Album Review: Marnz Malone Realises His Potential On ‘Tina’s Boy’

Joe Simpson

By Joe Simpson

Joe Simpson

9 Feb 2024

When Marnz Malone was imprisoned back in 2021 for possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, few would have expected the Birmingham rapper to make any kind of indent in the UK Rap scene during his eleven year stretch inside. However, his 2023 project ‘Maktub’ – especially tracks such as ‘Cold Hearted World’ and ‘Ball 4 U’ – are demonstrative of Double M’s talent with the pen and ear for production.

Still incarcerated, the rapper has not let his circumstances dictate his story. His latest project, ‘Tina’s Son’, showcases one of the most exciting talents to have been unearthed in recent years, making impactful music that will last longer than his sentence.

Spanning 14 songs, the project taps into a predominantly stripped back production style, using piano keys and vocal samples backed up by 808s to create instrumentals that complement Malone’s approach to rapping. The intro, ‘Cold Hearted World 2’, sets the tone for the rest of the tape, giving the project a cohesion that shows this output has been well thought out as an actual body of work rather than a collection of individual tracks. There is however enough variation to keep the album exciting and fresh. M1OnTheBeat and X10 lend their expertise to ‘Napkin Deal’, while the outro , ‘Alchemy’, delivers a more uptempo climax to proceedings.

This all gives Malone the perfect springboard to display his ability as a lyricist. Throughout the project, the artist is not afraid to tap into his past that shaped him, but he manages to do this without glamourising his situation. At the end of the opener, Marnz states, “What the fuck sounds fun about what man’s rapping, Bro?”

Elsewhere, there are emotional, introspective moments on ‘No Sad Stories’ and ‘Medusa’s Eyes’. There is a refreshing honesty to Malone’s lyricism, as well as his innate ability to transport the listener back to his past thanks to his capacity for storytelling. 

While Malone carries the majority of the project by himself, there are a few features that help breathe new life into the album and offer a counterpoint to his laid back flow. Potter Payper, an artist who has perfected the ‘Real Rap’ sound that Marnz has tapped into, joins the artist on one of the standout songs, ‘Went To War’. Both rappers bring the best out of each other and it is testament to Double M’s ability that he can go toe to toe with one of UK Rap’s greatest.

Another highlight comes on ‘Forever Missing You’, featuring Montz and Bandokay. All three artists open their hearts and express the pain of losing someone close to them, creating a track that is greater than the sum of its parts.

‘Tina’s Son’ therefore is a project that propels this artist towards the very pinnacle of UK Rap. The release exhibits his excellent penmanship as well as a sound that is instantly recognisable that he has refined since his previous work. The features across the album also help to bring in an element of variety, while the project itself feels cohesive and complete. In spite of his incarceration, Marnz Malone has an incredibly bright future ahead if he can continue to focus on this craft.

Star Rating: 4/5