By Jason Buford for RollingStone
There have been great hip-hop albums since the Nineties, and that will continue on into infinity. But rarely do you find an album that makes you want to go back and decode every lyric. Especially in the past few decades, those sorts of releases have become increasingly rare. It isn’t that rap isn’t still great — it is — but genres evolve. Singalong tracks about feeling jilted by an ex-lover are what’s big. These days, songs that celebrate your soul in relation to your community and heritage don’t necessarily sell.
Enter last month’s Mach-Hommy album, Pray for Haiti. Simply put, it is the best rap album to drop since Young Thug’s Barter 6. Executive produced by Griselda Records captain Westside Gunn, it turns heads the way albums used to turn heads. There are lines that stay glued to your subconscious, and Mach’s cryptic cadence is reminiscent of Ghostface. But where Ghost was Richard Pryor, laughing at his own experiences in an attempt to bring some levity to darkness, Mach is a Haitian soldier.
He is insular, biting, and more cagey. Pray for Haiti is audacious, not because it’s trying to push the genre into different places, but because every bar is rap chemistry. We’re hearing a man who wants to hit us with details fit for a larger story arc in every stanza. On “Kriminel,” he recollects painful memories in the way that Nas would, but with less of an intention of teaching you. Mach has a way of painting a vivid picture of what he had to do in order to be who he is now. The production on the album features bass lines that buzz in your ears with drums that make you want to create beats yourself.Continue reading