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O'Neal McKnight The Pre-Prom Mixtape

  • Words: Chris Sabbath
  • Label: Universal Motown
  • XLR8R Rating: 9/10

While it’s unclear whether L.A. stylist-turned-rapper O’Neal McKnight ever made it to his high school prom, he’s making up for any missed opportunities with an album that altogether embraces the concept. Hosted and MCed by McKnight himself with DJ Cassidy and Dub-L in tow, the album rewinds to the mid-'80s when cornball guitar solos and gated reverb hashed perfectly with New Romanticisms and AutoTuned vocals. Songs like “I Hate Love” and “This is the Prom” spit out a Teardrop Explodes-meets-Nu Shooz vibe—which, by the way, is completely fucking awesome—while “Rush Rush” and “Take Control” give the late '80s freestyle movement a proper update with its pitch-shifting Casios straight outta the dimestore bin.

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