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Behind the misdirection in his name and the locks over his face, mynameisntjmack is an open storyteller with dynamic Range

Evan Dale // June 13, 2024

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Alf Bordallo

Behind the misdirection in his name, mynameisntjmack – an LA-based rapper with Virginia roots and some seeming creative ties to Chicago via the features on his latest project – maneuvers effortlessly in both straightforward lyricism and rhymes riddled with wordplay; both focused raps and vocally-infused melody. Behind the mire of locks always shrouding his façade, jmack is a grill-sporting smooth talker with a silky voice whose poetic tract embodies anecdote and emotion with the same ease as it does humor and punch line. Just tune into any of his recent videos and see it all on display. His raps often rise through melodic bridges, into addicting and immersive hooks at the heart of almost every track. And his beats, largely founded in jazz-ridden analogue and flooded with samples allow his sound to translate seamlessly to the stage, seamlessly, too, to the greay areas floating between hip-hop’s past and a future where multi-dimensional artists like himself – still rooted in something tangibly nostalgic – are constantly paving new artistic lanes.

His latest project – which is also his proper debut album – mynameisnt is nothing if not an expedition through the rangy definitions of the many sounds outlined above. A mosaic of his sonic breadth, expanded on aesthetically by the collection of artsy, filmic visuals still in release rollout to cement the project’s encompassing image, it’s been well worth the wait since his last project, 2022’s THE LORDS OF SOUNDS AND LESSER THINGS. Here in 2024, through half an hour, 11 tracks, and with 10 guest names bringing their own sounds into frame alongside jmack’s own, mynameisnt is, in fact contrary to all the artist’s playful pseudo anonymities, a celebration of that which so clearly isin focus: that he’s a force of hip-hop dynamism whose skills are only getting sharper.

First and foremost, jmack is a rapper, and the components of his skillset in orbit of that position – his lyricism, his flow, his storytelling, and his delivery – are never in question. effort/therapy rides a sample-heavy beat straight into the album’s first verse where, as will continue to be molded throughout the project, he cleverly manipulates his flow through and around the beat, liquidly shaping it to structure each song with dynamic range that makes him so much more than a rapper. At times, like throughout the opening verse, his delivery feels particularly deadpan. Only the words being spoken into existence are meant to be the focus. It’s one of the ways via which he’s so successfully able to turn mynameisnt at times into a sort of coming-of-age tale, dotting his journey as a person and as an artist to this point, convoluted, complex, and relatable through a maze of vices and relationships. From there, immersing a listener in the vivid landscapes he paints with every bar, jmack never takes his foot off the gas.

He does, however, change lanes often, albeit without ever losing a sense of the direction he set out on from the beginning – one that’s inarguably authentic to his own story; his own still widening skillset. It’s a skillset that allows him to handily act as his own featuring artists track-to-track, where his lyrical prowess is seamlessly sewn into his melodic infusions at the spaces in between his hard-nosed, deadpan verses and his silky, emotive hooks. Those gray areas in between dynamically exhibit his knack at weaving one end of his artistry into the other, without ever losing his heading. Take angrylittleaccidents, where jmack’s rapped verses feel in constant rise towards the melody in the track’s hook, the breakdown in its beat, and then another, vividly unique verse on the other side of it.

He doesn’t lose his stylistic grip even as he folds in the mosaic of sounds from so many of his friends and collaborators. Alongside a smattering of high-octane Chicago lyricsts – Blvck Svm, Femdot, and Mick Jenkins through newhihat and high kick, respectively – jmack has no trouble pushing forward the rapped momentum of mynameisnt’s auditory aesthetic, keeping pace with some of the most talented wordsmiths of our modern moment, and driving home his knack for rapping. But, just like the three names mentioned above, jmack can widen further the project’s expansive reaches with the ways he’s able to play with his range; through the lightning-fast changes of pace he’s able to infuse into his bars. Just listen to the fluid transitions between the opening verse, the bridge, and the chorus on high kick, all before Femdot and Mick Jenkins even enter the frame.

Rangy as jmack is – capable as he is as a lyricist, a vocalist, a writer, a storyteller, a collaborator – it’s the fact that he rarely feels in transition from one end of his artistry to the other that sets him, and mynameisnt apart. Even in a modern scene where so many artists have so many different skills, few if any are as seamlessly intertwined with into one another as jmack proves to be on every track. Listenable on repeat.

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