When Alex Crossan, better known under the moniker Mura Masa, released his Someday Somewhere EP in the spring of 2015, it seemed as though the song “Lovesick” neither needed nor wanted any alteration. From the first crunch of white noise and percussion to the last steel drum hit, and with each fluttering saw synth in between, Crossan’s work takes the listener into a different world. His melodies and drums run together effortlessly, and his use of chopped, high-pitch vocal samples are beautiful complements to a smooth but robust low-end. For a song in such ideal equilibrium, why add or subtract anything?
Enter A$AP Rocky. His verses in the newly released “Love$ick” color the original production in a way that feels familiar and fresh in the same instant. Simply put: it works. His mumbled opening line – “Pretty please with a cherry on top” – rings eerily similar in tone to the original song and Mura Masa’s persona (beat slayer heart breaker producer singer writer lover), as though this match was meant to be from the beginning. A$AP Rocky is no stranger to crossover with electronic music, having collaborated with Skrillex on “Wild For the Night.” Despite exhibiting a departure from typical modern hip-hop tempo and sonic architecture, Crossan represents a rather natural stylistic pairing. His production wraps around A$AP’s vocals comfortably. Each adds dimension to the other, but ultimately, the success of the song stems from the restraint each artist shows: neither tries to dominate, and the result is better for it.
This is a liminal track for Mura Masa, as he stands near the edge of mainstream popularity. “Love$ick” has amassed nearly 1.4 million plays on Spotify in just over a week. Others, such as “Firefly” and “What If I Go?” have racked up almost 20 million and over 12.5 million respectively. All this has been achieved on a laptop and headphones with minimal, if any, compromise of artistic integrity. Mura Masa’s work with A$ASP Rocky may provide the activation energy needed to break into the mainstream, and break into it on his own terms.
Featured image is from Mura Masa’s official Facebook page.
For more biographical information on him, check him out on Spotify.