King Mushu dropped Dawn of The Dragon to all streaming platforms, so naturally we’d need to review it. How’s it sounding? Let’s see:
King Mushu’s otherworldly approach to music (and artwork) is apparent from the jump. The first track, “Blessings (Intro)” plays more like a negro-spiritual than an album opening; reminiscent of Nas‘ It Was Written‘s initial offering.
King Mushu’s head isn’t just in the clouds, as on “On The Count of 5 (Let’s Get It)“, where he details “Ever since I was a youngn’, I’ve been struggling, hustlin’/Momma ain’t have no money, surprised I ain’t sellin’ drugs/N*ggas had to steal just to make a meal“. Afterwards, he documents his independent come-up in Hip-Hop, shedding light on his struggle and skill it took.
Things don’t stay Earthly too long. “Shroom Trip (The Awakening)” takes us on a psilocybin rollercoaster. Both, sonically and lyrically, a pretty vivid description of the life-changing experience. The aforementioned track precedes “Dawn of The King skit“, which may actually have been better serving as the opener.
The album closes on an adjacent note to its beginning, with “Showing My Gratitude (Outro)“, which is exactly what it sounds like.
As refreshing as King Mushu’s content and viewpoint are, there are some lowlights.
“Bounce” featuring Smoke Stack Silk is a clear misstep, all the way around the board. It’s a song about strippers that literally disses fake asses on its hook (what is this, 2003?). It also sits on an instrumental that would never get played in any titty bar, under no circumstances. (
We can’t front on: “She like it in Cash Money, I’m spending blue faces” though. That’s wordplay.)
What’s even more, it’s proceeding track “Queen of The Sun” is an ode to women, essentially. On the heels of the sheer vulgarity of “Bounce”, it may seem a bit confusing, at least inconsistent. To be fair, if it was all one track; i.e Wale‘s “The Manipulation 2“, it could’ve faired a bit better. Possibly, went over smooth. We may be playing musical semantics now… moving forward.
It’s not that “Maze (Vol 2)” is a bad song. It’s just not a good closer, for an album that starts with “Curse of The First Born (Stay Strong)“. It may leave you wondering, how did we get here?
“Dead To Me” is a definite bright spot. Storytelling, messaging, vibe, all on point. “You ain’t got no loyalty, that’s why you’re dead to me“, King Mushu spits in between solid stories and a consistent flow.
Overall, King Mushu’s ‘Dawn of The Dragon’, is worth a listen. The frequency he operates on adds to the dynamics of Hip-Hop’s current landscape. Is his uniqueness enough to override some amateurish production, a sometimes “yes, yes y’all” flow and “Bounce”, itself? That’s up to who’s listening.
All we know is the accuracy of “these damn walls, they just keep on vibrating” from “Shroom Trip” is worth the ticket, alone.