Midweek Mic Drop With Big Ups, Matt Muse

I’m certain there are those that are still getting over being in a never-ending July 4th cycle of laziness. Some of us are attempting to circumvent the post cycle. I usually take the opportunity to take a weeklong sojourn to some beach area filled with sun and calming ocean waters. Yeah, that’s what I recently did and it was well friggin’ worth it. No distractions from outside influences of people and petty annoyances, or even work-filled wonders of repetitious motion. So I return with a refreshed vigor as I set to repeat certain patterns. Is this leading somewhere? Of course it is!


Listening to Big Ups’ latest offering Two Parts Together, I feel like I’ve stepped into a minefield of sonic sculptures that have been time-warped from the late 90’s. Or is that early 2000s? No matter because I myself refuse to give up the ghost of post-rock past that’s still well steeped into 2018. This isn’t the band’s first go around as they’ve honed their sound with previous releases but here, the band’s efforts have come into bombastic fruition. Opening with the title track, I don’t think any other band can comparably come close to capturing the thrill of the ride with dueling guitars, shifting time signatures, and a rhythm section that would make even Damon Che blush. It certainly sets the town for what follows as “In The Shade” sputtering rhythm morphs into an oblivious noise fest at points, littered with feedback, but bounces back towards its original momentum. But it’s “Trying To Love” that’s hypnotically addictive, with male-female vocals volleying off one another as the instrumentation captivates throughout and shifts with a tribalistic rhythm…and then back again with a quickening crescendo of sound and screams. But that’s not to say Big Ups are singularly minded in what they do. “Tell Them” takes a different approach, letting the song ride out on a groove, with clear lyrical content seemingly urging the music to catch up with it. In a sense, it’s a banger! On the album, Big Ups isn’t afraid to just let the music do the talking as “Imaginary Dog Walker” has varying movements throughout it, a post-rock classical piece of sorts that seems to be on the brink of collapse, but then breathes new life into portions that almost sink into an abyss. You have to love the way it’s done. Two Parts Together is an album you’ll be glad you listened to, I know I am.


As far as E.P.’s go, I wasn’t sure what to make of the Chicago southside rapper. Creatively coming out of the same artistic unit as rappers Jamilla Woods, Noname, and Chance The Rapper, Matt Muse is a different beast altogether, and Nappy Talk is possibly testament to it. His musical patterns vary from those standard issued trap tracks his contemporaries are fond of using, literally mimicking one another. Instead, his beats are based more with an electronic fervor, generally leading Muse down a different path. But what the fuck does that mean? Ok, I’ll tell you. Digital bleeps open “Nappy N*gga Winnin’” before he speaks the names of “Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson…” who came in with their A-game and sees himself in the same way and his love of self is apparent. “Don’t Tweak” follows with more of the same but cats shouldn’t sleep on him and when he says he just “face-timed with Jesus/He said they might not believe in us/But don’t false bite don’t freeze up/Just go get your G’s up,” he’s obviously telling the haters and detractors not to tweak on him. Even when it’s not about him, it usually reverts back Muse. The slower paced darkness of “What You On” is clearly apparent but Mother Nature steals the show here with her guest feature. They share vocal duties but she spits venom here and when she says “These hand gestures are deadly weapons” it’s obvious. “NegroSaiyan (feat Femdot)” his aggressive side comes out showing its presence alongside Ferndot, but on “Shea Butter Baby (feat. Shawnee Dez)” and “Same Me (feat. The Boy Illinois)” Muse shows his dexterity and ability to move at a different pace. The Nappy Talk release seems to be setting a path for Muse that I’m interested to see where it goes. Some detractors I’m sure will be quick to dismiss his skill and abilities but Matt Muse has made a believer out of me.