By Taylor McAnally
I am a huge proponent of mood music. No artist is appropriate for absolutely every situation. So far I’ve had a lot of luck lumping people together and deploying the right songs for the right time. One of the areas which I am the most discerning is finding my aggressive musics. This permutation of music is actually quite useful to me personally. It motivates me to keep working like no other, and it’s just fun to bop around throwing rap hands in a mirror. There’s no denying that. FamousMf and his The Voices EP fall into this niche very nicely. The production doesn’t always follow suit, but we will get to that shortly. For now let’s dive into the initial visceral experience of listening through.
The EP begins with “Knowledge”, a spacey, zephyrous salvo of confident spit from Famous. There’s a dearth of features on this release, something for which I’m actually quite appreciative. Often an artist’s individual voice gets lost in the sauce they create for themselves through an abundance of features. I can always respect someone who believes their own voice can carry an entire release. That’s a correct assertion in this case. As the first track ramps up, I was immediately struck with undertones of Sahtyre and Aaron Cohen. I refer to this in my head-canon as ‘Sean P rappers’, but of course that’s simply speculation on my part. The delivery is strong and the diction is above average, so I’m automatically onboard.
As we move into the next two tracks, some hindrances rear into view. “For The People” is a decent enough beat, but the levels of volume fluctuate wildly throughout the EP. Compare how loud this track is to the one that follows, “All That Jazz”. This is a common foible in these days of universal access to the ability to record music. It’s also a great example of why we still need engineers and audio masterers in this modern age of expression. This pattern unfortunately laces itself all through the release, though the flucuations aren’t ungodly or unconscionable.
I also take personal umbrage with the way FamousMf has used Mick Jenkins’ absolutely brilliant, searing message to society for his own ends. I understand that the beat itself is chopped up some, with a few additional elements added. The meat of the beat remains the same however, and putting one’s name as having ‘produced’ a beat that was already so very well-made in the first place strikes me as overly grandiose. In this situation, which I readily admit I do not place myself in for this very reason, I would denote somewhere in the track’s online component where the original beat came from, if only to direct people to something truly great in this particular instance. (Side note: on “I Ain’t Fucking With You” FamousMf seems to go in a different direction, taking a few sparse elements from Big Sean’s missive of similar name and making the beat much better. Kudos for that.)
The front half of the EP is much stronger than the back. This isn’t to say any of the rest of the tracks are bad by any measure. They are certainly not my thing but it’s not because they aren’t mixed well or sound bad in that way. Quite the contrary, the standards of engineering have gone way up in recent years, and FamousMf follows suit. The whole EP sounds good, and qualifies as well above-average headphone music to get buck to, or perhaps to work your shift to, as I do. Only a couple of the tracks stand out post-listen, but The Voices EP is deciedly worth your time if you’re into the harder side of hip hop.
Notables: “Knowledge” “I Ain’t Fucking With You”
Listen to the project below: