Mar 14, 2018

Editorial Review: Making A Man - @MarcusAriah

Not going to waste time on a lengthy intro let's just get to it. We already know how Marcus Ariah's story starts with Black Man, Walk featuring Neiel Israel. I briefly explained how it starts with a monologue from the Newark emcee. This is only the beginning because he does it throughout and it sets the tone for many of the songs in this project. The Neiel Israel spoken word, When A Black Man Walks serves as a hook instead of music. Although this life as a black man is met with resistance this track is kind of inspiring to go on. I think I'll listen to this personally for the rest of my life and that's real.

Sunoco paints more of a picture of his immediate reality, the setting of this story in a way. If you aren't from Essex County or know nothing of it I think this track will clarify. No hook here either. I tell people all the time that rap songs without hooks are the best. It's all bars and they don't work to put a catchy tune in your head just to sell it. These songs tend to be the most personal. Listen to this until the end.

Track three is Calm Down. It's the first time we got a hook and even it's personal. The grand piano and kick snare production is surperb. It adds an 808 but just to accompany the kick and bassline. It's minimalist but by far my favorite produced track on Making A Man. Calm Down is where Marcus Ariah even takes on some singing into his own hands. He has a nice voice and sings better than most emcees do. The verses breaks down the relationship on why he works so hard for his mother, sister, and his girl. As someone who hasn't personally met Marcus yet, I think this song is a good introduction to his character.

It's not all deep stuff, the project is a fun listen. Sheisty comes next and for sure turns up. It's funny how you could take the a capella to Sheisty and put it on any other beat on this project and you'll think the subject matter is as essential to the full scheme. It is, but what's crazy is this beat is definitely for the function. It's too tough.

"Where we from it's a lot of cities with a lot of struggles. A lot of poverty, violence and we become a product. So whenever I go out to a nice neighborhood and leave a conversation saying 'stay safe' they look at me like I got four eyes. That's normal out here cuz we mean that sh*t. Anything can happen out here."

Be Safe Tho has one of the only two features on the project. Steel Sev joins Marcus with the message in the aforementioned narration. All I Ever Had follows up and reiterates the point. I think any kid from the hood could relate. Shoot I think any kid that's ever been broke can, that includes you college kids stretching a $20 for a month. Reload has the other feature on Making A Man. Battle Rap legend Shotgun Suge comes in with the assist. The Newark duo float on this beat. People are sometimes hesitant listening to battle spitters on actual music and I think it's time to dead that rhetoric. This is pregame music. Play this one in the whip or on some speakers. It's too good for headphones. I feel the same way about Famous two spins later.

The last stretch of this project is climactic. If you didn't think it could get even deeper he does. Musically it's so grandioso, but lyrically it's so immersed in personality. Big Man, Little Man is a message from father to son and vice versa. Although their relationship is strained Marcus explains how it's helped him grow. Perhaps he hadn't always been there for him and his family he's explaining how he's mature enough to understand his father's perspective. Ladies In My Life is the same concept but directed towards his mother, sister and lover. I could break it down further but I'd rather it be heard from Marcus himself. You really need to listen to this track. The title track is on the B-Side of Pioneers and I wish it were separate because of how dope it was. Either way must listen and a great introspective culmination of the album.

Although I haven't written about Marcus that much I can tell you this: After listening to Making A Man, Marcus Ariah can flat out make good music. He describes this project as a mix of bangers, vulnerability, soul, street, and good vibes. After listening I think that's spot on. The project takes us so in depth in his own personal life as well as entertains the various music listeners. What makes this project especially interesting is you get so much from it. Turn up kids and old surly purists can play a couple songs made just for them. This project sounds like a curated playlist on Apple and it's all from one artist. That's how well the transitions are. Between songs Marcus takes us on his personal journey through manhood by use of these monologues. I think it's a nice touch and adds character to the concept. I enjoy it so much so that I think he should take all of the monologues separately and drop it as an audiobook. I apologize if I gave you more work to do but WHEN it monetizes no sweat I don't need anything haha. If I have any qualm with the project it's that a couple of the songs are presented the same. It's not the same emotional depth in lyric but musically sometimes the song structure does the same thing. What I mean by this is some songs feature a verse, hook, and bridge that have the same melody. The cadence on Calm Down, Sheisty, and Famous are repetitive throughout. I need listeners to realize tackling an LP as an unsigned act is not easy. I have the utmost respect for an artist who can who can pull off listening to the same person's voice for over a half hour. Marcus Ariah does it and does with flair. Song structure comes effortlessly for Marcus. The highs outweigh the lows and there aren't many. Marcus's upside is crazy and his beat selection is even better. Making A Man is fire, no skips. Like I said earlier it's out everywhere. Just for you, I embedded it below. I need yall to feel this.

Jonathan C. Ramsey
Jonathan C. Ramsey

Multimedia Journalist, Founder and Chief Editor of WTM Host of A-Side B-Side Podcast and more. I like to talk about stuff and write it down. Sometimes to a microphone. Either way, I need you to feel this.

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