Some Strong Elements Weighed Down by Trying to do Too Much: The Macshane EP Reviewed

Written by on April 12, 2019

Freedom breeds competition. 

The democratization of the internet led to an even playing field, which resulted in the gatekeepers and tastemakers no longer being able to pick and choose who was able to be seen and heard. As a result, everyone had a platform, suddenly viewing themselves as individual brands. In such a climate, it’s incredibly difficult to get anyone to pay attention. 

Enter Macshane. 

After nearly four years of dropping tracks and working to develop a following, the MC from the Perth hills has released his debut effort, The Macshane EP. Produced entirely by Unkle Ricky, the entirety of the project comes in at a lean twenty-three minutes spread out over seven tracks, four of which have already been released as singles.

It’s clear that Macshane has been working on his craft for a while and, if his lyrics are any indication, he has an enormous chip on his shoulder and is focused on proving any doubters wrong. “They told me I’d amount to nothin’,” he sneers on “All Away” while on the closer, “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me,” he once again boasts his DIY status by proclaiming, “Never had help or a heart line/Just dead end roads and a stop sign.”

Macshane at times unleashes a fiery flow full of energy like ChillinIt, but this is regularly offset with melodic bridges and intoning hooks, not unlike Drake or J. Cole. By fusing elements of hip-hop, electronic, and even pop, he’s clearly attempting to create some mainstream appeal and please most, if not all, ears. As a result, he sees his music as “genre-defining” and while that approach can work in some instances, there are times when it can also create a sound that is incompatible and convoluted.

Two songs, “Rendezvous” and “Words to Say,” focus on relationships and are clear attempts to cross over. “Rendezvous” is a bit schmaltzy but with its infusion of house and even ‘80s-style synths, it’s catchy enough to possibly make some noise. Meanwhile, “Words to Say” has some fairly introspective lyrics, but his flow is so choppy that he can’t sounds lost and unable to find the beat. While he does have some skills, there are some moments of corniness like a Dr. Phil drop and groan-inducing lines like, “Gone with the wind like a plastic bag,”

When he’s good, though, he’s very good. 

The EP’s best track, “I Said,” showcases Macshane’s skills perfectly as he flawlessly flows nonstop from the pocket over an atmospheric beat that repeatedly rises and falls under him as if he’s riding an ocean wave. It deserves repeated plays. 

Overall, Macshane has some skills and is clearly ambitious, but his debut EP suffers from the same thing as the artist it’s named after: some really good moments and strong elements that are weighed down by trying to do too much and appeal too broadly to ever form a cohesive sound.

Christopher Pierznik’s nine books are available in paperback and Kindle. Check out more of his writing at MediumHis work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business InsiderThe CauldronMedium, Fatherly, Hip Hop Golden Age, and many more. Subscribe to his monthly newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

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