MAFFEW RAGAZINO – BROWNSVILLE’S JESUS Review

By SUNEZ

My brothers going through problems, solving the questions of death with worse and worse piles of breath.  So if a nigga getting his money right I’m not supposed to hate?  Actually, I’m not supposed to give a fuck.  These are tracks shared not lines sold so they are supposed to be the residue of an MC’s righteous addiction scarred on wax.  So I won’t be in church too long today.  Jesus is Black and has mastered compositions all through Brownsville, Brooklyn but I can’t kneel on these scriptures.  This isn’t a good bible blueprint for Ragazino.  Maffew Ragazino, one of the most verbal dexterous, overt stylists in Hip Hop music today.

I think about the fiery revelations that he spit on PNC Radio early this decade.  We could hear him fearlessly contending and earning acknowledgement from the great Sean Price.  The genesis of those incredible opening bars, their tones and measures on “Even More Butter” with Meyhem Lauren.  And what about the classic all we fathers with belligerent BMs and the most beautiful daughters burned as as the anthemic spiritual, “Isis.”  Ragazino now notes he got “5 Percenter thoughts but I still pray to the cross…” (“Hilluminati”) but Sunez, Sun is just–Son is Allah–Sunez just study the mind in all the shines.  So ain’t no mystery that Ragazino ought to be more than the ill paper chaser on wax.  Brooklyn’s got Troy Avenues now and streets sparkle the pretty hiccup fabulous. But Rag got the Ka grit and resurrects breaks in the middle of Biggie’s machine gun funk and AZ’ life’s-a-bitch.

At his most pompous, we brothers want to hear the declarations of a brother doing it.  Winning it all and the two best young Medina scorers, Ragazino and Skyzoo, are powerful on Fred Bear’s looping horn through “BK Accent.”  Maffew’s high pitch fluctuations on the bar blare with the trumpet superbly and he does it again on the finale “Never Ran, Never Will” with a cadence that naturally sequences to whatever he wants: the snares, the high hats, the bassdrums, the hook or whatever he fucking wants.  So dominant is his stylist abilities he usually throws away his fire that rides through statements of cold hells as on “Amen” (“I love my daughter/ that beautiful seed I planted is my heart/she calls me the best daddy on the planet/her mother is a bitch/that takes a nigga for granted/you know how many children don’t even know who their dad is/back against the ropes like Cassius/beat the shit out of the odds like Tyson did Ratliff/ashes to ashes, rest in peace Dorothy/never got to tell you but you meant the world to me/Rest in peace Wayne/I know you looking over me/I could’ve died in that car crash and been history/ we miss you both but you ain’t missing shit/fried okra and spinach/I really miss that shit/I put my life on the line/I really live this shit/how you expect to benefit if you ain’t risking shit/success is near but I don’t feel it…”).  The pure flash of flavor works on Bink’s “Got 2 Love It” because real MCs need real breaks and the contrast is seen through much of the mixtape as he falls in the same pitfalls AZ once did.  The commercial songs don’t blow the better you make them but with the neo-payola they’re packaged with.  And that shit has nothing to do with such a strong talent as Maffew Ragazino no matter how much cream he rules around him.

Ultimately, Jesus is Black.  The Bible is an altered text.  Brownsville is still the hell where some of the greatest MCs are born.  And here on Brownsville’s Jesus, we ought to resurrect the immense talent and potential content out of these track crosses that badly bind.