From the production and sound engineering to the lyricism and flow, Marv Mack’s Golden Band-Aids is everything right with the current Philly rap game.
Perhaps the greatest thing about this debut album is its ability to take both the seriousness of Marv Mack’s expressed hardships and balance them smartly with his playful delivery and voracious style. Match that with the intergalactic trap-like beats and buzzing electronic backdrops and you have a uniquely interesting album.
The album begins with the titular song, “Band-Aids” which kicks off the 12-track vision. The song itself is a sort of masterpiece. It starts with a doom-filled thumping and the music builds itself up slowly from there. Mack cuts right to the chase and lays in deep with honest bars, setting the tone for the rest of the album. By the midway point, the song swirls and fades (rather seamlessly) into a dark trap beat with soulish vocals. In one song, he is able to sum up the vibe of his entire album.
The features on the album are local and fellow up-and-coming rappers, which most times can lead to tacked-on bars or a shoddy coherency. But in Golden Band-Aids, their presence and placement is precise and executed flawlessly. For example, on “Pity Party”, Anyee Wright slays her vocal piece with soaring soft vocals and vibes perfectly with Mack’s own impressive singing ability. All in all, the features uplift the often times bleak Marv Mack and add some hope to the album.
His largely jazz/soul inspired tracks like “Penny with a Hole”, “Own Crib”, and “Cat Eyes” really shine, and dig deep into Mack’s persona. His more trap-like songs, such as “Do it Again” and “Bills Payed” appropriately have less depth, but still help define the style and flair of Marv Mack and are by no means throwaways. Even so, the other parts of the album are hard to justly pin down—mostly due to the fact that they are so original.
This an exciting new reoccurrence that I have noticed with the newest Philly rappers. Artists like Grande Marshall, Miles Chancellor and Lil’ Dicky are so unique in each aspect of their form that they are almost unrelated to artists outside of Philly. Take, for example, the aforementioned three artists, they are joined by their masterful and exciting flow. Of course, Lil’ Dicky’s major theme is comedy, Miles’ has a more slower-paced and romanticized feel, and Grande Marshall is gritty and real. Marv Mack shares their flow but brings his own dose of creativity to the mix, inciting an unmatched hunger by vocal delivery and wavy, electronic production (with help from collaborator Gibb).
All that aside, the amazing tracks don’t end with “Band-Aids”. “Paula Deen”, “Cat Eyes”, and “Pity Party” (the closing track) are so powerful lyrically and musically, that they can’t possibly be ignored. Despite the fact that these songs are the finest, doesn’t mean the album feels uneven whatsoever.
The entire project is fine-tuned and carefully engineered to always excite and never bore. It is a free-flowing entity with clear, decisive sections, but is still completely unified in each and every way. Golden Band-Aids is a success from the ground up and should keep the Philly game strong for years to come—that is, as long as Marv Mack is still around.
Amalgam Digital gives Golden Band-Aids, a perfect score:
Listen to Golden Band-Aids on Spotify or follow the link below to YouTube: