The man born Dijon McFarlane, formerly DJ Mustard (just Mustard from here on out), is at his best on his third studio album, Perfect Ten. “My life is at a perfect 10 right now,” he told Apple Music’s Ebro Darden. “Sometimes I wake up and I be like, this can't be true. I got three kids. I got engaged. My mom is good. I just bought my sister a house. I won a Grammy [with 10 Summers label signee Ella Mai]. Just period, my life.”
Perfect Ten’s 10 songs, then, are a reflection of everything in Mustard’s life in its right place. Throughout the project, there are numerous allusions to how this came to be, including the post-hyphy young California sound he pioneered (“Intro”), the ratchet R&B he perfected with Ella Mai (“Surface”), and another big-room crossover smash to add to his collection in “Pure Water.” Frequent collaborators Ella Mai, YG, and Ty Dolla $ign are of course present, but so are curveballs like A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, and Future.
Closing out the album is a collaboration with the late fellow Angeleno Nipsey Hussle, which features the fallen hero philosophizing between the verses he spits over conspicuously drum-free production. Hussle’s influence on Mustard went far beyond music, as he told Ebro. “I see a lot of people with ‘the marathon continues’ thing,” Mustard said, referring to Nip's catchphrase. “The thing is, the goal is to keep it going. He was doing everything. When you really look at his life and what he's doing, he's doing it all. It's up to everybody to keep that going and really lock into it.”