"Herstory in the Making"
By Sade Hawthorne
In an era where an artist feels rushed by fans and adversaries alike to pump out new music to minimize the threat of being forgotten, Young M.A reminds everyone that good things come to those who wait. With her debut album Herstory in the Making, Young M.A stands true to her nickname, which stands for "Myself Always."
Starting with No Mercy (Intro), Katorah confidently jumped right in, setting the tone for what turns out to be a lyrical flex from one song to the next. Reminiscent of her viral hit "OOOUUU," the Brooklyn native flows in such a way that is both casual and gaudy. Rhymes like "Taking n*ggas' women with my eyes closed/I was runnin' like a snot nose," she keeps the braggadocious raps alive but wastes no time opening up to her listeners to her more profound obstacles. Kold World unveils to the listener a hungry Young M.A before the fame and how one has to be careful to avoid leechers in their circle. The last thing you want is to have covertly deceitful people around you when you got it and play Casper when you go through difficult times. "I remember when my pockets only had a 20 and a five/I would go and buy some pizza and some fries/Metrocard for the week, caught the train, ain't had no ride/Debit card ran out of money, when I swiped, it said, "Declined." The relatability of these words in this day and age = unmatched, and it's motivating for the conventional worker that there is light at the end of the tunnel. All you need to do is persevere even if you're in a state of stagnancy.
Petty Wap followed the same trend with a special shout-out to those in school: "Teacher said, "You'll never make it"/Turned my textbook to a checkbook." While explaining specific lyrics to Genius, she went on to elaborate: "That was really a reference to the graduates, everybody that graduated, turned your textbook into a checkbook. And to people who felt like they couldn't make it, they couldn't graduate and still graduated, that was definitely a reference to them. Turn your textbook into a checkbook, like you went from school to being successful and making money."
Releasing this album on the tenth anniversary of her brother's death, there was a clear distinction between the songs that were made to be club bangers and others that showed the rare vulnerability of the otherwise rugged rapper. No Love is a prime example of this: "That image of my brother layin' dead is still in my mind/You can see the pain still in my eyes/That smile you see me with, man, that sh*t a disguise/I ain't happy, n*gga."
Touching on spirituality and facing inner demons, Young M.A. commits to her love for music and voices how her mother is her motivation through it all. At 21 songs spanning more than an hour's worth of content, certain songs with slight redundancies in theme could have been left off. However, a fan of lyricism and solid beats will thoroughly enjoy this project with minimal skips. Young M.A. is back, and with this album will finally get the respect she deserves.
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