Jamaican Dancehall has taken over the world by storm. Not only influencing numerous genres but also daily lifestyles. Dancehall has had a strong year for 2021 with releases from Vybz Kartel, Alkaline and Skillibeng. This time it’s Masicka’s turn in unleashing his newest album, 438.
Masicka is known for his cutthroat gunman riddims such as Infrared with Vybz Kartel, Dem Ago Dead and Born Killa. Also, he’s notorious for his relationship anthem, Answer Me, featuring Ishawna. The Dancehall artist continued creating these types of songs for 438, where he made Vanish featuring Dexta Daps, Contract Killer and Moments featuring Stefflondon. Masicka doesn’t fail to reach his standards, especially for Contract Killer, as he sets relentless energy.
Nevertheless, Masicka for 438 focuses on establishing a poignant, soulful ambience for the main body of work, triumphantly expressing his pain and trauma. Although Masicka includes two bubbly tunes, Quality featuring Sean Paul and Highlight, this album isn’t for those mainly looking for a fun-loving Dancehall party vibe. 438 album dwells on numerous heart-aching topics, for instance, the merciless Jamaican streets, failed relationships, heartbreak, and suicide. In successfully manifesting his emotions, Masicka utilises multiple flows bringing forth his hard-hitting rap flow when feeling anger and despair. His other rhythms involve singing, which enables you to feel the distress in his voice. Heart Cry is a track, which showcases this quality he perfects.
Continuing from the last point, Masicka executes exhibiting his despondency through storytelling. Love Story highlights this as he emphasises a failed relationship causing him to be distraught mentally and emotionally. The quickness and energy in his flow increase the intensity for the listener in Love Story. Not to forget, the lyricism he establishes through the song involves a clean rhyming scheme that catches on to the ear fast. Overall, it’s also safe to say from analysing his lyrics in Love story and other featured tracks, Masicka is one of the best lyricists in Dancehall currently.
In other aspects of 438, the production doesn’t stick with the conservative Dancehall sound. Instead, the project fuses Dancehall with different musical styles like trap music. Many fans of this genre criticised the alteration of Dancehall’s sounds as it comes away from the playful, exuberant energy. However, these instrumentals wondrously assist in manifesting Masicka’s emotional conflict for 438. For instance, the Trap-Dancehall type beat in “Pain” contributes to the darkness Masicka sets with his verse. Making you feel the demons Masicka is fighting in his lyrics. Moments’ instrumental utilises a soft, mellow sound, similar to Rap/R&B beats.
438 only negative is the song Story. Masicka tries to create a tune similar to King Von Wayne Story, G Herbo Malcolm, and Polo G Bloody Canvas. The problem with Story is the duration of the song. Masicka should have reduced the tune’s time length as it becomes tedious to listen through. Also, Masicka’s flow sounded rushed. He should have slowed down his style and added more energy to his rhythm. Story is the only big negative for this album.
Overall, Masicka wondrously executed “438”, with his lyricism including storytelling, energy, versatility in different sounds and concepts. “438” is a strong contender for Dancehall album of the year. It will be fun to see Masicka’s next step in his journey.