Mastermind has consistently delivered some of the most inspired and interesting hip hop music in the scene today. On April 23rd, he dropped an album that confirmed this reputation yet again. “A.D.D. (Artistically Day Dreaming)” is packed with clever, attention-grabbing lyrics, quirky, fitting beats, and truly engaging story-telling. Here are three of my favorite tracks off of this stellar album. You can download the album for $7 at Bandcamp if, like me, you realize after listening to a couple of songs that it is totally worth it. If you find yourself a bit too strapped for cash to spend it on this, that’s ok, he understands and also provides it for free on SoundCloud. But don’t just take my word for it. Listen!
“Overdraft <$" is both amusing and real. Backed by a deep syncopated rhythm and electronic reverberating chords, Mastermind Einstein holds forth on a subject familiar to just many people coming of age. Budgeting is hard. He has lots of fun telling banks exactly where to put their bills while at the same time illuminating a vivid vignette of debt, student and other. At the same time he captures the difficulty in leaving college to pursue something different, the conflict of personal pride and societal disapproval. I found quite a bit of it resonating with me, both from my experience and those of my friends. Check it out!
At first listen, you might think this is the story of his younger cousin (I did), but it’s actually a song for a younger Mastermind Einstein. He paints a picture of slightly isolated child, loving the simple things in life, but set apart by being poorer than most. Yet again, MME’s lyrics tell an incredibly clear tale, this time of youth, backed by a soft, simple, keyboard instrumental. With only a few broad strokes of detail, a love of dinosaurs, pokémon, and the gameboy start-up tone, he creates a full image of his youth. He only drops the beat a minute in when he fast forwards to the present and asks for approval from his past self. It’s incredibly poignant and well made. Give it a listen.
And for a change of pace, here’s a drastically different sound from “Reverie”. With the aid of some guest artists, this song takes the sound that Mastermind Einstein likes in his beats and expands it into a beautiful electronic track. The eerie, practically fae harmonies that he likes are showcased and even
autotuned at points distorted with a vocoder at points. The syncopated rhythm is there, but the song also features a section that wouldn’t be out of place in an electro track, with a unified wob-like bass synth and vocal “ah”s. It’s a lovely way to sum up and begin to close the album. Enjoy.