MAMMOTH. expertly delivers a timeless debut album with ‘OPUS MAGNUM’
Updated: 3 days ago
Melbourne-based artist and wordsmith MAMMOTH. unveiled his debut album ‘OPUS MAGNUM’ to the world last Thursday. Crafting it alongside Melbourne staple Silentjay - an engrained figure in the local scene who has been integral in the rise of the likes of REMI and Baro Sura respectively - MAMMOTH. has delivered a dynamic, original, and frankly timeless project. In an era where artists opt to play it safe and decide against album releases, MAMMOTH. has instead chosen to give the truest account of himself and remain fearless.
‘OPUS MAGNUM’ is adventurous, authentic-to-self and defiant sonically, proving that MAMMOTH. and Silentjay are a phenomenal duo who thrive in being inspired by one another. With mixing and mastering by the always flawless and precise MixedByTrae, and backing from an independent label in the form of Picked Last that embraces and assuredly encourages free-thinking artists like MAMMOTH., ‘OPUS MAGNUM’ is allowed to be as incredible as it is. And because of his adherence to originality and flying directly in the face of the trends in Australian hip-hop and beyond, MAMMOTH. subverts it as ‘OPUS MAGNUM’ to avoid the typical use of the term and remain true to his perspective, humour and manifestation of this as his strongest culmination of his work – regardless of what any other artist is doing.
My Opus (intro)
‘My Opus (intro)’ prepares the listener for what’s to come through a cavalcade static distortion, repetition of the name ‘MAMMOTH.’ from various media, and brief teasers of the soulful goodness to come. Unpredictable and uncanny, it encompasses the traits of ‘OPUS MAGNUM’ aptly.
Delivered in a prayer format, ‘Entirely Merciful’ sees MAMMOTH. reciting an Islamic ode to Allah over a backdrop of shimmering instrumentals and swelling drums. Here, MAMMOTH. is reassuring himself to stay true to his beliefs and the influence Islam has had in guiding him to this point, further praying to wade off nefarious energy and ill-wishers. The track is a dedication to the principles of Islam that echo within MAMMOTH., and he cherishes this in order to persevere through the obstacles and embrace the grander picture.
The opening and closing monologue of ‘Another Alibi’ channels the track’s themes of people choosing to stay in a place of fear where one lies to oneself constantly, instead of actively growing out of stagnation. From here, the song sees MAMMOTH. honing in on the dichotomy and intricacies of his hyper self-awareness by giving the listener a run-through of the thoughts that weigh him down in the day-to-day. From coming to terms with his identity to choosing artistic independence over the comfort of a job, to becoming fixated on the thoughts, feelings and frustrations surrounding a perceived lack of artistic success that leaves him debilitated, it’s a raw display of what he undergoes in his own head. A significant highlight arrives midway through as Silentjay’s drums kick-in, sparking the listener to pay close attention to MAMMOTH.’s every word. For such a lyrically-focused and anxiety-ridden track, ‘Another Alibi’ refuses to shy away from laying down the type of groove that induces an affirming head-bop from the listener. It’s a track listeners (myself included) can resonate with as we all tell ourselves alibi after alibi to stay exempt from facing reality. And it’s both powerful and engaging without compromising the intention behind the lyrics.
Upon every relisten I find myself further and further in awe of this track. ‘Neverland’ features oozing, psychedelic synths that permeate the entirety of the track and impeccably compliment MAMMOTH.’s mournful and nihilistic lyrics and tone of voice. The verses smartly strip back the production to feature softer synths and drums resembling a heartbeat, and what is seemingly MAMMOTH.’s internal monologue of doubt in the background of his own rapping, which adds an even greater layer of depth to the track. The chorus by Silentjay is sublime, with the lyrics “I thought I could live forever, but nothing’s forever” staying true to what feels like a recreation of MAMMOTH.’s own plight in accepting the frailty of existence.
Damned If I Do
Warm piano keys invite the listener in to what is the lead single from ‘OPUS MAGNUM’. MAMMOTH.’s wordplay and strides with unfiltered malaise and dejection on ‘Damned If I Do’, a track which thematically concerns the Melbourne artist relenting to his own inability to be anything but fixated on the belief that he’s damned no matter what he tries. MAMMOTH. speaks solemnly to being closed-off to changing his mindset and allowing people, religion and love in – “Said I was see-through, but I shut all my windows think you seen wrong”. The track exists as a moment where MAMMOTH. seemingly speaks on a notion that reverberates and reflects a struggle of the youth, admitting “I’ve got the weight of the world on my shoulders, I’m trying to fit in the palm of my hands”.
