By Silya Bennai
ALBUM: “Let the Sun Talk” by MAVI
RELEASE YEAR: 2019
LABEL: New York Lab / UnitedMasters
BEST TRACKS: “Eye/I and I/Nation,” “Self Love” and “Sense”
“Let the Sun Talk” leaves no room for personal thoughts during its thirty-two-minute runtime, but it seems as if MAVI may have already read our minds through the exploration of his own. Human truths presented as personal ruminations, MAVI’s debut album is a bright light of pro-Black, anti-capitalistic poetry wrapped in smooth, flowing instrumentals.
Born Omavi Minder, MAVI spent much of his childhood and adolescence locally; Charlotte, North Carolina, to be exact. The 21-year-old neuroscience student showcases a clear influence from American rapper Earl Sweatshirt, but brings a fresh and introspective taste of youthfulness to the ever-altering subgenre of alternative hip-hop.
“Eye/I and I/Nation”, the second track of the thirteen-track album, captures the struggle of loving and being loved while simultaneously figuring out who you are as an individual and community member. This track was my personal introduction to MAVI and I still find myself coming back to this line: “I got puddled pride and troubled eyes ’cause I’m an artist.” MAVI is able to both highlight the truth behind the “tortured artist” stereotype while casting a shadow of irony on the inherent narcissism of the self-identified creative.
The fourth track, “Self Love”, boasts the most listens of any of MAVI’s solo songs and for good reason. The warm and full beat is accompanied by MAVI’s breathy and constant flow of self-doubt and reflections on familial love. Perhaps no one worries like a mother does for her child, and the resulting comfort and guilt of this fact is present on this track as MAVI explores it from the child’s perspective.
“Sense”, which includes production from the aforementioned Earl Sweatshirt, is one of the shorter tracks from the album, but proves impressive upon every listen. MAVI’s dexterous lyrical flow is especially evident on this tightly crafted, and of course, introspective track. If anyone ever asks you what kind of songs MAVI makes, look no further than “Sense”. He says it best himself on this track: “I make the kind you gotta read, baby.”
Here’s to reading songs,