New Jersey native MoRuf is a multitalented artist who first came on my horizon two years ago thanks to Tumblr and his colorful Shades.Of.Moo LP (2014). Jesse Boykins III, SZA and Chris Turner were featured, in addition to tracks produced by rising artists like Iman Omari, Madlib and MeLo-X. In that project, he capitalized on '90s nostalgia and unabashedly rapped about complex emotions, relationships and what life is like on the East Coast: whip fast and colorful.
On his most recent release, Loosies, he refers to himself as a “young emo,” and it’s safe to say that over the past two years his sound has evolved organically. Under the hashtag #soulhop on Soundcloud, the nine-track release has a relaxed vibe and feels like a sticky, sexy neosoul East Coast summer. These are a few of the standout tracks that resonated most with me:
A special, distinct sound drew me in when I first heard this track. The wordplay and combination of different sounds is aesthetically heavy, yet soft. Allusions to the influence of the iconic Nina Simone, philosopher Plato and God were all notable pieces composing the beginning of the song. As a whole "viewtiful fish" seems to be pinpointing what it has felt like to reach his current plateau.
This track mostly reminds me of Shades.Of.Moo and is energetic and reminiscent of writings in a diary. It tells a story within a story and is enjoyable to listen to; the piano also adds a beautiful touch. A recording of a pastor who shares lines like “Attack is the proof your enemy believes in you,” and “Your enemy will attack you at the birthing season in your life” is an ending that was necessary. It added further truth to my belief that black religion has an influence within the current state of hip-hop.
"I WANT YOU"
An Erykah Badu song is given a remix with the twist of a different anecdotal perspective. It’s like a love song, but what gets me is that MoRuf shares that the one he's chasing is a Cancer. (As a Cancer, I know how tricky it can be to gain our affection and attention.) In the track MoRuf spends over two minutes expressing why the Cancer caught his eye, which is refreshing to hear. He appeared to be a fly on the wallpaper during their high school years and also into adulthood. Juxtaposed with Badu’s version, this parallel allows for a reflection period since the track is roughly 10 minutes long. Hear the original version to appreciate the flip:
Love is the epitome of this soulful track. It paints a picture of a love lost, amid drawing parallels to The Cosby Show’s Cliff Huxtable and his seemingly perfect life. The track consisted of a reflection back in time, when the artist wrote poetry, and even more throwback imagery of Rudy Huxtable and even Khadijah James of Living Single.
And listen to Loosies below: