There’s always something embarrassing writing about something that you’ve got little to no knowledge about. Though the experience is obviously numbed by the countless last minute jumping-through-hoops essays that higher education quickly turns into, there’s a huge difference between writing about the effect of Lord Chamberlain’s Office and trying to pass off a working knowledge of rap and it’s culture. Aside from the odd crossover artist, there are still huge, shameful blanks in knowledge that even the most part-time MC enthusiast could expose.
But those crossover artists almost make enough impact to make up for those shortcomings. Over a decade ago, Eminem sold rap to the middle classes with his inoffensive take on the offensive, whilst Kanye managed to make amends for 808’s and Heartbreaks with the best album of last year, melding hip hop, pop and smatterings of rap to create an absolute masterpiece in My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Mubarik Adam’s sights aren’t set quite so high yet, but working under the name of Emay, he’s spent the past year or so putting his rhymes over some of the best beats around. Aside from his work under the Seeing Suge banner with Blackbird Blackbird and Star Slinger, he’s been making his own, prodigiously recording new material. New ‘mini LP’ Mind Altering Dynamics is perhaps his strongest to date, and even if you’ve only got NWA’s Straight Outta Compton as a reference point, it’s still clearly brilliant. It’s as though someone has finally found a raison d’etre for all those lost sounding half-thoughts that turned into chillwave songs.