Prior to the official release of the mixtape, we had the pleasure of attending the mixtape release party hosted by Rebecca Judd, representatives of the label (Island Records) and M Huncho himself.
We were handed masquerade masks on arrival, perhaps a nod to Huncho’s own focus on anonymity, and stepped into a space bathed in purple light. Throughout the evening, we could have our portraits sketched by artists as Huncho had done so on the artwork for this latest mixtape.
The singles released before the project itself: Birds and Ocho Cinco could arguably the ‘chart toppers’ of the mixtape as lyrically, they are definitely memorable and give listeners a preview of what the artist is capable of.
Immediately, the project is artistic and thoughtful in its conception as it’s clear the listener’s experience has been taken into consideration. The title ‘Utopia’ is said to encapsulate M Huncho’s attempt to recreate his ‘perfect world’ in this project and allow us to see inside. Is allowing us to temporarily have access to his ideal world a tradeoff for his anonymity?
Huncho says that there is a story behind every track, something that was shared both on social media and at his release party. This anecdotal and personal element makes for more conscious listening, solidifying M Huncho’s place as an artist versus someone who ‘just makes music’.
An important factor when looking at a project like this is whether the artist displays ‘their range’ (not just in a vocal sense) and if there are tracks that stray from their typical sound, as well as the execution. M Huncho is already considered to be an artist that makes the type of music that doesn’t necessarily follow what is popular and that can’t be put into a single box. However, originality does not make an artist incapable of becoming predictable.
Slower tracks like ‘Broken Bottles ft. Sharna Bass’ focus on confronting harsh realities and end with the soft and soulful vocals of Bass herself, diversifying the sound that we hear from Huncho throughout the tracklist.
On the other hand, we have tracks like ‘Tranquility’, ‘Survive’ and ‘That Ain’t It’ that tend to align more M Huncho’s previous signature sound of hazy, trap-inspired beats. Of the 14 tracks, 4 of them include features (Sharna Bass, Park Hill, Nafe Smallz and Yxng Bane), leaving listeners with plenty of tracks to take in the artist’s progression.
My personal favourites: ‘Repeating’ and ‘Check Out’. Both tracks are quite different and personally, stood out to me when listening especially when I paid more attention to the transitions and noticed how Huncho could rap at the same speed even when the tempo of the beat picked up significantly.
This is a strong project and a body of work like this leaves us anticipating more, maybe even an album. Along with the artist himself, acknowledgement of the producers (Quincy, Jay Youngs, Earl On The Beat, Rawbone, Epikh, Young Chencs, San Andreaz, Cor Mill, G8FREQ and Orwot Productions) is essential as their creativity and expertise were present throughout the projects.
When asked “How would you describe your music/sound in three words?”, M Huncho responded “Real authentic music”.
MM rating: 9 out of 10
Stream the mixtape below and let us know your thoughts!