Review: Jay Mayne, S/T

Airy, cohesive and honest, Mayne’s latest is more Green Ova than OVO

A tip for all my weed-smokers: never soak your blunt wraps. Things burn better when they're not weighed down. Same goes for your blunt raps and Dartmouth rapper and WESC activist Jay Mayne wants to catch fire with his latest self-titled 15-track record that leaves his heavy 2014 ECMA-nominated project, F*kit, in the ashes. This is an airier, more cohesive and much more honest collection of cloud rap, start to finish. "It all started with a Point 5," Mayne opens, and the smoke clears to reveal he's replaced conventional rap game bravado with verses that seek to understand his vices without glorifying them. We've heard about Mayne's weed use on 2013's "My Addiction," but sonically and thematically, this whole album heightens the struggle between desire and reality: "Smoke and skate and make music, / I hope somebody notices." Every track features soul-styled, golden-era, west-coast beats that feel more Green Ova than anything OVO, which is an important distinction since Mayne is still one of the region's most underground hip-hop artists. In a turn away from the mainstream, he's crafted something much more authentic and also endlessly chill. "No Flaws" reveals a new kind of sensitivity towards women and "Supposed To" is endearingly optimistic: "Shoutout to people who chase dreams to get by." Shoutout to Birdman, too. Like Mayne's rolling papers, this album is raw.

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