Various Artists - Mandala (Mello Music Group presents) (LP)
Mandala is the fourth Mello Music Group compilation – previous compilations include Mental Liberation, Helpless Dreamer, and Self Sacrifice - featuring Oddisee, Apollo Brown, L'Orange, Quelle Chris, Murs, Milo, Georgia Anne Muldrow and more.
The album showcases the ever-evolving roster of top-tier producers and rappers on MMG, many of whom (e.g. Oddisee & Quelle Chris) fill both roles with equal dexterity. Additionally, it features several artists nearby MMG, a testament to their commitment to working with those who possess singular sonic and lyrical abilities.
Mandala is at once compact and comprehensive. There is not a minute wasted and not a miss in sight. It is diverse and yet somehow cohesive, tailor made to rock your car speakers and your brain stem. It is MMG's reminder that hip-hop is alive and well, and a reintroduction to a label that's tried never to forget what makes music compelling.
With a multitude of producers behind the boards, the soundscapes on Mandala cover the map and the album is all the better for it. Oddisee helms the opener and tracks throughout with a musicality like few in Hip-Hop today. L'Orange brings subtle, jazzy suites to the table, and Quelle Chris provides dusty samples looped over hard-hitting drums as well as anyone else. Each beat is far richer and more inventive, able to play on its own and provide the perfect complement to the raps at hand.
As far as the rhymes are concerned, the rappers on Mandala leave nothing to chance. The MCs on the comp are intelligent and self-aware, capable of the comic, tragic, and in-between at the sound of a snare. They have an old-school reverence for rhyme with a modern state of mind and modern problems. Come-up or comedown, shine or shadow, friend or foe – they are fearless in confronting all fears.
Above all, Mandala is a sign of the great and innovative music in the history of MMG.
Audible Doctor, Fredro Starr - No Design to This
Mr. Lif, L'Orange - The Lost Nova
Miz Korona, Quelle Chris, T. Calmese, Nick Speed - Supreme Codeine
Oddisee - Le Boulevard Montmarte
Oddisee - Invisible Walls
Murs, Apollo Brown - The Pain is Gone
L'Orange, Castle, Blueprint - Brick Walls & Blurry Faces
Quelle Chris - Going Swell
Milo, L'Orange - You Are Safe Now
Wise Intelligent, Has-Lo, Audible Doctor - The Last Real One
Oddisee - Nothing Has a Never
Audible Doctor - Space Age Love
Rapper Big Pooh, Stik Figa, Duke Westlake
Oddisee - Crazy High
Georgia Anne Muldrow, Duke Westlake - Lost Children
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