On Million Dollar Mixtape, MDZ affects a king-from-the-gutter persona. In rap and beyond, it's a classic, always viable story. The challenge is telling the story in a way that's fresh and new. While the opening track, "STRONG," includes some personal moments that help explain MDZ's character, most of the tape follows the song's "I'm a boss" hook. And even though MDZ raps pretty well about being a boss, and the intensity with which he raps conveys a belief in what he's saying, he's not saying much you haven't heard before. As a result, the story he's pitching is not especially interesting. Still, his technical talent is apparent on tracks like "Fresh to Def" and "Neva Dat." But if Top 40 is the route he's hoping to take, Million Dollar Mixtape's repetitive hooks and average beats aren't enough to set him apart.


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