Mudflap Republic CEO Josh The Author, has proven himself to be a one-of-a-kind talent in every sense of the word. His 2021 release Mudgod left quite the impression on audiences due to its abstract instrumentals and Josh’s ability to come off both charming and introspective.
With the help of Swamp Thug, Josh has given us his newest creative venture M.O.N.
Just looking at the cover of this project, we can already see Josh’s wittiness blaring through. In addition to the humorous details like seeing the Cinnamon character from the Apple Jacks commercials holding a pear phone used in such shows as I Carly, we also see the parental advisory sign mixed into the Jamaican flag. As soon as you turn on the first track, “Montro,” you can see this detail was intentional as the records has a strong influence from styles such as Reggae.
The first full-length track on this project, “Montra,” shows this fusion either more as a sweet vocal sample is infused into a hard-hitting trap beat. From the way the two focal pieces of the instrumental clash to Josh’s hard-hitting rapping and Swamp Thug’s smooth hook, this cut is a large melting pot but manages to make something that’s both exciting and enticing.
“Sleepin” is a definite standout on the project with its tropical instrumental that will send you into another realm. When it comes to Josh The Author’s performance here, he pulls a complete 180 as he delivers a softly spoken lyrical exercise that flows so nicely over this beat. All in all, this track is a perfect way to settle the tone of its intense predecessor and buckle us in for the ride we are about to go through.
“JANGA!” quickly switches up the vibe on us again in a super abstract sounding cut that showcases featured artist YUNG OC OTAKU. YUNG’s verse begins the track, and between the unsettling instrumental and the lyricism, which relies a lot on shock value, he creates such an interesting musical exhibit. Closing out this track, Josh takes the reign where he delivers an amazing verse that continues to feature a series of unsettling bars, but they have a lot more substance to them. A lot of what he is saying here goes back to the idea of corruption, and through Josh’s creative wordplay, which is both technically proficient and shocking at times, he delivers one of his defining performances on this project here.
Featuring Duey Zay, “RASTAZ IN MADISON” is another track that wheres its influences on its sleeves. The production is really well done here, but the verse from Duey Zay does not work here to the best of its abilities due to the vocal distortion, which comes off more like bad mixing than an artistic choice. Josh The Author’s soft-spoken delivery is seen again here, and it definitely works along with the vocals from Swamp Thug. Josh’s storytelling shines through in this moment also as he paints a clear picture of various shards of memories from his past.
“Mama Africa” is another standout in the tracklist with its vibrant and upbeat soundscape. The hook here is well sung, and the way Swamp Thug’s opening portion of the cut flows into Josh’s verse is seamless, and it highlights the chemistry these two have. Josh has really developed throughout these beats and textures as a vocalist to this point, and the way he rides over this glorious production is a sentiment to his growing artistic arsenal.
Out of all the great moments on the tape, I think the emotional “FEED YO GANG” is the best. From the mellow piano-infused instrumental to Josh delivering a career-defining performance, everything the young MC is saying is so important. Josh pours his heart out in this cut as he reminisces on his past, fights his demons, and puts his raw thoughts out for us to view.
The bleak but glitchy sounding “NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN” continues to explore Josh’s inner thoughts along with featured artist metroworldpeace. Both MCs deliver pain-ridden verses that feel all the more powerful due to their relatively quiet vocal presences. In a moment like this, Josh’s emotional power and skill remind me of somebody along the likes of Earl Sweatshirt, which, when getting personal in your music, is one of the best complaints one can receive.
Despite the poorly sung hook, “Straightedge” is a fairly solid hook. Josh talks about the importance of sobriety in this cut, and hearing the pain in his voice when he gets to rapping on this song makes every word he says sink into your heart. While I wish we saw more of Josh rapping here and less of the annoying hook, this song is still vital to the record and an amazing display of Josh’s psyche.
“BEEF patties” brings us back to the more humorous side of Josh The Author, but overall the jokes here are hit or miss for me. While I think Josh excels when he fuses his comedic undertones into his rhymes, a lot of what Josh is saying here just falls flat for me compared to what we have seen him do in the past. Still, for every joke that sinks, there are some fantastic bars all over this song.
The “M.O.N.” interlude is the definition of a great interlude. Sonically this song is super healing, and it slows done the record so we can catch our breath. Josh’s lyrics here are great as he addresses super important themes and ideas regarding the racism that is embedded into the system of America and the corruption that goes on behind our backs.
Closing things out with a bang, “My Momma Killed the President” is a moment that displays the crazed humor of Josh, The Author, as he makes a gruesome but hilarious anthem referencing figures in American politics. The shock value of his lyrics here makes the track such a fun moment to listen to over and over again, and this is a perfect outro to the record as it will make you remember the one-of-a-kind talent that is Josh The Author.
All in all, M.O.N. is a fantastic addition to Josh The Author’s catalog. From the stylistic influences that give the record a one-of-a-kind sound to the performances that range from being super funny to emotionally profound, Josh The Author is the ultimate talent, and this record is bringing him one step closer to breaking out into a star. Going forward, I think if Josh, The Author continues to be original and balance his raw emotions with the signature charm in his music, he will be able to become someone who will be remembered for a long time.