Young M.A Stays True to Herself on ‘Herstory’
Young M.A cares about bars. Whether you believe it or not, she undoubtedly has one of the sharpest pens in the game regardless of any category you may place her in. Her old-fashioned bar brigade style seems to be something of a lost art these days with the majority of up-and-comers opting to rhyme in a way more casual way.
She broke onto the scene last year and put the pressure on her fellow contemporaries with “OOOUUU” but anyone can get lucky with one song. It was actually her slew of freestyles and lyrically laced loosies that confirmed her unapologetic presence as a viable future for not only New York hip-hop, but in hip-hop as a whole. The only real question was whether or not she could translate those flaming hot six minute freestyle sessions into something tangible on a full length project. Well, we are still waiting for her official debut, but the release of her extended play, Herstory gives us quick look into the album composition potential of Brooklyn’s not-so-new newcomer.
Clocking in at less than 25 minutes long, Herstory only has seven songs on it, which is just enough time to engage listeners but definitely not enough to spoil the plot of her forthcoming full length debut. Two songs that made the tracklist on this EP are “OOOOUUU” and “Hot Sauce,” both previously released and celebrated. The reason for their merriment and Young M.A’s praise in general, is their sheer abrasiveness and lyrical fortitude. M.A comes with no gimmicks, no drama and nothing generationally segregating. In other words, her flow is timeless and if you enjoy the art of rhyming words at any capacity, then you will enjoy her music because she's just so good at it.
Herstory follows a similar no-nonsense pattern with songs being explicitly straightforward. “M.A (Intro)” is a proclamation of occupational dominance as she spits about 52 bars that all revolve around her final two: “Fuck everybody else/It's all about M.A now.” “JOOTD” has one liners like “If I don't really fuck with you then I'm dubbing you/I'm just stacking this cheese up like a Lunchable.” M.A kicks realness on “Self M.Ade,” “They say that I manipulate the youth/Nah, don't get it wrong, I speak the truth/This is deeper than the roots, look around you see the proof/No excuse, but what you see is nothing new.”
Although M.A is a pro with the metaphors and similes, “Bonnie” is the most eye opening track despite its lack of penmanship flexing. Built on the smooth shuffling hi-hats and groovy strings on Ja Rule’s “Down 4 U”, M.A sounds like she’s getting ready for a serious case of summer love. It’s the first time she’s selected to rap over a beat that isn’t as aggressive as her bars are—which for all intents and purposes might be a sneak peek into a development in a musical capability. A lot of the lines on this cut are musings of a very surface level romance but show a little more of the Brooklyn rapper’s softer side.
Herstory isn’t necessarily a complete project from M.A seeing as almost of a third of it has been previously released. That however, doesn’t take away from how talented she is. This EP is much more than a random combination of protons, neutrons and electrons aimlessly moving around the nucleus of “OOOUUU.” If anything, the half dozen tracks leading up to it make the year-old smash hit even harder. This EP just confirms that Young M.A is doing all the right things in order to succeed in the rap world. She hasn’t compromised any lyrical integrity, she has shown some emotional growth and M.A damn sure hasn’t stopped letting other rappers know what time it is.
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