Album Review//MaG - Freedom

We don't often dip our toes into urban and hip hop but after enjoying Death Grips' assault on our ears we thought we'd persevere. Currently available for download from his Bandcamp page MaG's album Freedom is a jazzier take on rap and you can find out how we took it below.

In all honesty, the cover art for rap releases often tells a story. More than with any genre, rap record sleeves are usually an easy read. But what we enjoyed about the cover art for Freedom was the lack of weapons, caps and chains. Instead we have the albums title 'Freedom' with the American flag behind it. The music itself is less beat driven and more in the electro jazz vein. But unlike the early Nineties trend that produced the genre, which undoubtedly influenced this music, it's got a quiet edge and sense of dramatics that keeps it fresh throughout.

On tracks such as Americana, the production yields a sonic beauty from the basic combination of elements. Beats and synth have rarely eluded such a ear pleasing result. The delivery throughout the album also impresses, bringing the aforementioned drama with an ease that makes the feelings described in the words come alive. In terms of overall excellence, one of our favorite tracks is Black Roses. With a minimal production and an intonation that remains mostly static it makes an impression on the listener easily. It's the kind of song that could be found playing at a chill out lounge or on the scene and fit in perfectly. 

But the overall electro jazz minimalism is the key to the album's success for us. It adds a soul to the record that lifts it up a level in most ways. The matching message is  positive one, with the keeping at it until you succeed ethics of the genre flying a very big flag. Indeed, despite the first listen feeling somewhat claustrophobic it soon opened it's doors into a free ranging record that shows distinct promise.

Review by Sebastian Gahan. 

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