Dark Arts 2 5/5 BARKS.*
I by no means exist on the same, “Fuck around find out.” plane, but you can bet your life savings that if Ol’ Magik releases something he’s legitimately excited for…I’ll be right there to help serve it up on a platter for you.
Ol’ Magik‘s album Dark Arts 2 pairs classic beats and bass with the slow and intentional ferocious vocalization and lyrics we love about Ol’ Magik and his features. What I like about the album is that it’s both familiar to Ol’ Magik but also exists as an entirely new project. The possibility it would be an exact clone of past work was a concern of mine the last time I reviewed Ol’ Magik. That said, it’s evident he’s not only capable but commits to his trademark sound so effortlessly that you go into a new album of his genuinely excited for what’s to come.
It’s like seeing your favorite movie make a sequel that doesn’t suck.
Technically speaking, I have no complaints. The music and beat packages translate well from PC, to iPhone, to AirPods, to a home stereo. There is a theme to the album but if we listen to his other albums he’s masterfully placed those in a theme as well. If you don’t particularly enjoy it when artists apply to and stick with a theme…you might not have a great time. To me, this shows me he takes time crafting genuine art instead of funneling marketable sounds to us.
Now, let’s dissect this album…what was Ol’ Magik’s intent? We already know he’s a strong, aggressive thump rapper so why the reminder?
I think this album shows us not so much where Ol’ Magik was, but where he is now. He’s gaining more success (rightfully so), he’s confident (not that he wasn’t before), and without alienating anyone who’s assisted him personally with his successes he’s praising himself in a way that is encouraging to the listener but also not unjustly grandiose. Ol’ Magik doesn’t play humble, he doesn’t have to. This is his album, he worked hard to get here, he built up a fan base organically (still does so) and he gets fucking paid. To expect Ol’ Magik to create an album to be the proper sequel to Dark Arts AND expect him to be a cute lil’ gimmicky kitty cat is a severe discredit and blatant ignorance of the work put in.
Ol’ Magik makes music for when you’re in your zone, creating ideas and making moves in YOUR respected dark art. He doesn’t make music for you to dance to, or even bop to. His tone, his beats, his structure, it is all deliberate and it should be respected and celebrated. All things Dark Arts 2 does exceptionally well.
*We review music on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 being not great…5 being amazing. I have nothing witty to add here, I’ve truly had a hellish week. God damn Apple.