Maez301 – “Hello, Goodbye.” review

Maez301 is a 28 year old rapper from Gaithersburg, Maryland that first got his start in 2017 with his debut mixtape Nowhere. The project eventually caught the attention of Ervin Pope & Jerome Taylor, both of whom helped Maez get a record contract with Strange Music the following year & dropped his eponymous full-length debut showing Strange fans who he is artistically a little bit after his 26th born day. The sophomore effort HASAAN took a more personal tone to it & now that he’s home from the Strange New World Tour, Maez is keeping EP behind the boards for his 3rd album.

The title track has some gospel qualities to it telling listeners to be ready when he goes whereas “Let Up” with Tech N9ne is a west coast-tinged banger talking about never slowing down. “First Place” goes into cloudy, trap territory striving for victory & “Black” has to be one of the best songs of his career thus far detailing issues that’re very much relevant today on top of a bluesy instrumental.

Meanwhile on “Frenemies”, we have King Iso joining Maez on top of an acoustic guitar as well as a flute & some snares addressing trust issues leading into “Olsen Twins” serving as a romantically lush trap banger. After the “Different” interlude, “Fallen” is a downtrodden cut cussing out those who wanna see him fail just before “Inspire Me” tells his lover how much she means to him & the beat kinda reminds me of DJ Mustard for whatever reason.

Jehry Robinson tags along for the ethereal “Strange Flows” talking about hoes, but then “Slow Down” keeps the cloud rap vibes going by trying to steal a girl fed up with fuckboys. “Girlfriend” is a smooth dedication to his new sweetheart whereas “Lot on My Plate” has a bit of a cavernous feel to it venting about people hating him because he did it his way.

“Nun 2 Me” is a more spacious cut saying it ain’t shit to him while the song “What a Life” follows it up with a high-spirited bop about how blessed he is. The penultimate track “Ecstasy” psychedelically encourages listeners to live in the moment & “No Limit” rounds it all off has this sparkling quality to the beat talking about taking things as high as possible.

If you liked how Maez introduced the world to who he is artistically & personally on the last 2 albums as much as I did, then I HIGHLY encourage you to check this new one out as soon as you can because he really outdoes himself this time. I always appreciate when one tries to expand themselves artistically & that’s EXACTLY what he does with EP on here successfully.

Score: 4/5

JPEGMAFIA – “EP” review

This is the 3rd EP from Baltimore emcee & producer JPEGMAFIA. Making his mark in 2016 with the release of his full-length debut Black Ben Carson, it wouldn’t be until the man’s next 2 albums Veteran at the beginning of 2018 & then All My Heroes are Cornballs last fall where he would earn respect across the board & reveal himself as one of the most creative minds in hip hop today. However after spending 2020 dropping a slew of singles, Peggy is compiling some of them together in the form of EP.

The opener “BALD!” gets on the battle bar tip over a cloudy instrumental whereas the next song “Covered in Money!” gets braggadocious over a glitch hop beat. The track “BODYGUARD!” is a full-blown alternative R&B cut about not wanting to go to war with his lover over a lusciously slow piano instrumental & then the song right after is a “BALD!” remix with a new Denzel Curry verse that I actually prefer more than the OG version.

The track “Cutie Pie!” compares his haters to Milli Vanilli over a boom bappy instrumental while “The Bends!” takes aim at Donald Trump over a sparse, quirky beat. The penultimate track “Rough 7” with Tommy Genesis sees the 2 over an instrumental that heavily samples Brandy’s “Never Say Never” & then the closer “living single” talks about this woman who’ll always be a part of him over an ethereal trap beat.

Pretty sure we’ve all heard these singles 1-by-1 but as an EP experience, it just makes them even better in my personal opinion. Peggy does a great job at continuing to show how versatile he can be & his production is still cutting edge. Really looking forward to hear where he takes things on his next album, hopefully in 2021.

Score: 4/5