A love inspired album
Matt Muse’s bold presence and enticing lyricism have ensured his position in Chicago’s rap scene and a growing profile that has had him inching toward national recognition for the past five years. While Matt Muse has not experienced the national breakout that some of his similarly poetic-minded Chicago contemporaries like Noname and Mick Jenkins have, he has been steadily improving his craft, digging deep into dynamic themes with each new EP.
His newest EP, Love & Nappyness is the second installment of his Nappy series following his 2018 project, Nappy Talk. On this project, Muse reflects on the different ways that love takes effect on his life, using five different concepts of love inspired by greek philosophy and the Bible to guide the 7-song project. The opening track, “St. Matthew [AGAPE],” sets the theme of love for the rest of the album. On this track, however, the title, “AGAPE,” or the Greek word signifying God and man’s love for one another, shows that Muse is discussing a pious love rather than a mortal, human love. The production on the track is gleaning and clean, with soft Wurlitzer keys, fluttering piano and Muse’s pointed, autobiographical verses leading the way.
The fourth track on the album, “Myself [Philautia II],” is an ode to self-love. The funky beat and syrupy sweet hook show in a lighthearted manner that Muse is dedicated to self-improvement and self-appreciation.On the sixth track, “Shotgun [Philia],” Muse trades his smooth bars and luscious production on earlier tracks for faster, staccato flow and a beat with a simple chord progression, bassline and drums that give the song some swing. The last track on the album, “Family, Still [Storge],” is a smooth hip hop cut with heavy, trap-inflected drums, a reverbed out guitar line, soulful trumpet and spacy keys. Muse continues his biographical rapping on this track, but this time with the help of Chicago house artist, Mon’Aerie. Her smooth vocals assist the track perfectly, contrasting Muse’s rapping with simultaneously soulful and ethereal singing.
Muse makes his storytelling and impressive poetic ability on this EP abundantly clear. Although the album is a mere 7 song, 20-minute piece, Muse shows his strength at creating a focused project with one central theme that feels synergetic and authentic from start to finish.