Socializing in a dimly lit room at the Fader office with an upside down Lacoste headband, light grey sweatpants, and a pair of lime green huarache 2k4s is Philadelphia’s Grandemarshall. Demanding the party’s attention, Grande introduces and breaks down the songs for his new project, Mugga Man. Grande’s diverse beat selections and illustrious rap skills illustrate how much his song structure and production skills have evolved.
The album starts off unhurried and relaxed with the title track, “Mugga Man.” Grande displays classic rapper bravado and illuminates his swagger with lines like “it’s the sweatpants, headbands, air ones;” matching his aesthetic with the comfortable and laid back feel of the record.
Never confined to limitations of expression, Grande’s stream-of-consciousness storytelling is vivid. He somberly paints pictures of the glowing embers of blunt tips, surreptitious females, and garden-variety street dreams over a sedated soundscape for “Boathouse,” which features constant co-defendant Assad. Marshall keeps it moving with a smooth flow, hypnotic synths, and 808s on the tranquilizing “Tastycake” (a personal favorite).
“Paper Touching” coaches listeners on how to boss up, with lines like “come down on dinner plates, Grande do the dishes” and “this young pulla keeps his pockets full, you don’t ride around to this, you get driven to it.” The tempo starts to pick up on the trap-inspired party cut “PMS”–a certified club banger.
During the middle of the listening sesh, Grande stops to explain his personal favorite, “Same Song.” Kicking it off with “fuck a regret nigga I don’t even think in retrospect.” The album returns to its mellow origins with “Weed, Water, and omen” as he denounces Molly use and his satisfaction with just the trio.
The young Philly boy crosses Meek Mill’s harsh street life with Currency’s natural knack for pot-smoking and riding-around-in -Chevy-box-Caprice anthems. Though the album is an evolved step-up from his previous work, it could have shed a few pounds by way of cutting the lengthy track listing down. And at times, the subject matter feels a wee bit repetitive, but illustrates the cyclical nature of life in the neighborhood he’s from. Nevertheless, the beats are dope, the rhymes are real and the transitioning is smooth. Mugga Man is worth the listen. Grande shows out-of-towners the different spectrums that shine over in the city of brotherly love.