Xavier Wulf is the whiplash general stemming from Memphis. With previous mixtape releases that shook arenas and quickly rose Wulf to a mainstream audience with an underground flare, East Memphis Maniac is the well deserved sequel to all the hell that he raised previously.
Independent and basically the worst thing to ever happen in a record label’s worst nightmare, Wulf commands audiences with an iconic delivery through vocal aggression. An artist’s voice is always important when it is the main instrument being used; often paired with a flurry of 808 bass and tormenting instrumentation, there is no shortage of possession within his voice. East Memphis Maniac is an additional outlook from Wulf that seems more as an overlord than an artist at times.
Opening with the thunderous “Check it Out”, Wulf is a standard in the underground hip-hop collection of kings that reign with an iron hand. Still able to slide in the relaxed and non-threatening, East Memphis Maniac takes hold of a different animal. Where Project X, Blood Shore Season 2, or even his collaborative effort with TeamSESH collective leader Bones; Wulf is a dual-faced artist of intrigue and power that establishes sequences of mystery as well. As what seemed like millions scream “Fuck a bitch boy fuck a nigga shit too, I give no fuck about who the fuck she came with…” Xavier Wulf holds these bars on the audience and can manipulate that energy to create something almost superhero-esque.
As he continues to move on, through “Homecoming”, “Request Refused”, or “Wake Walker”, Wulf holds a truth behind his lyrics that makes the easiest work of running through brick walls and standing ten feet tall. Each release can instantly open up a mosh-pit within the office, or at the family picnic without a hesitation, East Memphis Maniac is no different. There are moments on here where Wulf leaves no room for the imagination and describes in immaculate detail what a day in his life looks like.
“I slide by ‘em like Suzuki’s, watching movies in my Bimmer…Don’t make me pull up in a damn bus just to school you. Boy, I’m plottin’ sippin’ sake, they gonna watch because they can’t avoid it” Wulf explains through this veil of clouded vision on “Riding Shotgun in Japan”. With an all-star cast of features diving from KOHH, Skepta, Chris Travis, Bones, Idontknowjeffery, Tay Keith, Eddy Baker, and even MadeinTYO stops by for a quick verse on “Match Hunters”. In a seamless transition, “Chaos Castle” holds all members of SHWB in a pit of fury that erupts with verses from each member.
With a perfect send off into the eventual ether of silence. East Memphis Maniac is a continuation of the Wulf story. A fairy tale to the common man, but to the legend of the underground, it is just another day.
Listen/Watch Here – Youtube
Featuring A$AP Rocky + Project Pat
Director: Devonté Hynes
Producer: Nicholas Harwood
Production Co.: Industry Plant
DP: Stefan Weinberger
1st AC: Consuelo Althouse
Drone Op.: Peter Lansworth
Production Manager: Eric Cross
Durags: Lisa Katnic
Colorist: Bryan Smaller
Special Thanks: Malcolm Hill
Listen/Watch Here – Youtube
Directed By : Kansas Bowling
Shot By : Kansas Bowling and Parker Love Bowling
Video Titles : Jack Sample
EDITOR’S NOTE : FORK IN THE POT IS NOT OUT YET
THIS POST WILL BE UPDATED WHEN IT RELEASES
1. “Fork In The Pot” feat Conway, Westside Gunn & Schoolboy Q
2. “Fork In The Pot” Instrumental
1. “94′ Ghost Shit” feat Conway & Westside Gunn
2. “94′ Ghost Shit” Instrumental
Produced by The Alchemist
Mixed by Eddie Sancho at Bass Trap Studios
Mastered by Joe Laporta at Sterling Sound
Artwork by Shk@artbyshk.com
Faces is the 11th mixtape coming from Most Dope General, Mac Miller. The First of his kind to initiate a global takeover in the music industry, capturing the number one spot on the Billboards with an independent album, being able to touch an entire world of people with his music, and ultimately inspire even more. Faces will make you cry, laugh, stunt on your ex, and sincerely make you miss one of your idols more than ever.
