Review: MaLLy & the Sundance Kid – The Last Great… (2012)

In a scene that’s seeing debates over quality of music vs. over-saturation, few Twin Cities rappers have the patience and poise that MaLLy has. Despite rapping for years, the fellow is precise in his path, absorbing what happens around him and taking his time releasing track after track with no proper album-until this year. What’s impressive is that this restraint, observational outlook has caused him to break into top 10 of the best rappers of Minnesota according to City Pages. The Last Great… dropped with production by The Sundance Kid, and with it marks the official new chapter in young, vibrant Midwest hip-hop.

“Taking Off” is just the launching pad that leaves past productions behind, recalling through production “Lights Off” and “7 Days,” before “Swallowing the Reign” lands in hard pursuit. “Why you claiming king and outta shape like Elvis / With a one-floor condo that’s like a Motel 6 / Money still talks and I value its opinions / These lazy motherfuckers love to start at the ending.” It’s throughout The Last Great… that you’re confronted with undeniably talented lyricism. MaLLy isn’t waiting nor wasting any time, especially as he declares on “Shine,” as he’s keen on the royalty lexicon throughout the album. Some may call it pretentious, however the man behind the music is far from that from interview to interview. The more you learn, the more the rhymes become that benevolent king that’s more Ned Stark via his real-life volunteerism than casting wildfire and laying waste to merely boast for boasting’s sake.

Throughout The Last Great…, MaLLy comes at you with a syllabic bite (“My Lord”) you’d find among the hardest raised rappers, but Malick is far more relatable and down-to-earth. Refreshing, empowering. “They swear they know / But they never ask / I don’t even listen / I just let it pass / Really wanna be myself / I’m taking off that mask / Stop fucking with me / I’m built to last!” One of the album’s highlights comes by way of “Winner,” which also serves as a transition of styles. You’ve got the aforementioned lyrical thumps of his flow over rounded rolling swag. The Sundance Kid delivered unexpected, top notch beats that even eclipse “Stomp Through” from the Bandcamp singles era.

What MaLLy delivers, which is impressive, is a solid balanced debut. “The Renaissance 2.0 (feat. Claire de Lune)” and “Good One (feat. K. Raydio)” are slanted towards the pop side with hooks from two female vocalists. It’s the sort of musical maturity you’d catch two or three albums into someone’s career, and here you have it on an unsigned independent debut. Once again, The Sundance Kid is surprisingly the unsung hero when the album starts to dig deep into those headphone crevasses. The synth throb of “Good One” drives you into a zone before it drops into pure silence, letting MaLLy profess before K. Raydio’s soothing, beautiful accompaniment takes in. It’s pure simple.

So what you got now is easily one of the more impressive hip-hop debuts you’ll catch this year. A pure debut in the time of mixtapes after mixtapes crushing the blogs. MaLLy did right in holding back these prime cuts until he was ready. He wraps it up best, “Close your eyes, step inside, and keep your hands high.”

MaLLy
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Rating: 8.3/10

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