By Yejun Kim
18 Oct, 2019
His Instagram handle is @mavi4mayor, but 20 year old Howard University student Omavi Minder goes by simply MAVI to express his inquisitive perspective and emotional depth through rap. He began releasing music in 2017, but his first album entitled Let the Sun Talk in October of 2019 gave him traction in the hip-hop scene through unique lyricism and lo-fi style. MAVI’s genre could be described as lyrical and fluid hip-hop, as verses join seamlessly over looping jazzy instrumentals not unlike artists such as Earl Sweatshirt, MF DOOM, Isaiah Rashad, and Joey Bada$$. In his debut album — with only 32 minutes of music, and even less of rapping — he tackles communicating his beliefs on race, pride, family, self-perspective, and love.
Let the Sun Talk has a tracklist split into three sections by instrumentals: “Terms & Conditions,” “II,” and “III.” However, each song flows freely into the next, and these interludes serve more as links rather than walls. In his longest song “Self Love,” MAVI’s rhythmic voice is interwoven between mellow electric guitar, synths, and looping choral voices. This song feels like walking through a field alone on a warm sunny day, with a multitude of other senses rushing by — from the sound of water to the feeling of a cool breeze. As beautiful as the melding of parts sound, MAVI raps extensively about his complex struggles with pressure, motivation, and emotions, inviting the listener to share in some of his experiences from “mama wipe your tears i’m fighting titans can’t invite you here” to stating that “the moral of my story is i’m impure.” And yet, he shows his growth and future perspective as evenly as with his personal troubles, as his mother’s words echo throughout the song: “it’s just because i love you.”
This theme of MAVI reshaping himself and solidifying his thoughts continues throughout the album with some songs more solemn than others. In “Chiasma,” a song with a minimal piano instrumental and a low, almost casual tone, he discusses mental health and the chase of success. After mulling over his faults and worst case scenarios, he concludes that he “can fail a million ways they still be dumb enough / or trusting enough to love me / swear i’m so fucking lucky.”
What makes this album stand out in a myriad of up-and-coming rappers is MAVI’s melodious storytelling and pure honesty in his lyrics. Although there may be no direct message or goal in each song, the words tell of stories and experiences from the negative to the inspirational. Not much in life is so clear-cut, and part of the best listening experience is being able to connect to his emotions.
In an uncertain world, MAVI raises greater questions about profoundly humanistic issues we all struggle with, and begins to develop his own beliefs by being aware of and overcoming challenges. This is an album that is equally meaningful as a background soundtrack with enchanting loops and effortlessly flowing bars, as it is with a deep focus and even analysis of its messages. After this experimental and distinct album, any future new music will be much awaited as Let the Sun Talk makes it clear that this is only the beginning of MAVI’s journey.
As MAVI himself states: “what kinds of songs you make / i make the kind you gotta read baby.”