An engineer by education, Mocha Mustafa (named so for his love for the coffee of the same kind) brings his take on modern pop rap with “Wholehearted”.
Opening the album with “Wholehearted”, Mocha brings his laid-back, yet expressly articulate delivery forth to tell the world about his trysts with unrequited emotion. His voice finds itself seamlessly layered with the adept, punchy production, breathing a level of feel-good into the track, the catchy flute in the background stands out as a major contributor to the overall vibe of the song. The bass is tight, articulate and complements the rest of the track well; and there’s enough bounce in the percussion section to keep the song an interesting listen throughout its duration. The lyricism manages to get the point across– while managing to retain engagement– setting the stage for the next single, “Frank’s Crib.”
A lush, flowy affair, “Frank’s Crib” is Mocha on the beat taking the listener on a slow journey. A blend of good metaphor use, as well as clever use of his standout vocal timbre, paint a pretty picture of wistfulness as he asks: “Where do I go?” The 90s-sounding synth bass in the background is full, and the dreamy, thoughtful-sounding piano sets the stage just right for him to dish out his well-written lyrics; as he dallies a delicate dalliance telling the world where he’s been, and where he wants to be.
“She Kept It Real”, the final track on the record, shows us a side of Mocha that offers an interesting departure from his conventional tight, choppy delivery in favour of a half-sung, half-rapped style that successfully captures and compliments the intended storytelling- an ode to a mysterious lover. His delivery remains impressively articulate, easily nailing the storytelling aspect. The wide, deep bass pad glues the track together; playing its part in an already impressively layered production, the high piano leaving the listener just the right amount of uncomfortable; akin to a tasteful cliffhanger.
Overall, “Wholehearted” is Mocha’s genuine attempt at a signature sound; additionally, the fact that he manages to sound as good as he already does, is a wonderful thing. His storytelling is engaging and introspective and has proved to be a worthy listen to me; it will make for an entertaining indulgence, I’m sure. Check it out here –