By Aidan Rivas
First things first, this album is tight. I’ll rank it an 8.5 out of 10 right now before the review even starts. Onwards to the musicians themselves: Mansionz is an alternative hip-hop and R&B duo consisting of singer-songwriter Mike Posner and producer/singer Matthew Musto, known more commonly by his stage name Blackbear. Their album “Manzionz” dropped March 24 and exemplifies one of my favorite things music can do, which is transition from one song to another seamlessly.
The album opens up with “Snoozefest,” a short psychedelic introduction to a new-sounding album. Mansionz seems to have a divine understanding of what kind of production appeals to people right now because the sound falls somewhere in between Lorde and Twenty One Pilots, with a few disconcerting sounds thrown in as well to separate themselves from the norm. Right after that soothing intro song to set the tone, it flows directly into “My Beloved,” a song that features harmonic singing and snapping before laying down a chilled-out groove overlaid with soft rapping. The song ends with piano and a dramatic crescendo before picking up with “STFU.”
The piano from the end of “My Beloved” turns to a slow Red Hot Chili Pepper-esque guitar riff with a passionate rhyming chorus and verses of quick raps in “STFU.” The song continues with Blackbear softly suggesting that one certain girl leave him alone and stop trying to contact him. A hip-hop beat with heavier bass takes precedence, followed by the end of the song. There’s no neat transition for the next one, but it is a song titled “Dennis Rodman” featuring the retired basketball player of the same name. The song makes references to simply living their lives and having a good time regardless of what people think. The song title is a direct comparison of themselves to Dennis Rodman, a person with a controversial public image, as they, too, are known for eccentricity and odd behaviors in public environments. The song “Dennis Rodman” does transition into one track displaying that eccentricity in full.
The song “I’m thinking about horses” is a six-and-a-half minute long journey through Mike Posner’s thoughts about the universe, God and his own life over a spatial procession of keyboard strokes. Posner uses the phrase “I’m thinking about” to transition between each of these thoughts about his own state as a young man and the world around him. One lyric is “People’ll probably like my music more when I die, ’cause they’ll know no more is coming. You see, people love stories with endings.” That song then is abruptly sliced in two by several loud bass hits. The song “Nobody knows,” featuring Soren Bryce, is an introspective look into the rap duo, as they rap about the fact that people who see them will most likely never truly understand them. The song is split into two parts, one with a slow trap beat and heavy bass, followed by a softer piece with lyrics from Blackbear expressing distaste with religion before exploding into a heavier trap beat and dying down once more to Mike Posner singing of his woes.
After detailing six of the 13 songs on the album, I can’t recommend enough that people listen to “Mansionz” by Mansionz. The album is a unique take on hip-hop, and any fans of hip-hop that features infectious melodies should definitely check them out. I know that they’ve found a new permanent spot on my playlist.