Mach-Hommy’s rise to greatness over the past few years has been nothing short of inspiring and fascinating. The enigmatic Newark via Haiti lyricist has, through his incredible penmanship and ear for beats, created some of the most era-defining projects in quite a long time. 2017’s Fete Des Morts AKA Dia De Los Muertos was my first introduction to these fine artists, and have subsequently dived into his Dump Gawd projects and other early stuff. This year, he’s already released one incredible body of work in Pray For Haiti, and has now released what feels like a spiritual follow-up, titled Balens Cho, translated from Haitian Kreyol to ‘Hot Candles’. 13 tracks and only 24 minutes in length, the album is a perfect length, with incredible raps and beautiful, soul-laced beats from Ras G, Nicholas Craven, Conductor Williams, Fortes, Messiah Musik, and Sam Gendel.
From the grand horns on the anthemic and triumphant “Labou”, Mach-Hommy just sounds so in his own, comfortable with how his legacy is being painted in real-time. It’s what makes his music feel so grandiose. The soul sample on “Separation of the Sheep and the Goats” is crazy, while the heavy, dirty Ras G-produced “Magnum Band Remix” is one of the craziest, hard-hitting beats I’ve heard all year. Long live Ras. The gorgeous, piano-led “Wooden Nickels” is a profund and introspective piece of poetry, in which he reflects on some of the wisdom passed to him from his parents, as he also talks about his darker days, opening up candidly about his mental health. It’s a truly mesmeric moment on the album that really acts as the magnum opus. My favourite moment on the album however, comes from the closing track “Self Luh”. The Conductor Williams-produced track is incredible, with this groovy, soulful sample that is complemented by gorgeous guitar-led melodies as well as Mach-Hommy’s effortless flow and poetry throughout. It’s a truly spellbinding moment on the album. It’s truly one of my favourite Mach-Hommy songs ever, there’s this groovy, soulful mystique to it, perfectly balanced by Mach’s poignant and incredibly dense rhymes. He’s a true superstar in his own right, and this track, as well as this album as a whole, just proves his greatness again.
Balens Cho (Hot Candles) is Mach-Hommy at his most focused. It’s a musical tour-de-force, meandering between soulful chops, anthemic live percussion and incredible poetry in general. There’s also something about the sequencing of this album that makes each moment, each transition, each new groove so perfectly placed. It’s one of his most focused, introspective and soulful projects to date. Go support!