“Shoulda died already, I… shoulda died already” Miller opens Faces with an introspective look at his drug use, his missteps, and the most humanistic characteristics that he had. His downfalls are what made him approachable to anyone who had falling outs, his kindness took his music to a global level and saw collaborations unheard of, and his talent left some of the greatest music to ever be produced.
There is a female voice that becomes continually present throughout Faces and proceeds to lead the listener like a gentle shepherd. “Be without fear in the face of your enemies, be brave and upright that god may love thee. Speak the truth even if it leads to your death, safeguard the helpless and do no wrong. This is your oath…” as Miller then creates a Pittsburgh homecoming of jazz-influenced production on “Here We Go” that rivals with the uplifted, living better Miller. “Brand new home I think I made it, key to the city I keep to open the gates with. A briefcase with a million under the pavement, that’s just on some rainy day shit” Miller exclaims through this crafty, but still simplistic instrumental.
Even through the gorgeous nature of “Here We Go”, Faces is primarily a rush to show the ghosts and spirits that hold Miller down as well. As he moves on to the track “Friends”, Miller becomes this less rambunctious, more introverted rhymer and producer. “I really can’t explain it, shit. It’s just a little cocaine sniff, but the lines is longer than parades is…I know that planet Earth about to explode, kinda hope that no one save it, we only grow from anguish.” Still there are sections where Mac Miller does not fall entirely into the pits of despair, but he does take these stumbles where he explains these mantras to his drug use. “I know my father probably wish I would just smoke pot, my grandma probably slap me for the drugs I got. I’m a crackhead but I bought her diamonds, we love rocks” Miller describes in a less than cheerful veracity.
Faces relies on this constant changes to frequently keep the mood in a rising and falling action of both intrigue and despair. With tracks as “Angel Dust” or even “Happy Birthday” that put a positive sound on the drug abuse story, Miller’s production here is as packed as ever and showcases through his creativity a lighthouse within the mirage of foreboding seas. With other tracks of “Therapy”, “Diablo”, or the absolute powerhouse of “Insomniak”; Miller is a beast of free burden that rhymes over quicker, more upbeat tempo tracks that reflect some of his brightest and most chest-flexed moments in hip-hop.
“Insomniak” creates the Miller that fans adored from the beginning, but with all the glare and glam of a famous A-lister with a budget. With the female vocal sample that opens “Think for yourself and you’ll find out that a lot of those so-called authorities are bullshit.” Miller then takes the opportunity to create a flood of lyrics that include “I’m the motherfucking greatest, y’all don’t know that yet. I don’t need your money, you can hold that check. At the crib in some Polo sweats, I don’t need a hoe, that’s what the hoes don’t get.” To then moving into a verse that could make the listener transport into their ex’s house in a grand finale of bravado just to tell them they really aren’t shit, “Bought a brand new crib yeah I move that brick, I don’t want nothing with your doo-doo clique. Treat her like a dog how I do that bitch…” as he reaches a hook that works as a chorus to describe “I’m an insomniac, a motherfuckin’ insomniac.”
Then as it comes to a crashing curtain draw, Faces takes the best of Mac Miller and divides the beauty into two reminiscent tracks that hold a final goodbye. “New Faces v2” uses Earl Sweatshirt and Da$H as the opening rhymers in collaboration before Miller disappears into the fireworks display of “Grand Finale.” With the most shocking line coming from “Grand Finale” that explains “And if by chance this my grand finale, bury me in Allegheny County… Even God will one day be forgotten… I’m a bit surprised that I’m even still alive, Mixin’ uppers and downers practically suicide.”
As the incredibly unfortunate and almost indescribable death of Mac Miller came so suddenly. Faces is more important than ever and delivers wholeheartedly on the fact that Mac Miller could transcend the early college hits, could surpass the drugged out depression, and realize that he is a relatable human that felt more like a big brother than just another artist.
