Album Review: Maundz - Zero

3 August 2012 | 10:44 am | James d'Apice

At large Maundz is, as he claims, a “menace on the mic”. Engaging work.

Zero is almost a product of another time. Maundz's delivery is rough and unselfconscious. Wik's beats are strict, uncompromising boom-bap throwbacks. This is meat-and-potatoes, raps-and-scratching hip hop, the sort of stuff that'll stick to your ribs and put hair on your chest. Our host's intelligence is a counterpoint to his ferocity. No line shows this as clearly as the threat that if we cross our host “I'm a see you next Tuesday.” Irony par excellence, it's a threat you might hear yelled by a young man on his third longneck. Clearly Zero's a misnomer. And that's a good thing.

Take It Back, featuring Bias B, might elicit cynicism from some: how many songs do we need where Australian rappers list things they enjoyed in the '90s? How much nostalgia can we take? But that's falling into a trap. After all, how many rap songs are there about girls, or cars, or being a good rapper? This track is another contribution to a developing, and particularly Australian, fetishistic mass nostalgia, the track itself unremarkable until Maundz's reminiscences about Bias B's classic, Beezwax, summons the man himself, and the stakes are raised beautifully. All Quotes is a joy. It's Wik's best beat and forms a perfect backdrop for Brad Strut's impossible guest verse and Action Bronson's solid cameo. Slang Rap, which comes as close to a mission statement as anything on the album including its title track, is Maundz in a nutshell: booze, raps and rhyming slang.

Occasionally Maundz breaks character, or his performance fails to match his ambition. In these moments our host is diminished, less charismatic than he is in the main. These slight stutters are few and far between though. At large Maundz is, as he claims, a “menace on the mic”. Engaging work.