Updated: Mar 6, 2019
On “One Foot” Mavi displays his precocious lyrical abilities, proving to be one of the most promising talents in the wave of up-and-coming rappers. Mavi’s delivery is drowsy and often muffled, but a close listen reveals that his flow isn’t apathetic, but pointedly intentional, allowing his toned-down vocals and muted percussion to completely engulf the listener in waves of hypnosis. Mavi plays with his words with so much ease and dexterity that I am often left mesmerized, listening to the song on loop for prolonged periods of time with a complete lack of regard for my surroundings. Some of his specific lyrics, many of which border on esoteric, are so mind-boggling that to leave them out of this review would be a disservice. In the beginning of his sole verse on the song, Mavi raps, “I’m inconspicuous with it/ tilting the filter a bit convince you your milieu will kill you.” Another one of my favorites is, “I’m a laser image of my creator/ I pray for nouns and he crate ‘em and I make ‘em sound great/ And then pray for smiles, but he can’t commit to pin down cause that ain’t specific.” Picking these two out of the many quotable lyrics on the song was incredibly difficult, seeing as nearly every line on the song lingers around in my head after a listen.
“One Foot” could have easily found a home on Earl Sweatshirt’s Some Rap Songs, though Mavi may have even out-rapped the original teenage sensation with a prodigious knack for wordplay. The Earl parallels are easy to draw, though Mavi’s cadence is what truly sets him apart from his lo-fi wordsmith contemporaries. It is always slow and often meditated, but Mavi squeezes so many words into his raps that his lines often spill into the next one, pooling together in a string of diction uttered by a rapper with a voracious appetite for vocabulary. “One Foot” is Mavi’s most impressive display of talent, although his expansive Soundcloud-based catalogue is home to myriad similarly impressive cuts, most notably “five minutes writing from the bottom” and “ceilings.”