Bar Exam: Mogli The Iceburg – Sad People Make Dope Music (EP)
A One Listen Review
Mogli The Iceburg was a featured artist on my 2017 Year In Review, and is now the second artist who was featured on there to receive a bar exam this year. “Tumultu” was my best album of April 2017, and was in top 5 overall from last year. Mogli the Iceburg has incredible talent and the fluidity and intentionality behind the concept for that Tumultu project was tremendous. A year has passed, and now Mogli brings us “Sad People Make Dope Music,” an EP I was very excited to bump. Let’s hit play.
Tribe is on the move, friends. We hear the sound of horses rushing past first off on track one right before the beat drops. “Nothing Nice to Say” involves Mogli attacking the beat with a modernized flow. There’s intricate melodies and inflections thrown into the performance, and he’s locked in on this beat. Conceptually it sounds like he’s explaining how hard he works on all that he creates and he doesn’t have time for negativity. He switches it up nicely for a pre-chorus that drives his concept home. “I ain’t got nothing nice to say to you and that’s the reason I ain’t saying nothin.” One thing that has stood out to me about Mogli in the past is his candor. He is who he is and you can’t change it. His passion to be who he’s created to be oozes from this opening track. Above the Bar.
“Matthew 7:23” is track two. That’s an interesting verse to cite for a song name. “Away from me you evildoers.” Christ is saying in this verse “I never knew you” in response to those who are workers of iniquity and piety. This song is pretty emotive and Mogli is expressing how he is hard-headed and hard-hearted at times. I love his honesty on this track. Sometimes life gives us more than we can handle, and that’s why we need grace. Mogli moves aggressively with the beat, which is laced with icy cold beds and a walking bass line. Mogli is very on point once again with the flow, starting out with a triplet feel and switching to double time later. “Running in place/stuck in my ways/and I don’t want to change nothin/I ever wanted opinions I would have asked someone different to say somethin’/what gives you the right to offer your advice/tellin me how to go about life/I’mma get right how I want on my own terms/and I promise I’ll seek it at night/ so get out my face/get out my face/I ain’t gone say it again/what if i said I don’t feel the same in the church as I do when I’m out with my friends.” It’s so impressive how he makes these lines flow and point back to each other. This track is a must listen. Above The Bar.
Track three begins with static, pianos and bouncing synths. Mogli doesn’t waste any space with his bars at all. The topic of conversation here is based on real relationships. A lot of things in life that you can try to find fulfillment in leave you empty. Sometimes it’s hard to relate to the world and you end up feeling numb. Once again Mogli pulls at your emotions, and brings you into a state of reflection on yourself. “I done gave my heart to women who don’t love me back/this year I don’t think that I’m gone make no time for that” There’s a frankness to his words indeed, but this topic seemed to carry over from the previous track, and the flows are beginning to blend together in my mind. I feel like I lost some energy in the middle of this tune. At The Bar
Relax And Take Notes
Moving along, we find Mogli explaining how he wants to learn to love people as God does. The music beds on this one are similar to what we’ve heard before, the only difference here is the drum kit. The performances are crazy on point. God gives him an escape from the world, from himself when he’s sick of gossip and fake people. “indie tribe got the vibes from the jump/over here we don’t care where you from/cuz we all came from the same mud/ amazed that he came just to pay with his blood/so I finna put my pride to the side or the side that I’m on when ya try to divide us/You ain’t sick with the lies you devise when you only use your eyes as you try to define us/I don’t want no false assumptions/Keep it true with the code that I live by/I know some of ya’ll start discussions/ohhh what you’ll do just to get by” — Mogli is a freak with the rhymes and keeps from the monotonous tones some of the faster rappers fall into. Take some notes. Above The Bar
The next track is called “All That I Can” and Mogli rolls with the concept of being a hard worker and once he gives up his talents God takes it from there. Nothing is wasted when you’re chasing the life God has called you to. This is probably the most positive track on the project as far as the topic goes, but I felt like the music was once again very similar to the previous songs on the project. Mogli brings a more melodic flow here and definitely switched it up, but this one was only At The Bar for me.
We close out the EP with an Underoath cover. I recognized the track name immediately, “Reinventing Your Exit” which was a jam for me in college, but I was surprised when I played it and realized it was the actual song. Underoath’s “They’re Only Chasing Safety” was a go-to album for me back in the day and this cover had some nostalgia attached to it. It was terrific to hear this tune reimagined with some bigger bass drops, but nothing was too incredibly different from the original song for me. I only kept listening to this one because I thought Mogli would bust a flow.
To conclude my first listen, I really felt like a lot of these tracks sounded the same. I’m not sure that’s all that bad, I just found myself yearning for more versatility. I realize that it’s funny to say that I appreciated the Underoath cover on one hand but ask for more versatility on the other hand. This is a hip-hop project, and as far as hip-hop goes I would’ve liked for the sound from track to track to be more varied. Mogli definitely has a style he likes to bring, and is supremely adept at articulating his own personal experiences. This is the main thing the listener will be attracted to, and while I feel this is a solid effort, it’s only At The Bar for me.
Overall Rating: At The Bar