Last Friday, underground king Mach-Hommy released his eighteenth studio album, Pray For Hati. With this being his first release under the Griselda Records imprint since 2016s HBO, the anticipation of Mach reuniting with hip hop’s hottest crew has raised expectations to an all-time high. With executive production from the one and only Westside Gunn, will this revered MC be able to add another gem to his evergrowing discography?
Kicking things off, Mach comes in firing on “The 26th Letter” with some braggadocious wordplay that’s strung together through his signature transcendently raspy vocals. Over a minimal instrumental that consists of only a low-pitched drum rhythm and a distorted horn refrain, the Dump Gawd leader sets the perfect tone for what’s to come through these following fifteen tracks. While “No Blood No Sweet” feels pretty similar in pace and execution, “Folie Á Delux” adds some spice with a prolific opening verse from Westside himself and an even better showing from Hommy as Wes’s presence brings the best of him in every facet. “Makrel Jaxon” keeps this flame lit with its abstract sample, floatingly vibrant lyricism, and angelic instrumental closeout.
“The Stellar Ray Theory” was a definite standout, as behind a bittersweet instrumental from in-house collaborator Conductor Williams, Mach has one of his most impressive lyrical showings on the entire project. From his hook, which focuses on spiritual emptiness, to the punchline-infused verses that diss the competition while also unrevealing the layers within the New Jersey MC’s mind, we get a moment of sheer greatness. “Marie” is another top-notch track with its jazzy pallet and intense songwriting display, which questions what higher power controls the world. From here, the musical quality continues to up itself through moments like the soul sampled “Kriminel” and “Pen Rale” and the gloomy Westside Gunn collaborations in “Murder Czn” and “Rami”.
Between those dark collaborations with Griselda’s artistic leader, “Magnum Band” makes for one of the grimier songs on the entire project with its chilling piano melody, standard boom-bap drums, and solid feature from Dump Gawd crew member Tha God Fahim. Here, things get too out of pocket as Mach-Hommy makes a reference to Pro Era prodigy Capital Steez’s suicide in 2012 with a line where he mentions his name and then exerts, “I aint gonna be the one flying off of buidilings,” which is distastefully alluding to the way the legend died. Does this ruin the entire experience? No, but it certainly does damper the mood and hurt the tone of the otherwise solid material being presented to us.
Entering the final leg, the “Kreyol” delivers some spoken word about lingual roots in Hati, but just like the “Leta Yo” skit from earlier, it does virtually nothing in advancing the album’s ideas. “Au Revoir” serves as one of the more dynamic moments on the project with its dramatic instrumental, which feels pretty expensive and mainstream-friendly compared to the inaccessible tracks preluding this. Here, Mach and guest Melanie Charles sing their hearts out for two minutes straight, and on the back end, Hommy commences his verse where he rubs off a darker presence than usual and matches this with bars about his life as a star and why he strives to keep such a low profile. Moving away towards this “Blockchain” serves as another tone settler with its standard beat and lyrics, but there couldn’t have been a better outro than “Ten Boxes – Sin Eater”. Mach demolishes the microphone as he dabbles on the line of gangsta and conscious rap for an anthem that excretes both confidence and fear.
Walking away from Pray For Hati and Griselda’s and hot streak has only continued. Brining Mach back into the camp added a presence that’s certainly been missed, and the chemistry he has with producers like Conductor, and MCs like Westside Gunn keeps that typical Griselda flare embedded all over this project. Do I think this is top-tier Griselda work or even top-tier Mach-Hommy work? Definitely not, but this is a good album and one of the better hip-hop releases of 2021.
- Mach-Hommy delivers another solid lyrical and vocal showing
- Mach works very well with the modern Griselda flare
- One of the best produced Griselda records in the past few years
- The focus on Hati wasn’t executed properly and felt meaningless beyond the name
- Mach performed solid, but didn’t do anything out of the ordinary
Written By: Mr. Fantastic