Mura Masa: Album Review of the Week
Album: Mura Masa
Artist: Mura Masa
Reviewer: John Wright
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Allow me to pitch you something; picture an album with a star-studded feature list and a wide range of influences that covers an equally wide range of genres with varying degrees of success, but a kind of universal enthusiasm you can’t help but find infectious. In any other year, my first guess as to the maker of this album would be Gorillaz; but I found this year’s long-awaited Gorillaz offering, Humanz, to belacking. Lacking in imagination, innovation, and actual vocals from Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn. Instead, one of the most eclectic and overall pleasantly surprising debuts of the year comes to us courtesy of 21 year old, London-based beatmaking wunderkind Alex Crossan, AKA Mura Masa.
“Hello there, my name’s Alex, hit me up sometime, I’ll get in the lab and make you a hit.”
In the wake of his headline-grabbing set at this year’s Coachella, Mura Masa’s titular first album feels like a resume submitted to the stars of the music world, reading thusly; “Hello there, my name’s Alex, hit me up sometime, I’ll get in the lab and make you a hit.” It’s the frank and honest opinion of this reviewer that the stars of pop, R&B, rap, and EDM should take heed, as Crossan brilliantly highlights the talents of his diverse cast of features through his innovative and forward-facing production. Among the standouts are a loose, Beastie Boys-esque beat with a bouncy electronic twist backing up A$AP Rocky on rap banger “Love$ick,” a dub-infused pop concoction for fellow UK up-and-comer Bonzai on “What If I Go?” and a hazy, washed out, hung-over-rainy-Saturday-afternoon feeling track “Blu” for the aforementioned Damon Albarn, a track I’d say is superior to any of his offerings on Humanz.
I despise the label of “next big thing.” More often than not it suffocates up-and-coming artists under critical expectations that would be unreasonable for anyone, let alone a young artist still finding their niche. But for Mura Masa I can’t help but wonder if, for once, the label might be justified.