Album Review: The Drive In by The Dean’s List

Posted: May 30, 2011 by eptarheels23 in Album Review, Music
Tags: , ,

Courtesy of Gravity Beatz

Allow me to start by saying this is by far the best mixtape of the year and possibly the best mixtape of the last few years. The Dean’s List is made up of three guys out of Boston, MA and Edison, NJ. Sonny Shotz is the rapper of the group and DJ Mendoza and Mik Beats make the beats. They bring crazy beats and dope lines to the game in the same lane as groups such as Chiddy Bang. I can’t believe they don’t charge for this because you will feel guilty not paying for it. This new mixtape is a huge step up from their previous work such as “Undeclared” and “Accepted”. Not saying those are bad, because they are extremely good, but that this new mixtape is just on a complete separate level. This will definitely cause them to blow up, and in a huge way.

1: The Dream 5/5
The mixtape starts off with an eerie beat that eventually leads into one of the best intro tracks I have ever heard. Sonny spits some awesome lines such “yeah she a star, colder than Pluto” and “all of my friends say, they just say hurry, hurry up and make it so we can live, cause they just wanna see if I’ll ever get rich”. It speaks on how this whole experience just seems so good it has to be a dream. The only complaint of this song is the length, it is relatively short and I feel like it should have been made into a full record.

2: Breakfast Talk 4/5
The name behind their whole video series, Breakfast Talk gives us one good verse from Sonny that helps us out with who he his and gives us an intro to The Dean’s List as a group. Again this track is short and that seems to be a consistent problem throughout the mixtape.

3: The People 5/5
This is one of my favorite tracks of the mixtape as Sonny showcases his ability to flow in and out of the beat. Even though Sonny really shines, the real star of the show are DJ Mendoza and Mik Beats. They cook up a heater with a sample from an Empire of the Sun song and it really goes. The lyrics really standout as Sonny bodies this monster of a beat. Absolute must listen.

4: Dear Professor 5/5
This track really represents who The Dean’s List are. You can almost feel the raw emotion as Sonny spits over a beat Mendonza and Mik cooked up. They use a sample to paint the perfect canvas for Sonny to spit over and paint the portrait of a true artist. This might be the true standout of the entire mixtape.

5: All Systems Go (feat. OnCue) 3.5/5
I know some people are a huge fan of this record, but I just don’t think it’s that great. Yes it is a pretty damn good song, but it’s just not of the level of the other songs of this mixtape. Sonny drops some good verses and up and comer OnCue really adds to the overall value of the song. I would definitely suggest listening to this track for the sole reason of it’s popularity, but I’m not feeling it.

6: Troy 5/5
Again another great track and an almost creepy beat cooked up by Mik and Mendoza. Sonny flows well over it and it manages to work out pretty good. This is one of the sleepers as most people pass it by, but it is a must listen.

7: The Toast (Interlude) 5/5
This record really showcases the potential that The Dean’s List have as a group. Even though it is an interlude, it is almost longer than some of the songs on the mixtape. This record is about a speech that Sonny gives while he is drunk and it humiliates him in front of the crowd but it ends up being a truly funny and great record.

8: Misery (feat. Jordan Brown) 5/5
The Dean’s List hook up with frequent collaborator, Jordan Brown, and make truly great music. This song is extremely short, clocking in at just over two minutes and features just two verses from Sonny and a hook from Jordan Brown. But those two verse from Sonny are maybe some of the best on the entire mixtape. Again, I feel like this song should be much longer. But all in all, a solid listen.

9: Mainstream 5/5
Without a doubt the best song of the entire mixtape. It really gives us an inside look on how Sonny thinks and his opinion on selling out as an artist. He confirms that he will never do that, and oh my gosh I hope they don’t. Because as this song plays you can really see how great this group can become. It also showcases the ability that Sonny has as a lyricist. Dropping lines such as “I’m tryna screw you and your friends too, that’s what the labels say, and then they sign you, before they find you, they tryna guide you” where Sonny explains that the labels will sign you, screw you and your friends, and make you do what they want. If you were to listen to one song off the entire mixtape, it should be this one.

10: Light Up the Sky (feat. Dani Ummel) 4/5
The Dean’s List goes to complete left field on this joint and it works. This pop joint actually works, however the chorus and verses seem like almost different songs. In this case, that is an excellent thing as Sonny spits some absolutely dope verses and it is a nice change of pace from the rap so far.

11: La Vie (The Life) 5/5
If you were tired of the rap records so far (I have no idea how you could have though), then you are in luck with one. La Vie seems like a European dance club, David Guetta produced record. But no, it’s still Mendoza and Mik behind the boards. The dance flavored beat gives way to some pretty good verses by Sonny as he really shines.

12: No Sleep (feat. Dani Ummel) 3/5
In my opinion, The Dean’s List really falls flat on this one. The chorus and beat really seem awkward overall and Sonny spits uninspired verses. On the positive side, this might be the only pass on the entire mixtape.

13: The Beast 4/5
Let me start this off by saying, this record completely sounds like something meant for Tyler The Creator. It’s beat is almost horrcore-ish and it almost seems like Sonny is rapping like he’s possessed. Again, this is a relatively quick track, at just over a minute thirty. All in all, it is a good listen, especially if you’re a fan of Tyler or the whole Odd Future gang.

14: Burn It All 5/5
This is the second best song off the tape, as it could almost be the anthem for the new generation. It is a feel good, summer joint as the chorus really stands out and Sonny spits some great, and I mean great, verses. You have to listen to this if you consider yourself a music fan.

15: #K2YL (Kush to Your Lighter)
This is a close third in the best songs of the mixtape. The beat is erie and Mendoza and Mik use the piano to perfection as the craft possibly, one of the best beats off the entire tap. The song is short (again) as it only contains one verse from Sonny, but that one verse is absolutely insane and it really showcases Sonny’s talents as an MC. Two words: must listen.

The Dean’s List may be the most promising rap group coming up right now. With the ability to make the pop/rap type of record that everyone likes. It blows my mind to think of the potential and limitless possibiliity that they have. Like I stated in Burn It All, they might be the voice of the new generation with the attitude of “so what, I’m young”. With Mendoza and Mik holding down the beats and Sonny behind the mic, they have the possibility to become one of the few superstar groups in the game today.

Download: The Drive In – The Dean’s List

The People

Dear Professor


Burn It All


  1. ralph says:

    its all about Vizzy

  2. eptarheels23 says:

    XV is pretty dope too, I think Zero Heroes is one of the top projects of the year so far. With The Dean’s List and XV coming up, the rap game has a very bight future

  3. ralph says:

    so true

  4. Lolzroyce says:

    Peanut butter and swelly is better!

  5. eptarheels23 says:

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I feel like The Drive is better from start to finish and the production is on another level. But Peanut Butter and Swelly was a great project overall

  6. […] Standouts:The Dream, The People, Dear Professor, Troy, Mainstream, Burn It All, #K2YL The absolute best mixtape of the year and one of my favorite projects ever. It is stacked from front to back as Sonny Shotz really […]

  7. […] is put on the map as one of the best places for new talent in the game today, with artists such as The Dean’s List and Sam Adams, Boston is generating some serious buzz across the country. But it’s time we […]

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