Editors Notes: (AKA Matt’s Music Mine AKA Matthew Miramontes AKA Matty Ice AKA Machine Gun Salami AKA Lord Of The Game AKA Matty B Murder Business because I do everything on this site) – Mac Miller was more than just an artist to me as he was one of the first artists that I could ever relate to. The homies and I would gather around my shitty iPhone 5c (the white one) speakers just to hear when his newest tracks or leaks would come out and there aren’t many artists that hold that grasp on me. He was an eloquent artist through both music and the lyrics, even passed the fact that he never knew me as I knew him. It was a celebrity meeting that I had imagined more than a thousand times throughout my career as a journalist. The idea that Mac would just one day find my site and appreciate this. The fact that it takes someone I loved through a musical fascination to tell my friends and family that I love them for the first time in a long time. Miller would want the fans, the family, the people who knew him to not be crushed down after his death, but to instead show the world what he meant to us and live more like him. To capture love and distribute it throughout. I honestly have no idea what I am even saying anymore and truthfully, I did not like K.I.D.S. or even Macadelic, Blue Slide was a pass at times. It took Watching Movies With The Sound Off for me to realize just how intelligent Mac was and how much an artist he was within his music. Hearing “Watching Movies” on my dad’s speakers as he came home to laugh off my “rap phase” that would span a continuous 12 years and still presently. It was the beat production, the rhyming skills, and the way that I could finally jump into my dad’s 1998 Buick Century and blow the speakers out to “Birdcall.” Something I do now with my car, my events, my bedroom, my office, and even my poor iPhone speakers. Mac, I never knew you like your homies, but I wanted to. And I hope that your passing and music inspires my kids to one day stop making excuses, to push themselves more, and hope that I can one day change someone’s life like you did mine.
From the Shadow Lounge in modern-day Pittsburgh, to the transformation into the smoke-filled dens of Paris, Larry Lovestein can deliver through it all. Mac Miller has these superpowers behind his creative outreach that covers the balance of smooth touches of saxophone, an ensemble that relies heavily on each others dynamic positioning, and a lyrical consistency coming from Lovestein’s smooth, gentle but giant voice.
Larry Lovestein is not alone on this venture however as he recruits the sensual Velvet Revival to create the backing from the REMember Music signed artists. The vocals and keyboards that come from Lovestein himself are then paired with the rumbling skins of Ralph Bubbletea. Shaking the background with Bob “Grumpy” Loveskins on the bass, with Dave Goodfinger on the tuba. Having a brass instrumentalist creates such a warm barrier that treads with the sound and holds the clarinet by Emmanuel Steinwitz, xylophone by George “Night Owl” Bamboo, congos by Gerry Tampico, Saxophone by Pierce “Gutter Ball” Fortenauté. This is all balanced by the strings of Patty “4” Fairchild, and finally snaps by Florida’s own Choo Jackson that becomes more important to creating the vintage sound that Miller was able to grasp.
From the opening approach of the vinyl sleeve that appears to be bruised and seen much use as the cover, You is an excellent step back into the corduroy and wood grain age that has that certain sense of pride behind it. There is a capturing of love that somehow invites to draw the listener in, letting them fall victim to this otherworldly experience of color and vibrancy within Lovestein’s journal. Rather than the horror escapade that made up Delusional Thomas, You is a much more approachable and more mature Miller that manages the multiple personalities under one roof.
With the splashes of stained pigments that blush and create shades of glorifying hues follow with the love stricken lyrics of “Love Affair” as Lovestein explains, “Let’s run away, sail through the Atlantic. Two of us, such a wonderful pair stuck inside this love affair.” He is cordial in the delivery which makes the following track of “Suspicions” feel even more personal with the peaceful production to wrap. “I hope my suspicions ain’t been right all along. You are all I know for so long. We both, agree we don’t know what’s going on. You my fantasy gone wrong” Lovestein describes through this hook that works in tandem along with the band.
In certain moments, You is some of Miller’s most beautiful works that stack alongside his mainstream solo works. He is able to prove that he is more than just a rapper or lyricist, Miller, or rather Lovestein holds a candle to the strongest of jazz winds without ever seeming to blow over or falter. The fantasy of love within the air and the different approach to creating a musical memento comes with welcoming arms and brings love to a whole new level.