It’s been a good minute since these fingers had the urge to typed an album review, or my brain the desire to conceive on, but I was handed something that I feel deserves some attention. So the project that’s being reviewed today is the official debut album of beatmaker/producer Monexus. I won’t even front, when I heard the name I was pretty puzzled by the it. Not because it was unfamiliar or particularly peculiar, but rather because I had heard the name before. In fact I actually had an instrumental project by an artist of the same name on my laptop. It had been chilling there since late 2013 after a friend put me on to this producer I urgently needed to peep. After carelessly skimming through it for about a minute, I foolishly told myself I would circle back to it after the heat of my final exams had died down. Unfortunately I broke this small personal pledge to myself and carried on living my life without giving this potential gem a fighting chance. The project was called DbS7 Volume 5 The Throat and I negligently napped on it, consequently sleeping on the dope Botswana-born, Johannesburg-based producer who calls himself Monexus.
Now as I have mentioned above, this project was created by a local talent. I reiterate the fact because the music will make you think otherwise. I mean seriously, the beats this dudes makes had me thinking I was listening to some upcoming producer signed to Brainfeeder or something. If you’re a fan of the Flying Lotus’ and Teebs of this world, then 7 of Cups should be your cup of tea (see what I did there). If the whole experimental electronic hip hop thing isn’t really your vibe, digesting this lengthy LP might prove too much of a difficult task for you. Monexus definitely isn’t afraid to experiment and this is evident through the range of his production and incredible use of an array of sounds. He masterfully experiments with samples and his overall sound possess traces of electronic, hip hop, trap, soul, and even some jazz here and there. One thing that this project is not is dull. Each different soundscape offered provides the listener with a kaleidoscope of vivid patterns in the form of enchanting/hard hitting beats. Let’s just say that judging from this project, your boy Monexus knows what he’s doing behind those boards. The standard of mixing on this is also praiseworthy. The effects inserted in a lot of the compositions add so many more dimensions and verve to what are already dope instrumentals. Not too sure if he does all the mixing himself, but if he does, then bravo my guy! My favourite joints off this instrumental have to be ‘Break It Down’ (the only song where Monexus features the talents of a vocalist) and ‘Maarms’. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for any soulful beat, or maybe it’s because it sounds like Monexus harnessed his inner Madlib on these cuts (especially the latter).
The only bit of criticism I’d hurl at 7 of Cups is it’s density. Sure, the running times of most of the joints here aren’t painfully long, but 26 tracks could scare off even the staunchest instrumental hip hop stan. However, it’s understandable considering this is his first official full-length release and I guess the guy wanted to be thorough when creating an album that could be exposed to a whole bunch of first time listeners.
All in all, I’m not really mad at this project man. On the whole I enjoyed this man’s stellar work. I wasn’t necessarily crazy about every single instrumental, but I’m sure that has more to do with my personal musical sensibilities and not the quality of the album in question. My advice would be for you to download 7 of Cups before a lazy weekend, find a quiet corner in your abode, press play and ignore all incoming texts and calls (yes, even potential baes).
Get an idea of his sound by listening to the album snippets below:
If you’re feeling that then head over to either one of these links for the project in its entirety. Support dope local music!:
Reviewed by Nhlosenhle Mpontshane