The new album by MVCC, formerly of Deadsoundz, sees him folded into the creative powerhouse that is the Togo Fam, with the whole of TIFA (This Isn’t Fun Any More) produced by the insanely gifted Kid Robotik, who also drops a devastating guest verse on Play Games alongside fellow Togo member Orry Carren.
Like Why It Bothers Me I Can’t Sleep, TIFA was written and recorded in the wake of the premature death of Calum Mohsen ‘Lumo’ Barnes. Literally “riddled with anger, depression and grief,” as MVCC raps on the ice cold opener Bootstrap Bill, one of two tracks referencing the villains of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. This is a stylistic wink, but also a chilling motif — MVCC returns again and again to images of dead men bound in eternal suffering beneath the water
Throughout, MVCC’s flow is studied, precise and intricate. If one of the principle misapprehensions about Scottish rap is it being relatively indecipherable to those from outwith our borders, MVCC effortlessly disproves the theorem — he’s articulate, clear, and each line is delivered with a cold, calm resignation.
While MVCC’s flow and the Kid Robotik production are among the best on offer in this year’s bumper crop of rap releases, it’s the thematic concerns which elevate this to must-listen status. “My circle is smaller now, got a page in my book, let me draw it down,” rhymes MVCC on Sao Feng, eloquently expressing the sense of a shrinking, indifferent world which grief brings.
The loping grime of Play Games is a statement of intent, with Kid Robotik and Orry Carren weaving in and out of a chorus mocking “wannabe gangsters” with a clipped refrain: “Yeah, that’s sad..” It’s one of the moments where MVCC looks up from his pain to take a long, hard look at the city and the scene around him, and finds it wanting. He sees rappers low on invention, high on benzo-filled lines, a scene sometimes closed and inward-looking. As the album title, repeated like a refrain in several tracks, intimates — for MVCC, this isn’t fun any more. It’s deadly serious.
On Slippin’ and Hector Barbosa, Sherlock and Big Shamu respectively provide a nasal, street-tough counterpoint to MVCC’s calm flow, offering a Jekyll and Hyde perspective on his disillusion. The album peaks with the emotionally brutal Save Me, the title track, and Gone, all three directly engaging with mortality, the compulsion to write, and the hedonistic whirlwind of a life led spitting in crowded basements and drinking tonic wine.
Everything & Nothing, featuring the strong tones of Becca Starr, offers the one chink of light in the darkness, lending a little hope, but by the album’s end, the storm clouds are back, promising rain.
Mature, self-assured and vividly written, this album undoubtedly places MVCC near the top of the pyramid when it comes to Glasgow’s finest rappers, and proves to be another convincing win for Togo Fam, increasingly looking like the city’s most current and forward-thinking collective.
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