Mavi is one of hip-hop’s most pensive, profound, and proficient voices.
The Charlotte native’s knack for dense interior rhyme, layered extended metaphors, and passionate, occasionally gasped delivery provide his music with a sense of sincerity. Coupled by an acute sense of introspection and observational awareness, Mavi’s music strays away from the shallow ruminations intermittently associated with lyrically driven MCs.
“SMH” places all of these aforementioned qualities on full display. Mavi’s flows are as tight as ever, leaving little room for non-rhyming words, but still maintaining substance.
His lyrics necessitate deep annotation, but broadly address his life as a youth and the consequences of maturation. These sentiments are expressed in a confident, yet periodically desperate tone, coalescing to form feelings of withdrawal and severance.
The track’s production is balanced, making use of a catchy, jazz-flavored sample loop for a majority of the track. The sample features a prominently flexible bassline, full of syncopated bass slides that provide a supplemental groove.
The track’s primary loop is sporadically met with a low pass filter, allowing Mavi’s vocals to shine in an isolated tandem with the bass line. Although subtle, brief instrumental changes like this help to maintain interest in the track, leaving room for tension-release on an otherwise loopy beat.
Ultimately, “SMH” sees Mavi continuing from where he led off on his remarkable album Let the Sun Talk.
His lyrics are palatably ambiguous, focused on communicating abstract emotion over a loose narrative structure, and the production’s simplicity accompanies Mavi perfectly, allowing for his uniquely expressive flow to take precedence.
Although akin to his previous efforts, “SMH” shows that few rappers can achieve the lyrical viscosity and tangible passion of Mavi, and any self-loving music connoisseur should hope for more music from him in the imminent future.