MAVI – “Laughing So Hard It Hurts” review

This is the sophomore full-length album from Charlotte up-&-comer MAVI. Emerging in the underground off his full-length debut Let the Sun Talk a day before his 20th birthday, he would go on to land a verse on “El Toro Combo Meal” off of Earl Sweatshirt’s last EP Feet of Clay a month later as well as preluding Laughing So Hard It Hurts a year & a half ago at this point in the form of a debut EP of his own End of the Earth. But after entering his Jordan Year last week, MAVI’s celebrating by dropping the long-awaited follow-up to Let the Sun Talk.

High John” is a stripped back opener with MAVI praying they still make love in his size whereas “Spoiled Brat” takes a more cloudier route boasting how much of an original he is. “Baking Soda” has a more conscious approach lyrically with some glitch hop influences to the instrumental just before “Doves” blends jazz rap & neo-soul together to vulnerably admit to the world that those wings of his hurt.

Meanwhile on “Quiet on Set”, we have MAVI confessing that sometimes he feels like the director sometimes & the actor most times over some hi-hats & a calming backdrop prior to the somber yet delicately produced “3 Left Feet” talking about wishing that things didn’t have to end the way they did with an ex. “My Good Ghosts” dives into soulful turf explaining how “it’s getting empty searching the living when needing a friend”, but then “Reason!” weaves some pianos into the fold thanks to ovrkast. talking about how really they just fiending.

“Hemlock” has a more melodic yet acoustic tone to it calling this his sacrifice while “Having My Way” is a cloudy trap banger of course talking about having it his way with this shit. “Known Unknowns” returns to the boom bap calling out someone who was mean to him because she thought he was cute prior to the groovy “Trip” talking about a relationship that’s just is what it is.

Continuing from there, the crooning loop throughout “Opportunity Kids” is a nice touch as MAVI asking why this person left him alone & that they could’ve got the end of time together while the song “The Inconvenient Truth” tries to see what others have been on with the beat having a more lo-fi flare to it. The penultimate track “Chinese Finger Trap” brings the chords back in to address those who say he should be feeling honored to race & “Last Laugh” is a lush boom bap closer talking about getting just that in the end.

Let the Sun Talk showed quite a bit of potential in MAVI & End of the Earth was a short look at the growth within him at that time, but Laughing So Hard It Hurts elaborates on that pretty well in my personal opinion. The production is a refinement of the abstract yet jazzy/boom bap sounds that helped him blow in the underground to begin with by incorporating more elements of neo-soul this time around as his pen-game continues to elevate.

Score: 4/5

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