Thursday, April 26, 2018

Album Review: Mansa Obi - Mansa

Mansa Obi
** out of *****

(While Jazzfest starts tomorrow, and RtBE thinks it is the best festival in the country, New Orleans is more than tuba's and second lines. As the fest arrives we wanted to take some time to review smaller various bandcamp finds from the city, as the town just pulsates music culture and art.)

The producer rapper from New Orleans Mansa Obi's second release Mansa is a mix of digital beats that ebb and flow around Obi's direct rhyming.

After a cosmic brief album opener the disk gets rolling around "Sin City '99" easing in with strings, a breathy sample over a hook up jam with the line "Good pussy run the world/and she has it" devolving into a full on bumping banger. Another fun number is "Crush Like Yea Pt 3.0" which has one of the best sonic palettes on the album using ripe keyboards and drums to float effortlessly.

"Clean Macking" uses rain sound effects mixing thin keyboard sounds and a grooving tempo which is all about getting the money with some auto tuned singing. The term contradiction is used a few times on the album and that comes through on the longest song here. "$2500" uses claps and blast beats excessively but instead of a full on dance track they are paired with a laid back r&b smooth groove; this odd mismatch of beats is unsettling yet engaging. 

Mansa is basically an EP elongated with poetic mini interludes ("Soul Cannibal" Vanity Mirror") the album runs quickly but still manages to cram lots of hip styles into the eardrums as Obi seems more confident in his production as opposed to his singing/rhyming; there are breaks of mysticism and lyrical passages, but none that stick around long. Things can also feel like demo tracks at times with a song like "Hallelujah" is somewhere between interlude and finished product. Either which way Mansa Obi is one to watch and listen for as he grows.

Support the artist, buy the album on bandcamp or stream it below:

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