviously is not as comfortable rapping about throwing back another Xanax as Lil Wyte (though who could ever be).
“How It Feels” is Deal or No Deal’s next standout track; featuring strong female vocals and a spacey, delayed beat, Jellyroll shows his emotional side with this track. That doesn’t necessarily make “How It Feels” a bad track, but you would be hard pressed to find someone playing this track with their boys on a Friday night.
The best track, or at least this author’s favorite, on Deal or No Deal is “Cell Phone Poppin'”. Featuring Kwik Money, “Cell Phone Poppin'” is definitely the most clowning track on this album. It’s hard not to crack a smile when you hear Jellyroll talk about his German car (from the country of Hitler) or how his girl is famous like the Wendy’s girl. Kwik Money definitely holds his own against the big man, and the unexpected record stop outro is an artistic touch.
Overall, this album can be a little unoriginal, but only because of its many imitators. There’s a reason that Jellyroll is one of Nashville’s favorite local rappers, and Deal or No Deal aptly displays why.