CD’s Interlude ft CD
A whole interlude for fellow Picked Last representative CD to shine on is legitimate music to my ears. CD’s voice is comforting and enlivens the listener’s spirit, reassuring them after ‘Damned If I Do’ where MAMMOTH.’s unloading of his innate anxiety and inner turmoil rings true. ‘CD’s Interlude’ is euphoric, with the trickling instrumentals and serene production by Silentjay, Eleftherios and SON RAY giving way for CD to express a poetic and surreal energy that is quantified in the repetition of the words “wind me down” in her refrain. As the listener and MAMMOTH. search for a moment’s reprieve, we are afforded it by this soothing interlude.
High Saturation ft CD
‘High Saturation’ sees MAMMOTH. serving up bar after bar packed with metaphors and poetic depth that admittedly go above the listener’s head on the first few listens. The song is an exploration into MAMMOTH.’s deep desire and love for a special someone that has suddenly come into his life and subsequently forced an internal shift in his worldview. And by combining MAMMOTH.’s lyrical nous in the refrain – “Plant your seed until it grows above your head” – with CD’s harmonious and bubbly hook, the track effectively follows on from the dreamy, lost-in-love aesthetic of ‘CD’s Interlude’.
Silentjay and Nikodimos draw from the full extent of their production prowess to deliver what is perhaps my favourite instrumental on ‘OPUS MAGNUM’. The lively repetition of an old school sample repeating “Lost in her love” in tandem with the rich, audacious horns and subtle synths is like a vibrant explosion of musical excellence. MAMMOTH.’s lyrics are sensual, following on from the early stages of love found in ‘High Saturation’ with a deeply intimate relationship that MAMMOTH. feels swept up in. And even as he admits to struggling to be completely truthful in it, he adores and holds on dearly to this special someone who truly compliments his eccentricities.
Contaminated/Rustin ft Chef Chung
MAMMOTH. and fellow multifaceted Melbourne artist Chef Chung reunite on this track that comes two years after their initial collaboration on Snacks' single ‘Ashtray’. ‘Contaminated/Rustin’ ventures through unique territory, particularly in how MAMMOTH.’s verse follows on from the deeply felt love of ‘Eccentrik Lovers’. Here, MAMMOTH.’s verse explores the intoxicating allure of love and temptations that left him blinded and far from cognisant of the unrequited and fake love from this significant other. By contrast, Chung’s verse mirrors his own everyday routine and allows him to speak on the hustle that drives him. SON RAY and Stevie P join Silentjay in the technical side of the track, building a beat that encapsulates the deep-thinking that MAMMOTH. and Chef Chung are conducting throughout their verses.
‘Sheared Sheep’ harnesses the impressive power of euphoric retro-esque synths to give MAMMOTH. a platform to spit with pure confidence in his distinct flow and cadence. The penultimate track sees MAMMOTH. confidently discerning between the fakes and blind followers he sees in the world around him, leading him to the conclusion that his way is ultimately best and that no one will deter him from his artistic integrity and ambitions. Ultimately, ‘Sheared Sheep’ leaves you self-assured in the notion that MAMMOTH. has found a purpose, and he believes you can too.
Tanjil Bren (ray n jay outro) ft SON RAY
There’s truly is no other way this album could’ve ended. ‘Tanjil Bren’ sees MAMMOTH. taking a step back and allowing Silentjay and SON RAY to excel in the production and build a fittingly thoughtful conclusion. Those intermittent plays of the piano and sampled harmonies add up to conclude what is a sonically gorgeous and deeply human album.
‘OPUS MAGNUM’ represents MAMMOTH. to the fullest extent, and the young up-and-comer’s purposeful intent behind curating and crafting an album with total originality front-of-mind is what leaves you in admiration as a listener. It was not just thrown together (as some projects can feel like they have been in the hip-hop world), instead everything is stated with such utter conviction that it implores you to revisit it time and time again because of the depth on show.
Whilst he’s no doubt blessed with a cadence and elegiac flow unlike anyone else in the world, ‘OPUS MAGNUM’ solidifies MAMMOTH. as a top-tier lyricist both in the Australian scene and beyond. The album intersects the influence of his heritage and learnings as a human being all the while staying true to his journey as an artist and giving listeners a glimpse into his ever-changing world. The manner in which MAMMOTH. eloquently articulates how he has come to terms with the facets of himself he holds the greatest disdain for allows the listener to significantly relate and learn from his experiences. And through rapping with the conviction of a seasoned veteran, MAMMOTH. is able to offer a hefty set of wisdom and perspective that will hopefully allow others to come to terms with who they are.
Photos by @comegetshot
Words by Matthew Badrov