Hodari Music 2020
Californian DJ transfers his open format onto record but takes it closer to home.
Having started out as an MC in Long Beach’s nocturnal haunts, Mfanisi Norman soon expanded his creative palette to production and composition and began blending various genres into something that’s not easy to categorize. Which doesn’t matter, of course, because what the DJ does under the Madd Scientist moniker is easy on the ear, so his 2016 EP “Mass Appeal” lived up to its title to a certain extent. Its follow-up might be headed the same way, though, as the “New Day” tracks – first of all, the spiritual, piano-sprinkled “Pause” – sound very homey for a dancefloor-oriented artist, and not in a house-minded way.
Still, this feels good, as beats are minimal here: not sparse but devoid of redundant rhythmic detail that could detract, and distract, from the comfort of such cuts as the reggae-tinged “Madd Krazy” whose rapture is rather quiet or “Take Flight” where the singer’s raps are abetted by a tribal shouts. But there’s also “Foreign Life” with Scientist’s soft rhyming drenched in cosmic electronica, while “You Nasty” delicately piles obscenities upon the simplest of grooves, and the soulful “Grinding Me (Gucci Girl)” gears up for serious chart action. Give it more exposure, and throw in the intimate “And I” for good measure, and the Californian will get noticed and widely praised.