Flawless production and fiery flows, Musa holds nothing back on the intense journey of “Here But I’m Gone”. A stylish mixture of genres from soul to R&B with an anchoring in hip-hop, the album works together as a coherent whole. Musa’s lyricism serves as the very focal point of the entire thing tying it all neatly together. The songs too feature clever observations, vignettes, and small internal monologues and narratives that reveal a degree of vulnerability. Within this context, the accompaniment, the beats, the glossy sheen of the sound, feels absolutely pitch-perfect and outright pro level.
Speaking of the quality of the atmosphere, Musa harkens back to Kanye’s classics with a fidelity that leaves nothing to be desired. Done with such grace, even the verses and cadence recall a bit of Kanye’s undeniable charm. Going further out, the thoughtful disposition brings to mind groups like Kendrick Lamar, A Tribe Called Quest, and similarly minded groups for there is a sophistication to the multi-faceted, multi-layered approach one that has a great realness behind it.
A fantastic open “Pull Up” shows off his nimble vocal dexterity complete with crisp trap beats. Like a drunken jazz song comes the loopy “Gods Song” where there is an elegance to it featuring smooth bass. Nice mixture of backwards and forwards compete on “405/3:30 In Calabassas”. Going for a full-on tapestry is the passionate “December 20’ (Freestyle)” allowing a sense of intimacy in. The cleverness of “Online (Feat. N’dea)” proves to be a deeply insightful work, one of the highlights of the album. Speed matters with the mad dash of “5AM on Crenshaw”. With “1,000 Bag” a swagger takes shape with a purely massive sound. On “Afterhours in LA / Cameras” the stripped-down minimalism adds to the importance of his storytelling ability. Staggered beats have an elegance to them with the stately “Cameras”. “360 (Interlude)” features a cinematic flavor to the atmosphere for the song seems to be closely just out of view.
Playful to its core “10 Toes” benefits from the extremely hard-hitting beats alongside rather delicate sampling. Tenderness reigns supreme on “Love Language”. Soulful with a hint of the blues comes the longing of “June 20’”. An old school style rolls on through with the low-slung groove of “Fox Hills Flows” incorporating a bit of G-Funk. Confessional to its core is “Neiman Marcus (Interlude)”. Clever hits of the percussion radiate throughout “When In Rome (Cameras Pt. 2)”. Faith becomes an essential element with “Talk 2 God”. Elegant piano chords underpin “Highlights (Intro)” with a bit of grandeur. Ending it all on a surreal note is the amorphous “Closure (Bonus)”.
“Here But I’m Gone” shows off the intricate storyteller of Musa for he explores a world that feels so lived-in, visceral, and raw.