Over the last few years, Mach-Hommy’s allure and mystique as an artist has transcended hip-hop. He’s had lunch with Jay-Z and has Drake as a fan. His fanbase has definitely grown over the years, but this has not compromised his artistry in the slightest. If anything, he’s used the increasing exposure to create greatness. His newest body of work, Pray For Haiti, is simply put one of his most complete releases to date, and one of my favourite albums of the year so far. And of course this is partly due to Westside Gunn’s deep involvement with the project. After a falling out between the Griselda crew and Mach-Hommy, both artists came together to create history, and it’s an album that will get spoken about in years to come.
From the get-go, the album starts with a bang. A horn-loop and bass-heavy drums dominate the beat on the Denny Laflare opening cut “The 26th Letter”, with Mach flowing effortlessly and rhyming about his own greatness – “Mach-Hommy is an icon, end quote / This gon’ be year I get my python trench coat” he proclaims. What makes Mach-Hommy such a captivating and almost intimidating writer is his unique vocal tone and menacing delivery. This only continues throughout the 16-tracks on this album. The Conductor Williams-produced “Folie Á Deux” features these looped piano keys, characteristic of a lot of Griselda releases, and stellar features from Westside Gunn and Keisha Plum. Speaking of features, everyone does their thing on this album. Shoutout to fellow Haitian Melanie Charles, someone I have been a fan of for a few years now, who makes an uncredited appearance on “Kriminel” and “Au Revoir”, one of the more reflective moments on the album. The former track is a Nicholas Craven classic, as Mach spits in creole and floats on this colourful and soulful instrumental, while the latter, DJ Green Lantern-produced track is a reflective, emotive one. His nonchalantly raps about his greatness and achievements, while paying tribute to the family and friends around him that have been around for his journey. The Messiah Musik-produced “Magnum Band” is another highlight on the album, partially due to the stellar Tha God Fahim feature, but also Mach’s menacing and intricate verse throughout this rumbling track. The Camoflauge Monk-produced “Murder Czn” has one of my favourite hooks on the entire project, with Mach singing his heart out on this shit, and ever so often I have this temptation to sing “It’s Murder Season Again!” even when I’m not listening to the album. There are quite a lot of intricacies within his raps and references to his Haitian heritage and the difficult history that has shaped the important Caribbean nation since its independence in 1804. There are so many gems to discover throughout the album in relation to Haitian culture, and Mach-Hommy does an amazing job celebrating that on this album. In terms of my favourite records on this album however, “The Stellar Ray Theory” ranks high for me personally. The Conductor Williams-produced track personifies the sun, rain and other earthly occurrences with human traits an characteristics that upon first listen, blew me away. And the way that track flows into the Cee Gee-produced “Marie” is exceptional. “Ten Boxes – Sin Eater” closes the album out with fiery verses from Mach and a clunky beat from Denny Laflare, who was a revelation to me on this project. There’s obviously still a lot to digest on this album, from the engaging pop culture references throughout the project, to the more intricate poetry that is seeped in historical messaging and self-aggrandizing moments, all painted on a dynamic and eclectic sonic canvas. It’s quite a memorable listen, and one of the very best projects of the year so far.
Mach-Hommy will go down as one of the greats. From the allure and mystique surrounding his character, to the extortionate pricing of some of his albums, he’s undoubtedly one of the most talked about emcees in recent years, and the quality of his work reflects that. Pray For Haiti is Mach-Hommy’s most complete album to date, a poetic tour-de-force that has the world paying attention. I can’t wait to hear what is coming next.