Maylay Sparks

Maylay Sparks

Graymatter

Rapster

Copenhagen, Denmark is hardly a hotbed of rap music, but nobody told that to Maylay Sparks. The Philadelphian expatriate was left behind in Scandinavia following a leg injury at the monstrous Roskilde Festival and decided to stay put where his posse put him. There’s no way to tell from the music, though, as Sparks sounds as East Coast as they come: all languid symphonic snippets over brashly thumping beats, his rhymes crowded with violence and streetwise class, like Nas’s little brother trying to get a break with Wu-Tang. It’s competent and rather stylish; Sparks holding court for a series of producers (ten different names spread over twelve tracks), while still managing to churn out an impressively cohesive album.

Truth be told, cohesiveness may have a lot to do with the way Sparks follows the steps of his influences, never really bringing much new to the plate, instead retreading the paths of his heroes. Graymatter sounds uncomfortably like some watered-down version of his obvious predecessors. Sparks is a skilled enough rapper, but he struggles to make himself known here. Basically, it’s hard to actually believe his lyrics, and his musical solutions remain pretty tidy throughout, rarely challenging the listener in any particular way.

There are moments where Sparks demonstrates his potential, and his voice, in particular, is authoritative and classy. As of now, though, Graymatter sounds too much like an underground rapper willing to offer it all for a chance to play with the big boys, rather than the self-confident and brash record it pretends to be.

Rapster: www.rapsterrecords.com/

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

  • Demons/Demons 2
    Demons/Demons 2

    Synapse Films reissues Lamberto Bava’s epic ’80s gore-filled movies Demons and Demons 2 in beautiful new editions.

  • Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson
    Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson

    Searching for the Disappearing Hour (Pyroclastic Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Payal Kapadia
    Payal Kapadia

    Earlier this year, director Payal Kapadia was awarded the Oeil d’or (Golden Eye) for best documentary at the 74th Cannes Film Festival for her debut feature, A Night of Knowing Nothing. Lily and Generoso interviewed Kapadia about her poignant film, which employs a hybrid-fiction technique to provide a personal view of the student protests that engulfed Indian colleges and universities during the previous decade.

  • Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

    A classic children’s tale re-imagined by America’s greatest composers.

  • Taraka
    Taraka

    Welcome to Paradise Lost (Rage Peace). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • AFI Fest 2021
    AFI Fest 2021

    The 2021 edition of the American Film Institute’s Festival, was a total success. After mounting a small virtual festival in 2020, AFI Fest came roaring back this year with a slate of 115 films representing over fifty countries. Lily and Generoso rank their favorite features from this year’s festival which include new offerings from Céline Sciamma, Miguel Gomes, and Jacques Audiard.

From the Archives