Jul 20, 2020

Album Review: Soon Enough - @____Malc (words by @RamseySaidWHAT)

2020 has been an insane year for all of us. Let's be frank, we're dodging utter death at the hands of an incurable illness that has us at a global standstill. Malc is coming off a huge 2019 and an even bigger first quarter of 2020. It's amazing how the 94 Til camp is keeping the momentum up with this project, Soon Enough. After the 94 Til Showcase and Feels Like R&B Too, I had it in my mind that there was no way Malc wouldn't touch a WTM stage this year. The Bayonne emcee's star power is undeniable and everyone is noticing. To this point, I've only taken deep dives into his shorter extended plays. How will he fare on a full-on album? Let's get to it.

The project begins with an unlikely voice. Not the voice of Malc or anyone featured but an even more familiar voice in Dave East who provides a drop for the Hudson county upstart. Track two, So Much, of serves as the real introduction to Soon Enough. The production was magnificent. A few chord progressions start of the track with the addition of bars from Malc then a delayed kick-snare percussion. As every instrument comes into play it widens the pallet that is the space between your ears.

"F*ck a hook just gonna let this sh*t loop."

I love rap songs where it's no hook. It gives artists space to vent or speak to us. Time and time again I rave about Malc's taste in music when it comes to his production and sample choices. We'll dive into that more later. Kärma background vocals finish the sonic layering. She's the last voice we heard on the last track and is the first voice we hear on track three, Mercedes Ambitions. Since I got the early scoop I listened to this album before the tracklist was announced. Verse two really surprised me. I had to double-take because I thought in addition to the drop, he got a verse from Dave East. I was pleasantly surprised to see it was with Malc's frequent collaborator in Twice. Twice has a real husky voice perfect for rap. After catching him at the 94 Til showcase pre quarantine I left the venue impressed with his performance and intrigued to see what he has next.

Y.O.S. is definitely Malc's best track to date. I think public perception would agree. Even after its appearance on his last EP, No Hesitation II, it's only right it serves as a lead single to Soon Enough. This might be a perfect record. I like to follow the family trees of music and this one is quite the journey. Y.O.S. flips Dear Summer by Memphis Bleek and HOV which samples, Morning Sunrise by Weldon Irvine. Production aside, Malc really feeds this song with BARS! "Ambition, I'm just tryna live and do more than survive."

A Song For You provides more dope samples. This beat flips Dej Loaf's claim to fame, Try Me. Malc really shows off his storytelling abilities with a tale of a friend who gets caught up with a gun charge post-graduation. I'll let you listen for yourself without spoiling the track. The next track, In the Moment, is one of those records you wish was a whole song. I have a playlist of interludes and intros we wish were whole songs. This one is easily going to join The Girl with the Tattoo by Miguel and Feelin Me, Feelin U by Alicia Keys. After another Dave East cosign, Malc laces this Snoh flip.

I want to fast forward to Let Up. This record is an interpolation of Tupac's keep your head up. This version of Pac would be an obvious influence. He said he'd spark the brain that'd change the world after all right? Darryl J really puts his thing down trading harmonies with Kärma throughout. Their vocal chemistry is superb. If you're a sports fan you'll catch some subtle mentions in Malc's music from time to time. There was a bar in track nine, Views, I enjoyed. He compares his team to 92's UNLV basketball squad. Larry Johnson, Stacey Agumon, Greg Anthony? It took Grant Hill, Christian Laettner, and Bobby Hurley's Duke squad to take them down. If you don't recognize the names do your homework after listening to this project.

We finally get to the end with More to It. I always pay close attention to the outros of rap albums. It's the last opportunity to get your point across. The grind and chasing success is an ongoing theme in a lot of Malc's music. You can say the same with this project. The last three tracks are a testament to that. Some gems in bars about how his 9 to 5 feeds his passion. LLC twitter would appreciate that. All jokes aside, as the record fades out he talks about something he learned from his late father.

This album sounds like Malc talking to a younger version of himself. It's inspiring in a way I think 14-year-old Jonathan hoopin' at the Boys and Girls Club would be driven by. If Malc wasn't as good as an entertainer as he is, one would complain he's preachy. To be in the healthy medium of both without compromising yourself on a production end is amazing. In my opinion, that's the true measure of an artist. It's one thing to be versatile, it's another to be out of character. Malc is the former.

I wouldn't change a thing about this album. Malc's greatest strength is the same as his sole weakness, his superior Breath Control. He's such a good linguist that he staccatos his syllables so you can really hear what he's saying. It's the sign of a great speaker. Unlike rappers, vocalists would sometimes scoop or slur two words together for sake of music. Nothing to complain about because that's what you bring singing features like Kärma and Darryl J for. Malc is an artist whose music is good enough I'd really enjoy a performance of B Side records with a live band. The highs are really high and there aren't any lows. I think this is his best culmination of music to date. You make the decision by listening below. I need you 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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