Good hip-hop is real, emotional, gritty – not a parade of faux gangstaisms and bludgeoning crass humor – and that’s what Midaz the Beast’s debut AU: Another Universe thankfully reminds us of. The album starts out by stating, “I’m a real nigga” and that’s what you get: the highs and lows of one man’s odyssey, where he’s a “Champion of the Block” (an electric song you’ll want to turn up a notch or two) but also “Worthless” (a song certain to make you sit up straight in your chair). This is rich storytelling delivered powerfully, cleverly sampling YouTube videos you’re sure to recognize and featuring support from greats like Blueprint and Planet Asia. It’s a special album, legitimately engrossing and impressively self-aware, both lyrically and musically. And the effect he achieves on “Coma” is at once off-putting, brave and commendable.
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