New Music: IAMX EP by MX
In an era of hooks, lyricism usually falls by the wayside. Not with MX, he’s all about wordplay and metaphors so deep “they make Lupe Fiasco look like a preschool teacher.” Sthembelo Dlamini breaks down the IAMX EP below.
Some of you may have me as a friend on Facebook and that means you might have seen my little rant against some of the nominations in this years South African Hip Hop Awards. One in particular was the suspicious inclusion of Gingerbread Man in the category of “Lyricist of the Year” and the exclusion of Kwesta, Kid X and basically anyone who isn’t named Gingerbread Man. I was fortunate enough to be one of the few people who actually got a reply from the admin of the SAHHA Facebook page with an explanation for some of the shady nominations. Basically they told me each artist is responsible for submitting their own work for consideration and not nominated on performance, hustle or merit. That in turn explains the lack of Durban representatives in the nominees (we were obviously busy on that day.)
Our city has lyricists man. And I’m not talking about the usual suspects whenever people mention Durban rappers either. We have many more rappers than Duncan, Aewon and Zakwe.
One of those is the homie, MX. I’ve known MX for a while now and he’s always shown an interest beyond the glam and other perks of being a modern, young rapper. This has been further emphasised by some of the singles he’s dropped throughout the year. His mixtape finally dropped on the 31st of October and I had the privilege of being one of the first few people to hear it hours before the release.
From the first track I was quickly reminded of my problem with MX as an artist.. In an age when rappers are fighting tooth and nail to come up with the cheesiest, catchy hooks, MX seems to step away from that and concentrate more on his verses. In theory, it’s amazing, but the average listener needs concentration breaks between bars. Listening to it again, (4 days after the release) there’s no track I feel like rushing to and replaying over and over. The average listener will definitely know what I mean, because they will almost certainly be craving a catchy hook to mindlessly sing along to. Another thing is his metaphors are confusing to say the least. Some are basic. Very, very basic. Others are so deep they make Lupe Fiasco look like a preschool teacher. It’s a bit of a work out for your mind but other than that, the mixtape is solid. It’s not quite there yet in some areas but a couple more months in the spotlight will iron out the last few flaws in MX’s game.
His flow is solid, both in English and isiZulu, and the beat selection is awesome, my crew and I found ourselves replaying’ Durban City Chilling’ and ‘Sphelele’ repeatedly. The beat on ‘Since the Come Up’ is the one you’ll want to turn up to in the car on the way to the venue.
All in all, this is well worth a play, especially if you’re not already familiar with MX. It isn’t for everyone but you won’t know unless you give it a spin or two. I’ll be sending this body of work to the offices of SAHHA and show them some of the REAL talent that they’ve managed to overlook for yet another year. If stuff like this isn’t considered, then it’s hard to take their award show seriously.