Mixtape Review : Morray – Street Sermons

pitchfork.com

– blkcory

I’ve been paying attention to Morray ever since I heard his “Quicksand” record on Twitter a few months back. If you haven’t heard it by now, you’ve definitely heard him body the “my.life” hook on Cole’s album. With that said, I felt it was time to do a deeper dive on Morray’s music. Song by song, here’s a review of Fayetteville artist Morray’s debut mixtape, “Street Sermons“.

Mistakes

Morray starts off this mixtape with more high energy than I expected from him. Even before the drums kick in, he’s setting the tone early for this entire project. This guy’s rapping, singing and harmonizing his own vocals. The record is essentially explained by the song title but Morray goes on to give different examples of where he and many others have gone wrong in life. Whether you’re handling things in the streets or borrowing money you can afford to pay back from your friends, our actions have consequences and Morray still lives with the pain from his. Matter of fact, he goes on to say “time heals all, that’s a lie/ ‘Cause I still see pain every time I close my eyes”. 

Trenches

Trenches falls right in line with the themes displayed on the first record: pain. Realest part of this record is the second verse where he breaks down the hardships that occur in households where he grew up. There’s fathers struggling to put food on the table, mothers worrying about their kids going outside and being affiliated with gang activity and even sisters playing the role of the mother in the household as their own mother has a drug addiction. It’s an interesting spin on a record that champions supporting your family regardless of the struggles everyone is facing.

Quicksand

As I mentioned earlier, the first time I ever saw the video for this was on Twitter and let me tell you it’s a vibe. My guy was out there in an LRG tee and it was relatable (I can’t afford designer things) and the lil dance he’s got going on in the record gives a lighter feel to the sad story he’s telling about making it out the streets and surviving the environment you grew up in. The song really focuses on the mindstate you have when you grow up in low-income housing. Figuring out how to get money fast all the while keeping an eye out for people trying to take advantage of you.This is hands down my favourite record on the tape but, that’s mainly because this man can really write a hook. A lot of the hooks on this tape are great but this has to be the catchiest one. 

That’s On God

This is more of a record inspired by trying to make your dreams a reality. It’s a more uplifting song than the other records but it didn’t stand out to me. It might be just because “Quicksand” is such a good song but this one just sounded similar to a lot of other “come up story” songs. 

Nothing Now

This one right here is for all the wild couples that like to break up and get back together over and over again. This could be the theme song for your next break up. This is the record for those of you that are ready to pack up your bags and leave…up to you if you follow through with it but Morray’s saying you should cut*. 

Reflections

This guy Morray has been through some real trauma fam. All his music is a reflection on bad times that he’s had. A lot of things sound like they went wrong before they went right. He hasn’t even talked about ballin or jewellery yet. At this point in the album I was just happy this guy made man.

Big Decisions

Back to back to back to back sad struggle tales from Morray here. At this point you’ll either be really into the content or you’ll be looking for something else from him. Either way, I think the content of the record is solid. “I’m tryna do everything the right way, but the wrong way so damn inviting”. I think that’s a bar we can all relate to regardless of what place we’re at in our lives. 

Can’t Use Me

This track was a nice switch up for me because it’s a lot more upbeat than the last two records and I think it was needed in the sequencing of the songs on this mixtape. You can tell he uses these records as therapy sessions though. He tells you that on the song but, once you’re this far into the mixtape, it’s something he makes crystal clear. 

Kingdom

This one is another big record from Morray. There’s just some songs on here that slap. This is one of dem ones* yo. The man said: “They depend on me to come around and do the saving/But little do they know that I’m the one that need the saving?” Tell me you ain’t feel that in your chest? Sometimes you get paid and those problems just don’t disappear (like many of us realize bi-weekly). 

Switched Up

Another traumatic record of a man retelling the story of his mans betraying his trust. This is probably my second favourite Morray song. It’s mainly because of the Penny Hardaway and all the other basketball references but still. Sometimes it’s really the ones closest to you that hurt you the most and I feel Morray on that one. 

Facade

This sadly sounds like Switched Up part 2 but with a different piano chord progression…If I’m being honest, it’s not as exciting to listen to when you felt like you just heard the better version of it. This is one of the tracks I probably won’t come back to. 

Real Ones

The content of this record is great but again at this stage in the mixtape, this sound is starting to feel repetitive. Only thing that really felt new to me was the fact that he talked about jewellery on the hook. Again, the come up story of Morray is still being told through this mixtape so deep down you just hope he wins. 

Bigger Things

This is a good outro song. In comparison to the last 2 records this one stands out way more. It’s his “hi hater, they sayin I’m goin off* and there’s nothing you can do about this” song. Sometimes you need to get dem ones off your chest. I get it, I used to do stuff like that any time I’d hit a 3 playing ball (I would rarely hit a 3 while playing ball)…

Overall it’s a good debut project from Morray. To have several catchy records to start off your career is a good look. I do have some critiques though. Aside from my favourite records on the mixtape, I don’t think any of these beats came as a surprise. After a while, you knew he was going to rap/sing over a slightly different piano progression or a slightly different set of guitar chords. That and the lack of features made for a less exciting listen at times. Another voice here and there would help keep the audience more engaged. Lastly, based on the very similar content of the records, I feel like if this mixtape was maybe 10 songs, it would be more exciting to listen to. Having a few less songs stops his sound from feeling old. 

The tape definitely confirms that he can bust out a hook, connect to people with relatable lyrics and make great records. With some adjustments, I feel he’s got a bright future ahead and I look forward to hearing more music from him and watching him collaborate with more artists in the future. 

Glossary:

Cut – To leave, to depart

One of dem ones – one of those ones

Goin’ off – to make great music, fire in the booth (if you will)

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