let the sun talk introduced the then 20-year-old poetic prodigy MAVI to the world of music. It was one of the highlights of that year, showcasing his talents as an emcee, taking from his experiences as a Black man in the States and painting pictures of trauma, heartbreak, depression and aspirations for the future. END OF THE EARTH explored these themes further with a vulnerability that is pure and relatable. 3 years since the release of his debut album, MAVI is back with his sophomore album, Laughing So Hard, It Hurts. With a slightly more accessible but equally as captivating sound, MAVI continues telling his story with ease and through the lense of the Black experience. His ability to flow effortlessly over this colourful and hypnotic production is inspiring and helps paints a picture of his own state of mind poignantly.
It’s his most complete album to date. The tracks on the album sound polished, and with production from Wulf Morpheus, Monte Booker & Amarah, Dylvinci, Angelo LeRoi, Jacob Rochester, Coffee Black, Ovrkast, Kevin Long, Reggie Gordon and Mick Ammirati, it makes for a dynamic and interesting listen. It’s such textured, layered body of work that is soothing and soulful, from start to finish. The opener “High John” sets the tone for the album, with a dard-hitting yet soulful beat that paints a soothing soundscape for MAVI to speak on his growth over the last few years and his maturity as a human being, putting his life and experiences in perspective. His flows and rhymes have definitely improved – you can hear it throughout the album, with refined lyricism that showcases his talents and abilities as an emcee. Tracks like “Doves”, “3 Left Feet” and “Having My Way” speak to his mental health in relation to love and relationships, as well as him losing patience with people holding him back from living his life to his full potential. Tracks like “Trip” featuring Aminidi have an infectious groove, with soothing vocals and short but punchy verses about heartbreak that hit hard. My favourite beats on the album include the Ovrkast-produced “Reason!” and the Angelo Leroi and Kevin Long – produced “Opportunity Kids”, which to me most resemble the experimental, varied production from his debut album.
There’s so much to admire about Laughing So Hard, It Hurts. His penmanship has improved, and with this project, and on a slightly more accessible sound, MAVI has matured artistically. It’s an introspective, reflective body of work that is soulful and mesmerising.
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