Coming straight out of government housing and searing his mark into the Canberra hip hop scene with his crew Alikeminds was just the start for Maggot Mouf. His latest album, You’re All Ears is ready to lay down an aural assault with its crisp production and sharply observed lyrics.
You’re All Ears features production by BTE’s powerhouse, Ciecmate and the intimidating talent of Sammy Scissors. Featuring guest verses from 1/6 (this year’s 2010 Hilltop Hoods Initiative Winner), Scotty Hinds (Nine High / Smash Brothers), Dekoda and additional production from the devastating Joey Gargoyle and Bigfoot (Hired Goons / 750 Rebels), You’re All Ears is a more personal solo album which has been stewing slowly for the last two years since the release of Maggots Anonymous.
You’re All Ears is a 16 track odyssey through an often cold world where brief shards of humour only serve to emphasise the bleakness of the everyday for the disjointed and out of place. Opener Village of the Damned pulls us through Maggot Mouf’s eerie subconscious, where horror merges with reality over Joey Garg’s unsettling beats. From the first breath of the day, something spooky (yet familiar) is going on: this is a place where “work is a nightmare, not like Elm street, get my feet twisted in my own Misery.” The legacy of horror films have left their mark, and Maggot is forced to confront the truth – “all of it a movie, some of it my life.”
More than a name-dropping gimmick, this track lays the foundation for You’re All Ears, where public housing, social engineering and authority all combine to reduce the scope of life. Maggot Mouf’s talent lies in reflecting on these sometimes personal limits while being able to transcend them with uncanny observation and an intellect that shines through the muckiest admissions.
Asshole is a frank discussion of his own culpability in the breakdown of “the alleyways and inner grids,” stating that “I’m not sorry if it bothers you, an asshole only gives a shit when it wants to.” It’s easy to see why dialogue from Scarface eases us out of this punchy track and into the cocky attitude and horns of ‘Mr Swarv’.
A truly grubby character, Mr Swarv is “a Casanova with a bad attitude and a bad odour too.” Featuring 1/6, this track showcases two of Melbourne’s wittiest emcees having fun with the archetypal sleazebag. Mr Swarv is disgusting but somehow irresistible – “shit, this cat’ll have you drinking vomit” admits 1/6. Maggot Mouf warns us, “There’s no doubt about it, the rumours are true, Mr Swarv will fuck anything, from dead to deaf mutes…”
But it’s not all shits and giggles. Footrot Flats provides a sobering contrast to the intoxication of Mr Swarv and She Sells Sea Shells. “No matter what goes on, nobody cares, cos Footrot Flats got em all in despair.” Ciecmate’s beat is part Neil Young guitar introspection over part jittery, looking over your shoulder menace, capturing the mood of this real life nightmare eloquently. “Cover your tracks, look straight ahead and always over your back, don’t say a thing, hold your breath…” This is a raw journey few Australian emcees have taken us on – one of tragedy, alienation and fear served up fresh by the same people who are voted in to protect us.
This is unsaid and unheard, matter of fact and honest.
You’re All Ears – Track listing:
02. Village of the Damned
03. Puppet Master
05. Mr Swarv (feat. 1/6)
06. Footrot Flats
07. Never Would Admit It
09. Confined Spaces (feat. Dekoda)
10. She Sells Sea Shells (feat. Sion)
11. Wat U Lookin’ At
14. Kind Regards