Mach's Hard Lemonade
It’s not that Mach-Hommy has the sharpest cadence or wordplay or metaphors or slang (though his competition is thin); it’s that he has vision. Clocking in at a seamless 23 minutes, Mach’s Hard Lemonade is a world as tight and immersive as De La Soul in ’89 or Lil Wayne in ’05, adjacent to the conversation but in its own rare orbit. The roots are ’90s East Coast street rap—dusty, gritty, soulful, sinister—but the picture is blurred and fragmented, with bars dropping off into ghostly jazz vamps (“Pour House”) and half-sung hooks delivered like a nursery rhyme surfacing in a dream (“Marshmallow Test”). And lest you mistake his abstractions for, well, abstractions, he gives you names and addresses (the gorgeous “NJ Ultra”) and sketches the double bind of young Black men caught up in crime with one line: “If the road gets tighter, no lies, they gon’ call us some lowlives” (“Squeaky Hinge”). As Emily Dickinson advised, he tells the truth, but tells it slant.