Named after the controversial yet award winning book of children’s poetry (and recreating the cover artwork in a similar way), Marvalyss has paired with Alcapella to deliver a unique, honest and brilliant album that needs to be in the Album of the Year conversations for 2020.

The entire feeling of this album is refreshing. Alcapella carefully crafts and soundtrack that encapsulates the story-telling nature of Marvalyss to perfection, blending piano, horns, scratches and more into a sonic tapestry that would stand alone as a complete body of work. However, when you add the introspective, thought-provoking and clever lyrical ability of Marv – it really is a flawless victory. Albums of this nature can tend to fall into a ‘spoken word’ vibe, but that’s not the case here. This is real hip hop – big lyrics over full production – and it’s bringing those hood tales back to the forefront.

Speaking of brilliant pairings, not only do we get Marv and Al in their zones, we also get some features that really highlight and add to the album. ‘Fly Talk‘ features Recognize Ali and King Magnetic, while ‘Neighbourhood Bullies‘ showcases A-F-R-O and his intricate flow. ‘Midnight Marauder‘ is a delightful journey of homage to A Tribe Called Quest, while ‘Til The Sun Come Up‘ showcases Marv’s ability to craft and deliver a killer hook while Ralph Bryant and Suave-Ski spit bars.

Overall, this is a brilliant album. It took me a while to get the review done, because even after a dozen listens I was getting more out of it, and it’s an album that you can just play and sit with. Underrated, but certainly not undervalued, this is an incredible release and one that you should cop immediately.

Bangers: Fly Talk, Three Stories, Midnight Marauder, Where the Sidewalk Ends.

Score: 9 / 10. I told you this was worthy of being an AOTY contender and my score reflects this. I still gravitate back to this joint and can play it in full each and every time because it’s a complete body of work. Marv and Al CRUSHED this one.

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About The Author

By Brutus Maximus

Founder of Raw Side Hip Hop. Been rocking with the hip hop culture for over 30 years. Love the creativity, authenticity of the art and the culture as a whole. Shout out to the real ones making and supporting true hip hip and the artists who make it!