Paired with Madlib's soulful evocation of sunlight piercing through clouds, M.E.D.'s "Mystical Magic" is a distinctive slice of hip-hop.
Song: "Mystical Magic"
Regardless of genre or era, the most memorable record labels forge a signature sound. The 15-year-old hip-hop and soul label Stones Throw adds to the legacy of Motown, Stax and Def Jam in building an expansive catalog that remains encoded with distinctive sonic DNA. In Stones Throw's case, that DNA often requires rugged beats, savvy crate-digging samples, gritty rhymes and moody ambiance. M.E.D.'s "Mystical Magic" exemplifies that aesthetic magnificently.
Madlib, the label's de facto house producer, orchestrates a sweeping soundscape, bolstered by a couple of rare Foster Sylvers samples, as M.E.D. (a.k.a. Medaphoar) serves up blistering autobiographical rhymes about dealing with naysayers who doubted his rapping abilities, staying true to his craft when his "back is against the wall." The sentiment, of course, is as common as heartache, but M.E.D.'s impassioned delivery and heartfelt rhymes — paired with Madlib's soulful evocation of sunlight piercing through clouds — make "Mystical Magic" a quintessential slice of Stones Throw hip-hop.