Review Summary: Emay shows loads of potential on his debut EP, not only in his lyrics but in his beats as well, and he’s only going to go up from here.
In today’s day and age any kid who thinks they’re the next Kanye can pop open Google search, find some instrumentals, lay down some lyrics, and spread their creation. This is a good thing in many ways as talented people who may not have had the chance to be heard before are now given the tools to make themselves heard, but on the other hand there is also an increase of untalented, one trick/gimmick acts making their way onto the scene. Canadian rapper and producer Mubarik Gyenne Adams fits into the group of talented musicians who have used the Internet age to get his music to the masses.
The Hamilton, Ontario native has gained the attention of British beat kid Star Slinger (the two have been working on tracks together) and is a big up and comer in the Canadian rap scene. Mind Altering Dynamics, Emay’s debut EP, is a big first stride into the hip-hop world. Throughout the EP he sounds at home behind the mic with his smooth, mellow flow and intelligent verses. Lyrically the record goes from the confusion of his father’s passing “To the day I was born, 91’/Mom, Dad real glad got a mighty son/four years passed and Dad passed as well/so saddening, I didn’t understand what was happening” to the clever reference of everyone’s favorite place for a laugh growing up in the 90’s “Make the world laugh like Ebaum up in this” and does so very thoughtfully, the mood of the EP never feeling too negative or too comical at once. The EP’s ender “Initiation In Progression” is where his lyricism shines, telling the story of his high school years where he took his anger and demons out on the football field and how he found music as his new passion. With there only being a few awkward lines over the EP’s 30 minute run time it shows that lyricism is defiantly a card Emay has in his hand, one that will only mature and greater in value with time, but the real ace in his hand are his beats.
This EP was also released as an instrumental version and it’s easy to see why. His beats are lush and full, but not to the point where things start to sound muddy. They unfold perfectly, constantly offering the perfect backdrop for his rhymes; with little touches that make a beat something more are present in all the tracks. He shows he can turn a sample into something of his own when he take’s a Mars Volta sample and turns it into a slippery rhythm section behind the beat on the first half of “It’s Been Said + Rewot Gninael”. The simple melody that starts off the album opener “Because Winter” is met by a drum track that carries the melody into a chorus where it expands underneath a beautifully sang hook by Lowell Boland, who’s vocals are the small touch that take this track to the next level. The closer “Initiation In Progression” is a slow churning track that could have easily come from Clams Casino, but halfway it takes a drastic turn jumping to an uptempo glitchy track that sounds like a Thom Yorke track on coke. From “Lonely Night ‘Starlight’” which could have been from one of the Brainfeeder release this year, to “So Beautiful” which bases itself around a simple vocal loop and turns into something that J Dilla would have been down with, his beats are the star of this release and by far the strongest card in his hand.
Emay shows loads of potential on his debut EP, not only in his lyrics but in his beats as well, and he’s only going to go up from here. On “It’s Been Said + Rewot Gninael” he brings up the topic of the 2012 scare “It’s been said a lot of things/like the worlds gonna end in a year so fear is what you ought to bring” but he doesn’t sound worried at all and goes on to say “Take the hard way out to achieve/it’s been said a lot of things that I couldn’t believe”. If he’s right and we’re all still alive, he’s going to continue making his way up the ranks of the hip-hop scene.