All the way from Northampton, UK, MJ Scriptz achieved the unthinkable on his release titled No Fear. The artist melded the lo-fi quality of rock-like rawness with state-of-the-art rap bars. The introductory electro synth merged with the pompous Makudi (the Snake Charming flute), turn out to be the foundational pillars of No Fear. Granted, if you’re mainly consuming American Rap, you’ll have to warm up to it. But then again, you might just like it for its originality from the get-go.
The gargantuan synth gives off strong EDM vibes when the song opens up. But then the Makudi comes in and you’re like “wait a second…” and right at 0:14 when we first hear the drums, aka the beat drops, MJ Scriptz goes to lay his first rhymes: “I feel like I’m at constant war/ Every door in my mind/ Leads to another door/ With no one for support/ Lost in my thoughts/ Worried what could happen/ If I start to explore” Talk about lyrical substance. Before we dive further, we thought you might use the real-life-based inspiration as described by the man of the hour himself: “No Fear came from a dark place but still driven by hope and strength. I’ve battled with mental health all my life, living on and off the streets I’ve never made life easy for myself. I’ve only just come to terms with who I am, so this was a good track to release some emotion and open up about what I’ve dealt with. Hard times and hard rhymes!”
We’d like to point out some immediate production particularities: huge room, strong reverb, multi-layered vocals, distorted hook. Seems like these are THE English Rap market indicators (incredibly similar in production style to MC Ajb, another UK-based artist we covered last year.) What renders MJ Scriptz’s No Fear distinct from the crowd though, is the artist’s ability to painstakingly describe the intricacies of mental struggle: “Your mind/ Is a powerful force/ It can quickly/ Steer you off course/ It can trick you/ And make you believe/ That the body that you’re trapped in/ Isn’t even yours” 😮
MJ Scriptz’s flow is restless and upbeat, unintermittedly leading the tone of the record until we’re greeted by the unconventionally rich hook: “My emotions/ All these feelings/ Why can’t I let them go/ ‘Cause I have been hopin’/ One day I’ll have them under control/ One day I’m high/ One day I’m low/ One day I’m empty/ Then I’m ready to blow/ ‘n’ I’m sorry if I ever made you feel uncomfortable/ But I hope one day I won’t” Well damn! MJ Scriptz can sing his arse off! One of the few rappers who has managed to remarkably enrich his song by doing both the bar spitting and the hook singing.
The second verse is our favorite. Why? Because the guy is not holding anything back! And by anything, we mean the following admission: “I’m still tryna stick to the plan/ Still tryna prove/ That this is who I am/ I can’t rec an album/ ‘Cause a Mac cost grands/ And I spent all my money/ On a couple of grams” What a novelty to hear a rap artist giving explanatory notes on the reality of his world instead of trying to dupe the audience into something he’s not! As a matter of fact, the small, appreciative crowd MJ Scriptz has managed to garner on his Spotify speaks volumes: 1,196 monthly listeners (as of January 2021.)
As No Fear approaches its completeness, MJ Scriptz leaves the audience with shuddering depictions of the struggle many people go through but few speak of: “-14 degrees Sleeping in the snow/ The fact I’m still here today/ Goes to show/ That I’m in it like a pro/ […] / Nothing like frostbiting your ass/ Through the night/ Scared that you might not/ Make it though the night/ Praying every minute/ Waiting for your skin/ To feel the sunlight”
No Fear is an excellent lo-fi rap record that underlines the transitions of mental struggle and gives the audience enough of an incentive to want to know MJ Scriptz better.
Song Credits: Miki Bowles (MJ Scriptz) – Writer, Performer; Martyn Boswell (MartynB) – Producer.
Review by Mariana Berdianu
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