Let’s be clear: This review exists because of the CULTURE! I caught Griselda just after the 4-year fallout between Mach-Hommy & Westside Gunn. Apparantly, I’m wild late, as Mach has already gotten his Jay Z picture a while ago. I’d heard of Mach, but only in the context of an underground hero, as Roc Marci, Willie Da Kid, Curren$y etc. We love GxFR at G-HOLY.com, but this is not an affiliation appreciation post. So many voices that I respect in not only Hip-Hop but in the “rap review” space spoke so highly, it had to be done. I wasn’t just hearing “dope” either, more like Album Of The Year! Whoa. Word of mouth is STILL the best promotion!!!
Props to Westside Gunn, his influence, curation prowess & last but certainly not least, ad-libs. I somewhat don’t have any reference for what I’m about to say, given this is my 1st MH record, but I’m saying it: WSG’s fingerprints are ALL over this! This almost feels like a fully flushed version one of West’s Hitler Wears Hermes editions mixed with his Pray For Paris, 2020 album. The skit style, plus his voice is all over this, even when he’s not rhyming, makes it feel really collaborative, but still truly solo. I’m guessing this is what Jay Elctronica & Jay Z were going for. Kinda Genius-y.
The production is the true and clear star on this tape. Conductor Williams, who’s been on a tear, Camoflauge Monk and Danny LAflare handle the bulk of the production, with DJ Green Lantern and 3-4 others sprinkled in. This brings me to my next point: It’s such a rare find to have THIS many producers and have such a seemless blend. Actually, thinking on it, I’ve never seen it, ever. You’d think there was one or two producers, at the most. Again, that goes back to curation. Saying “jazzy” just doesn’t do it justice. Pray For Haiti has classic level production, top to bottom, that feels banging enough to come through ice-grilling and chill enough to play Sunday AM. Verrrry dope pocket.
On to Mach-Hommy. Lyrically, impressive. The wordplay is that of a veteran in full stride. Mach is the literally defining “seasoned” here. “Shot em’ twice, like Moderna“. This level of ability & execution doesn’t come overnight, and I know it was as easy as it sounds. Hommy isn’t perfect, though. His voice is monotone-ish and his laid-back delivery doesn’t help. Sometimes, his vocals are background music to the actual production and not because of some clever mixing tactic, like MadLib does. I love how comfortable he sounds, but he goes from pajama pants and slippers to laid out on a temperpedic, at times.
Overall, no matter what you come away thinking of it, it’s an experience I think every rap fan should have. It’s the one ride at the amusement park that if you didn’t get on, it’s like you didn’t even go. This is a zone we’ve probably never seen before, and it feels so good. It’s the continuation of tradition, modernized. Like, if The Bible were revised to include passages about iPhones, 5G and Instagram. Pray For Haiti is one of those YouTube mash-ups you come across (not ever searching for them), titled “Capone-N-Noreaga meets A Tribe Called Quest”. That’s some ill shit.
On his new album, Pray For Haiti, Mach-Hommy has proven, once again, that he is worthy of all the praise and glory afforded to the most popular artists in the game. Building off the success of his last album, Mach’s Hard Lemonade, the Newark-born rapper has created his best project to date, in tandem with Griselda member, Westside Gunn, who executive produced the entire album.
The instrumentals on this thing are about as close to perfect as you can get. Often muted, minimalist, and brooding, they lend a certain amount of weight to the project, which Hommy is able to match with his lyrics. Gliding effortlessly over every beat here, Hommy makes it clear that he refused to compromise his artistic vision on this project, while proving his skills on the mic.
There is very little to not like about this album, except for maybe the fact that many of the songs are relatively brief. At 39 minutes, the LP is not too short or too long, however, with sixteen tracks, there are many under three minutes, which leaves them feeling somewhat undercooked. Even still, that is a small sacrifice to make for such a high quality project, and Pray For Haiti is exactly that.
Mach-Hommy’s “Pray For Haiti” is simply an incredible project. As a first time listener, I was thoroughly impressed. Hommy’s technical rapping ability and sleek rhyme schemes are on par with some of the hottest emcees out there.
Another thing that stands out about this project is the production. Westside Gunn delivers on his executive producer credit and gives Hommy a great sound selection to work with. The beats range from eerily sparse to angelically beautiful. That sort of sonic versatility adds a great degree of nuance to the album as a whole.
From start to finish, “Pray For Haiti” is both structurally and topically cohesive. This is not exactly easy to do throughout the span of sixteen tracks. However, the tracks fit together in such a way that they stand as different parts of a whole–making “Pray for Haiti” an artistic body of work rather than a pseudo-playlist of sorts.
Some stand out tracks from the project include the laid-back “Stellar Ray Theory”, the brief but heavenly “Makrel Jaxon”, and the near perfect “Folie Á Deux”. This project really made me a fan of Mach-Hommy and I cannot wait to hear what he comes out with next.