I’ve always been fascinated with who my favorite rappers’ favorite rappers are.
Growing up, if I’d see one of my favorite rappers co-signing an artist or an album, I’d be the first to check them out—or if I was already familiar, perhaps view them through a fresh lens. I've learned that the best source of music discovery is not always through DJs, A&Rs or bloggers (although we try our best), but sometimes artists themselves. I’m eternally indebted to Questlove for raving about Little Brother and changing my life.
Earl Sweatshirt is an artist whose music I not only love but whose opinion I’ve come to trust. From Kodak Black and Bankroll Fresh to RATKING and Denmark Vessey, Earl’s co-sign has never led me astray. For the last few months, there’s one name in particular that Earl—along with the likes of Knxwledge, Ka and The Alchemist—has been bigging up: Mach-Hommy.
“Go listen to fucking Mach-Hommy, man. Do your Googles.” — RBMA Radio, September 2016
So, I did just that. But as it turns out, Mach-Hommy is as elusive as Earl Sweatshirt was during his stint in Samoa. There’s only one interview with him that exists online (on a recent episode of Tyron Perryman’s Tea & Converse podcast, though he mainly discussed his Haitian background) while Mach, unsurprisingly, has yet to respond to an interview request for this piece.
But here’s what we do know: Mach-Hommy is a Haitian-American rapper from New Jersey who used to run with Griselda Gang, the gritty New York rap label spearheaded by Westside Gunn and Conway, who just signed to Eminem’s Shady Records. He’s no longer affiliated with the label (“business is just like life, things are constantly shifting and you have to adjust,” he explained), but that should tell you all you need to know about Mach-Hommy: he does what he wants, and he can fucking rap.
Case in point: H.B.O. (Haitain Body Odor), the amazingly-titled album Mach uploaded to SoundCloud earlier this week. The project was originally released last August when Mach pressed up exactly 187 copies on CD as part of a unique bundle and sold them for $300 each—an ambitious, lucrative feat rivaled only by Wu-Tang Clan and Nipsey Hussle. They sold out.
You’re probably asking, is the album worth $300? For almost 200 fans, the answer is obviously yes. For Mach, H.B.O. is “art” that deserves compensation, and “if you’re not in the market for art then leave.” For me, someone who can’t afford to spend $300 on his girl let alone a rapper I’ve just heard of, there’s no way I’m dropping that kind of money on an album that’s poorly mixed and doesn’t have at least 19 Madlib beats.
Price tag aside, it’s not hard to see why Earl Sweatshirt is a fan of this dude. With a delivery that never feels unruffled, Mach-Hommy practices thug poetry like Roc Marciano (“Mach Marcy,” produced by the man himself) and has soulful pipes that could be easily mistaken for Mos Def (“Plenty”). His abstract, laid-back rhymes float highest on smooth joints like “Kapeesh,” “Trezeta Air Max” and the Knxwledge-produced “Fresh off the Boat,” which should come with a contact high warning. This is exactly the kind of rap music you’d expect Earl to enjoy.
In fact, Earl even lent a beat to Mach-Hommy on "Henrietta LAX," a lo-fi loosie that dropped last November. At 70 seconds long and featuring a single verse from Mach, it's nothing special. But there's another recent high-profile collaboration that's slowly turning me into a Mach-Hommy fan. Back in January, the New Jersey rapper appeared on a new song from The Alchemist called “Brand Name,” which put the relatively unknown newcomer center stage. “Fuck a Tony Montana, I’m the other way, just like Sosa / Throwing feds off of helicopters for my culture,” he raps over Alc’s simple yet sinister loop.
“Brand Name,” released on vinyl as part of Alchemist’s Craft Singles series, also sold out. Mach-Hommy has probably made more money off record sales than some of your favorite rappers.
With an apparent disdain for social media and an unpredictable release schedule (his 2013 F.Y.I. EP was rereleased last year, only to be removed from the internet shortly after), it’s hard to say where Mach-Hommy’s heading. Earl Sweatshirt, Knxwledge and The Alchemist are set to contribute to his upcoming 5 O Clock Shadow EP, a proposition that should excite any hip-hop fan. But whether anyone of us will be able to afford to enjoy it is another question.
In the meantime, I’ll be bumping and deconstructing Mach-Hommy’s H.B.O. (for free—sorry!) while keeping track of who else is in Earl Sweatshirt's ears. So far, he's yet to disappoint me.
By Andy James. You can follow him on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Instagram