Mayne – “No Hook”

Mayne melds more pop culture references together than Quentin Tarantino in his new single “No Hook,” but while his lyrical wit is certainly something to be marveled at, it’s hardly the only reason why I would recommend rap fans give the track a close listen this spring. Composed around its minimalist melody and a stirring groove that only gets more enthralling as we sink into the song’s most gripping of corners, “No Hook” is frills-free hip-hop with a brutally honest tone to its narrative, both of which are in increasingly high demand in the year 2020.

Everything is built on the concept of highlighting the interplay between the bass and the drums in this track, but I wouldn’t say that there’s a lot of disproportionate focus on the instrumentation over the vocal. Mayne has a way of getting a reaction out of us one way or another in all of his songs, and in the case of “No Hook,” he’s utilizing as much of the bassline as he is the beat and his own verse in creating an enigmatic, but surreally relatable, tale for us to connect with here. It’s alternative hip-hop if I’ve ever heard it, but hardly a stab at left-field postmodernity.

The vocal style here is almost psychedelic in nature as we get into the guts of the song, and though it’s not quite as melodic as it likely could have been, it’s not steeped in an overaggressive aesthetic at all. There’s something sharply contrasting about the delivery Mayne is going with and the slow-creeping of the percussion, but the conflict isn’t enough to impede the fluidity of the music at all – the exact opposite, truth be told. This is a rapper who knows a lot more about music than just making a slick rhyme and a sexy beat to accompany it.

There’s a lot of polish on the master mix here, but not to any degree of leaving a negative aftertaste. I think it was important to make “No Hook” a little more varnished and light on bells and whistles than its competition has been, and while it might not please fans of a slightly heavier, hook-laden sound, I don’t get the impression that Mayne is particularly worries about winning their affections. He’s playing for himself in this track, and as selfish as that might appear, it’s yielding some of the strongest results we’ve heard from his sessions to date.

I can’t speak for the hip-hop world at large, but speaking for myself, I really dig where Mayne is taking his sound with “No Hook,” and I hope that this song is just a small sampling of what we’re going to be hearing out of any upcoming LPs he might already have in the tank. This is a great era for rap music, and despite the enormous amount of talent we’re hearing across the board at the moment, Mayne is a player that any and all indie fans should be keeping a close eye on as the decade starts to unfold.

Nicole Killian 

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Nicole loves to go cross country skiing, swimming, reading and critiquing books, listening and critiquing music, some culinary arts, pottery, spending time with my daughter, cheesy horror films.

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