The name of Chris Travis’ 2012 mixtape says a lot about his music. Pizza and cough syrup obviously invoke images of good times for Travis and that comes across in the overall sound of the mixtape. Codeine & Pizza is largely about him having fun, usually with the help of women, substances, or both. The mixtape exists in a gray area between “music to dance to” and “music to relax to,” although Travis simply wants listeners to “vibe with it”. He achieves this with a consistent, if somewhat predictable, sound.

Lyrically, Travis doesn’t vary much from two main topics: sex and drugs. They often coincide. For instance, on “Codeine Vision” he states that he has “your ex-girl buying codeine for Christmas.” Some tracks are more vague in which topic they portray. On “Psychedelic Funk”, for example, Travis talks about the various drugs he has consumed before moves on to speak about girls on Tumblr. He makes little attempt to connect these disparate subjects. However, other tracks, like “Sip That Shit”, dedicated almost entirely to codeine consumption, are incredibly focused. Despite overall lyrical simplicity, there are several outliers, such as “Miss Me When I’m Gone”, which is at its core a love song, or “For the Love of $”, which narrates a murder Travis claims he has committed, and the guilt and paranoia he feels afterwards.

Travis’ verses generally have a relaxed, off-beat flow, although he manages to couple the tone of his raps with that of his beats. On “Players Palace”, Travis slurs his verses extra slowly, while other tracks, like “When We Ride”, come off as downright aggressive. Many of the guest artists on the mixtape rap with similar flow, but several have very different sounds. Kris Henry’s verse on “Balance” stands out as his flow is more on-beat and reminiscent of newer East Coast artists, such as The Underachievers and Joey Bada$$. Another interesting feature on the mixtape is the rare exposure of female rapper Amber London and her verse on “When We Ride”, although her lines cut through the busy instrumental.

The beats on Codeine & Pizza are mostly mixtures of atmospheric elements and classic “dirty south” or “trap” style production. Heavy, drawn-out 808 bass drums appear on almost every song and it seems that most use other staples of trap beats as well, such as snare rolls and super-fast hihats. “Drugs” and “Codeine Vision” use ambient, spacey chords to invoke the feelings of a drug trip. “For the Love of $” includes reverb-laden jazz samples. Generally, slow-downs and tempo changes are used throughout the mixtape, with some acting as short accents while others last for entire verses. “Tokyo” includes multiple tempo and pitch changes, peppering other DJ effects, such as repeats and vinyl stops. This is a common theme on Codeine & Pizza, with almost every song including some kind of special effect.

Codeine & Pizza is an enjoyable listen for an open-minded hip hop fan, especially one who is familiar with the older “dirty south” sound of the early 2000’s. While someone trying to get into rap music for the first time might find it distasteful, Chris Travis’ 2012 mixtape includes plenty of interesting details that anyone could sink his or her teeth into. Despite the simple lyrics and occasional wonky flow, in Travis’ words, you can “vibe with it.”